This takes nothing away from Mike's essay below, which is heartfelt and honest, and is certainly representative of how a lot of Lions' fans feel about their coach. But I had to chuckle when this bit came across the wire last night.
Brandon Snow, Penn State's best fullback and a terrific blocker, had been suspended back in August for "a couple of games", according to JoePa.
"Brandon Snow won't get to play in the first couple of ball games for reasons I don't think it would be fair to discuss," Paterno said.Yesterday, this report came out of Happy Valley:
On his call-in radio show Thursday, Penn State coach Joe Paterno said fullback BranDon Snow will play in the Nittany Lions' week No. 2 road trip to fourth-ranked Notre Dame. Paterno cited Snow's hard work on the foreign team during his time in the coach's infamous doghouse as the reason behind the faster-than-expected re-instatement.Well, how conveeenient. We don't know what Snow's transgression was. But the sudden leniency in the face of a tough matchup reminded me of another episode in the Happy Valley blotter.
While Paterno said Snow will play against the Fighting Irish, he did not say how much action he would see or if the fifth-year senior would start.
Regardless, Snow figures to be an important addition to a Penn State offense that struggled to move the ball on the ground in last weekend's season-opening 34-16 win over Akron, generating 76 yards on 27 carries.
Back in 2000, Paterno had to make a very difficult decision about their quarterback. Rashard Casey was accused of assaulting a police officer, and was actually charged with the crime. And Paterno decided to play him anyway (redshirt sophomore Matt Senneca would have likely been the replacement). "I'm going to play Rashard Casey until something convinces me I shouldn't," JoePa said at the time. And he took a lot of heat for it, too. But the charges were eventually dropped in late October, and Casey (and Paterno) were vindicated.
There is some honor in Paterno's standing behind Casey and giving him the benefit of the doubt, especially in light of the eventual outcome. Still, there's no way in hell a starting quarterback at ND would ever be allowed to take the field with criminal charges pending against him.