Every year around this time, I take a look at which Nittany Lions have risen to the pinnacle of professional football. ???? As of August 27, here are the Penn State players who are currently on NFL rosters (NFL experience in parentheses):
Archives for August 2005
Another potential starter won’t be returning this year. Wide receiver Mark Rubin dislocated his right ankle in practice, requiring surgery. The rehab period for this type of surgery is 4-6 months. There will be no season for Rubin this year, but fortunately, he has a redshirt year available.
Alas, he would have been the most experienced of the returning wideouts. He would have been a key figure in the aerial attack. Michael Robinson’s passing game will have to adapt to his absence.
Rumors have named Rubin as the individual who was “dissed” by the unnamed former Penn State coach who was harassed by Dan Connor, the starting linebacker suspended last Friday. The former coach, thought to be Joe Sarra, had allegedly voiced an opinion that Rubin was too slow to be an effective wide receiver. Connor took issue with that and, along with some others, harassed Sarra via telephone. Rubin’s loss for the season renders Connor’s inimical campaign and subsequent suspension all the more senseless.
Meanwhile, fifth-year senior defensive end Lavon Chisley has been ruled academically ineligible. Just what we needed.
What is it with this team?
From the Associated Press, August 19, 2005:
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State linebacker Dan Connor was suspended indefinitely Friday by coach Joe Paterno after he and two other players were cited by police for allegedly placing harassing phone calls.
Connor and two backups, receiver Jim Kanuch and safety Nolan McCready, were issued summary offenses earlier this week in connection with the calls, which “escalated to the point of harassment” over the course of several months, the school said in a statement.
The school said the person who received the phone calls requested to remain anonymous.
All three players had been placed on probation Thursday.
“Based upon a clearer understanding of the facts, coach Joe Paterno has placed sophomore Dan Connor on indefinite suspension for his participation in recent harassment calls,” the statement said Friday.
Like everybody else, I have to wonder why the hell all these kids have been going off the deep end. It is hard for me to rationalize the clustering of all the nefarious incidents of late. One theory is that weak leadership sets the seeds for mutiny. Another theory is that lack of focus leads to boredom, which is sometimes sublimated in negative ways.
Paterno is definitely losing his grip. Team cohesiveness and internal leadership are lacking. It must be hard for the coaching staff to sell the standard message of maintaining focus: “Keep your eye on the prize.” There can be no sense of keeping their eye on the prize when the prize for this team is some shitty, Made in China trophy awarded by some shitty bowl deep in the heart of Texas, at best.
Connor probably won’t be missed much for the first three games, but if his suspension extends into the Big Ten schedule, I will have to revise my annual wins projection downward by at least a game.
The Nittany Turkey deplores socially unacceptable misbehavior by kids who should be team leaders. However, if they themselves are subjected to poor leadership—exacerbated by the stigma of a once dominant football program that has sunk to the second tier—they are not completely to blame. As we used to say in the Bahamas, “De fish stink from de head!”