So here we are rolling in cruise control through another off-season that never sleeps. We are feeling pretty good about Penn State football in 2020 I might add. Heck, it was just a week or two ago I proudly pointed out how relatively quiet the off-season had been compared to last year. Little roster attrition and a few potential upgrades in the coaching staff were all adding up to a recipe of unfinished business with the spring game dead in our sights.
BOOM! And then out of nowhere, it hit us like a ton of bricks! True to his alias, Chaos ensued as the news came crashing down that D-Line and associate head coach, Sean Spencer, was leaving Happy Valley for the Big Apple to take the same position with the New York Giants. I can’t blame the man for reaching for the stars. I mean, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to reunite with Nittany Lion legends Saquon Barkley and Grant Haley? Still, as stress-free as the off-season was in January, this one stung. The revolving door strikes again.
We barely got to know Gerard Parker before he took off after one year to be the Offensive Coordinator at West Virginia. Ricky Rahne and Matt Limegrover? With all due respect, no one lost much sleep over their departures. Even in the case of the offensive guru deluxe a couple of years ago, Joe Moorhead, we all knew he was here on borrowed time. But Coach Chaos? He was the heart and soul. He was passionate. He WAS the unquestioned leader of the mighty Wild Dogs of Penn State! One quick listen to one of his motivational pep talks and you were ready to run through brick walls for the man. Go ahead and tell me I’m wrong. I’m not and you know it.
To be sure, by the time this piece hits social media, lightning quick James FrankLion will have already hired his replacement. South Carolina D-Line coach John Scott Jr. for the record and given Coach’s penchant for finding diamonds in the rough in the past, we’d be wise to put our faith and trust in him. We’ve been down this road before. Does the Larry Johnson saga ring a bell? And we will be down it again. We didn’t just lose a coach, we lost our identity in the trenches. Coach Scott (who played for and coached under Brent Pry) may very well be the next big up-and-comer in the coaching ranks and we definitely have the student-athletes to keep quarterbacks running for their lives. For that we are thankful. But it just wouldn’t be right to move on this season without saying farewell to Chaos and R.I.P to the Wild Dogs. Thank you for all the fond memories as we clawed our way back into the national spotlight! Without Chaos, who knows where we’d be today.