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 The straight scoop
 from Colonel Mustard

 

Sept. 23, 2002

It is time to discuss what needs to be done to improve our team for the short run and for the long run. Clearly we have gone downhill. Frank has a better record and more titles than Tom did at this point in his career. Tom lost to Iowa State and Missouri and tied Oklahoma State early in his career. He took three of his first five teams to minor bowls. He couldn't beat Oklahoma. But we never got blasted and looked so consistently bad over a series of games. So, I want you to understand that I have a sense of history and am cognizant that we should not over-react to a single game. But I am not over-reacting, because it has now become a pattern. The only time I can remember us being this bad was 67 and 68. And believe me, the Bobfather had two real lousy teams. We lost 10 fumbles one year at Mizzou. Short- and long-term changes are necessary, or I am afraid we will slide backward. I am not being dramatic. I just believe that is what we are faced with.

In the short term we need to simplify our schemes on defense and let our players play. They are at least unsure and I believe confused on the field. We need to get our best players on the field, and that is especially true on the D-line. We need to develop a pass rush, and that could come from blitzing. We need to attack and simplify. We have athletes and can do a much better job than we showed. They look slow, but that is because they are unsure. We have playmakers in Bland, Hopkins, Williams and Ruud. Shanle needs to play better or play less. We need to get the zone figured out, because we made too many mistakes in coverage.

On offense, find a personality and stick to it. I don't know that lord is the best QB on the team, but I believe he might be the best runner. So do what Frank did to turn around the 99 season and make Lord in effect the I-back. That is what Penn State did with Mills. We can trade off between a power running team with Diedrick or go to the illegal formation and get our playmakers Davis, Colllins when he returns and Pilkington involved. Let Lord operate in space out of the illegal formation. Take advantage of his skills, don't try to make him into a drop-back passer. The offensive rhythm needs to be maintained. Play-calling must be done two and three plays ahead, allowing momentum to be maintained. We did a great job of that on the TD drive with receivers wide open on a very average Penn State secondary that had Given up over 300 yards passing two weeks earlier. But because of execution and play-calling, we didn't take advantage.

The long-term problem is that in my estimation this is a very poorly coached team. Again last week we were even for a quarter and a half and then were dominated. This has happened continually in Frank's career, a failure to adjust. I still believe that Frank is our guy and I don't want to get involved in head coaching changes. I have watched other programs suffer because of continual change. However, I would tell you that the whole staff with the exception of Gill and Brown could and probably should be turned over. Barnes and Gillespie have had drop-offs in effectiveness at their positions, and Milt and Darlington have been at it a long time. And Bohl and Jamrog's record speaks for itself. I would bring back Steele in a heartbeat. Charlie got a lot smarter when Steele convinced him to go to the attacking 4-3 and away from the read-and-react 5-2. Tom got his first championship when Steele delivered Frazier. He would improve our D and our recruiting overnight. And I would bring Craig or Rathman back to coach running backs. You ask why we don't get the top I-back recruits. Send Craig or Rathman into the living room with Super Bowl rings and see how we do.

None of what I have said is born of frustration. It is just the accumulation of what I have seen. One last note: Byrne won't let the program slip. He is a businessman and has too much riding on it.

I'm sorry if this is too negative, but it is what I believe.
 
-- The Colonel
 

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