It’s just about that time again! The long football drought will soon end. PSU’s 2004 season kicks off with the Akron game on September 4. Zack Mills and the Nittany Lions are making themselves ready for what we hope will be a Cinderella season after last year’s disappointing campaign. Fellow Penn Staters: like Rodney Dangerfield, we’re just not getting any respect! The pompously ponderous pre-season pundits penuriously pick Penn State to place perilously proximal to the middle of the NCAA Division I-A pack, even with perennial powerhouse Michigan not scheduled as an opponent again this year. (And, with that, I have fulfilled my quota of alliteration for today.) We’re obviously hoping for a much better finish than that which has been predicted by the experts.
The new season brings with it some coaching changes. No, not the head coach! The only change there was that JoePa, who was recently named by ESPN as the best coach of the past 25 years, signed up for another four years! With 38 years of head coaching in Happy Valley, he’ll be gunning for Amos Alonzo Stagg’s record of 41 years. While there is stability at the top, the organization beneath Joe has been shaken up significantly. As Joe was negotiating his new contract, Fran Ganter, formerly offensive coordinator, was being kicked upstairs. Partially filling Ganter’s shoes will be Galen Hall, who will also be in charge of running backs, while Jay Paterno will be responsible for quarterbacks, and State College’s own redhead, Mike McQueary, will coach the wide receivers. Tom Bradley will return as defensive coordinator.
Will these coaching changes make a difference in the team’s performance? Perhaps. I am advised that the quarterbacks and wide receivers now practice with each other. Huh? They didn’t do that before this year? Geez, maybe that would explain the cellar-dwelling offensive (literally) performance in 2003. It got so bad last year that when Thrush came over to watch games, he would bring a few liters of wine, which would be almost gone by the time the fifth or sixth dropped pass occurred. (That was usually sometime in the first half.)
After a 3-9 finish in 2003, this team has nowhere to go but up! Even more than ever, your support is essential to their success. Your chapter’s officers have been working hard to improve the viewing party situation for this season. They have found what looks to be an ideal venue. Read about it on the Central Florida Chapter’s home page.