Penn State's all time greatest fourth string quarterback and offensive genius, Jay Paterno.
The year was 1999. Jerry Sandusky made his final tour, on a Penn State team that arguably failed to show up to play after a heartbreaking loss to Minnesota. A victory in the Alamo Bowl over Texas A&M sent Sandusky into retirement as a winner, but uninspired performances in losing to Michigan and Michigan State to round out the regular season left a bad taste in the mouths of many of the Lion faithful. Many observers close to the program have pointed at that 1999 season as the beginning of the collapse of the Penn State football program.
Following the season, Joe Paterno made changes in the coaching staff. Dispensing with the "coordinator" title, Tom Bradley was placed "in charge of defense." Long time loyalist Fran Ganter was given the title of "assistant head coach in charge of offense," however the significance of that change in retrospect appears to have been a shift in Paterno's philosophy that placed more emphasis on the role that quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno would take in the development of the offensive scheme.
In 2000, the Nittany Lions limped to a 5-7 season, which many attributed to rebuilding, after many talented players including Lavar Arrington departed following the 1999 collapse. The season was labeled a fluke, despite offensive struggles and confusion that seemed to appear out of nowhere on the normally organized and well oiled Penn State sideline. The wild card here is the insertion of Jay Paterno into the mixture, giving him authority to make play calls in certain passing situations - a logical extension of his role as quarterback coach, but a disruptive influence during game action.
Playcalling became an adventure, with heated discussions breaking out on the sidelines between Coach Paterno and Fran Ganter, and confusion evident as the Lions were frequently forced to burn timeouts while waiting for play calls to be decided between Ganter, Paterno, and Jay Paterno, who by now had been given the authority to call all passing plays.
The confusion and delays in play calling have grown once again evident as the season has moved on, and Galen Hall has been relegated to the booth, many say to reduce the number of times he is seen on television cameras sporting a frustrated look. It is clearly evident by the return to the same plays as have been seen for years, and with the same results, that game playcalling is largely the domain of Jay Paterno, and it is even more evident that these schemes are predictable and ineffective. Joe Paterno himself once said that Jay needed to get more experience coaching, and he needed to get it somewhere else, however the actions of the past several years have pointed more and more toward a desire on the part of Joe Paterno to groom his son as his successor.
As a younger coach and former player who is able to clearly observe the deterioration of the Penn State program, it is time for Jay Paterno, for the sake of the Nittany Nation and for the respect for his father's legacy, to see the harm that his presence and role is causing to the program, and to step away, to move on to another program where he can develop the kind of game planning and play calling skills that will make him an asset to a top level program, rather than the distraction and detriment he has become. It is time for Jay, as the son, to realize that it is up to him to do what his father can not, or will not do, and in doing so, to earn the respect of Lion fans by doing the right thing.
Neither Jay nor his monstrous brother, Scott, will ever have the respect of Lion fans. But we surely would appreciate it if he would fuck off all the same.