So, here we are again. Football is tucked away for a long winters nap. ‘Tis the off-season, although the off-season never really sleeps. Charismatic KJ Hamler is taking his electric moves to the highest level as the 2020 season stares us in the face. There are one or two more decisions left on the table, so here’s looking at you Boom Shaka-Laka Toney and Lamont ‘Drop the Hammer’ Wade. As the deadline to declare for the NFL approaches faster than a Human Joystick kickoff return, and the door to the dreaded transfer portal remains wide open, the Nittany Lions look to bring back an experienced, veteran corps. At least compared to this time a year ago.
As we move away from the success of another 11-win season, our third over the past four years for those keeping score at home, ‘unfinished business’ seems to be the common thread that binds us. Not satisfied with ‘just’ another ho-hum Top-10 finish, huh? Neither are the Nittany Lions, as a handful of upperclassmen have made their decision to stay and finish what they started. Not content with an O-Line that could run block with the best of them but when it came time to keep the QB upright was just so-so? Neither was James Franklin, as he made the tough decision to move on from the Matt Limegrover era and almost in the blink of an eye replace him with up-and-comer Phil Trautwein.
Could of, should of, would of, that day in Minnesota this past November, but it simply wasn’t good enough even if it did come down to the last play. Solution? Bring offensive guru Kirk Ciarrocca back home to Central PA in hopes of ramping things up an extra notch. After all, a slightly better first half showing against his former squad just may have been the difference between the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and finally landing in the Top 4 that we all strive for. We got a sniff of that last season, albeit brief as the first playoff poll rolled out and had the Lions sitting at No. 4, but the taste of where we all want to be just made us hungrier for more.
So, here WE ARE again. Football has been put to rest for a long winters nap and Dwight Galt gets his paws on our Lions, doing what he does best as we impatiently wait for spring ball to commence in March. Of course, even as I write this, I am reminded that the off-season never sleeps. Just over the past few hours we find ourselves in the market for a new receivers coach, as Gerard Parker accepted an offer to be West Virginia’s new Offensive Coordinator and a fresh set of faces get their feet wet on campus as 11 early enrollees from the Class of 2019 arrive in Happy Valley.
As we celebrate the sixth anniversary of FrankLion’s arrival home to Happy Valley this weekend, there is no doubt in my mind he will come up with an equal or better replacement for our wide outs and over time, become a father figure to those players he refers to as sons. ‘Tis the off-season indeed as we’re in the early stages of another one, but to steal a phrase from Coach Chambers and the B-Ball squad, “The climb continues on, Nittany Nation, and this time there’s unfinished business to attend too!”