Yes, we all know that Bill O’Brien has left Penn State after two years.
Yes, this was a devastating piece on some of the things behind his departure by David Jones. Penn State has a particularly virulent, nasty and visible group that has been able to gain extra influence. At the same time there is no major (and most minor ones) college program that doesn’t have a batshit crazy wing of fans/boosters. It’s really only a question of how much noise and influence they have.
Those are Penn State’s problems. How they deal or ignore their problems are something about which I don’t care to waste my time.
As a Pitt fan my concern is purely about self-interest.
The first thought turns to recruiting. Penn State made the smart move to make Larry Johnson, Sr. the interim head coach. He has no shot at the job. He has no real power. What he will do is help hold together the recruiting class until they hire a new coach. Johnson is their ace recruiter. He will certainly be on the staff for the next coach.
Here’s Penn State’s current recruiting class. First thing that jumps out is that there are only three recruits from Pennsylvania in that 19-man class, and only one from Western Pennsylvania (WR Troy Apke). I’m not sure that Pitt will be able to flip many of these recruits.
Pitt has been very poor in recruiting New Jersey in the last few years. Some because of Pitt’s own upheaval. Yet, despite changes at Rutgers and PSU as well, Pitt has only one recruit from NJ in last three years. Penn State has four kids in the class from New Jersey.
It would be nice to grab a couple of the PSU commits — especially on defense. I just don’t know what kind of groundwork was in place with the kids. Their best defensive commit — Thomas Holley a 4-star DT from Brooklyn, NY — just chose PSU over Florida.
As for who PSU might hire, this seems like the ideal.
There is a lot of skepticism that Al Golden would leave Miami after already having weathered the sanctions in Miami to do it again in Penn State.
Now in an ideal world, PSU reacts accordingly by seeking a “Penn State guy.” That the administration bows to fan howling of wanting a guy that wants to be at Penn State. That is of Penn State. That won’t leave them. That leads them to hire Mike Munchak. He just screams 7-5.
James Franklin would be the inspired choice. Franklin is also a hot name. He’s rumored to be in the mix for the Texas job. He could wait a year for Florida. I imagine Maryland fans would be very upset if this one happened.
The one thing to point out. It isn’t nearly as easy as it used to be to hire a coach already at a place. The money is big everywhere. More and more coaches look at the entire package. Can they win bigger than where they are at? What’s in place? We’ve seen Michigan, Tennessee and UCLA all struggle to get their guy. Usually having to go through a couple options. Despite having the money, facilities and history.