The winds of change have not been easy for some, as gold chains and LawnBoyz overrode that smash down at Maryland two weeks ago, and dreadlocks and tattoos rose to the forefront this week on the heels of a homecoming mauling of Purdue. Go back a little further and that darn transfer portal had us in a tizzy as winter rumbled in. There always seems to be a shadow of doubt that lingers for a head coach that’s never even sniffed a losing season, be it at Vanderbilt (if you don’t think much of that, check out their records since he left) or here in Happy Valley, where those sanctions were all but guaranteed to make us crumble, and has us undefeated at the moment.
All the man really wanted to talk about was Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, but instead, he gave us all a lesson in humanity first. It should have never come down to that, but it did and it’s become clear as day that WE ARE...BETTER (as he says for every commitment he hauls in) for having FrankLion on our sideline and in our community. Change may still come unwilling to some but I have to believe in my heart of hearts that JoePa must be looking down upon us with a smile.
There’s a game to be played this week and not just any game mind you, but the toughest test to date; on the road, under the lights, at Iowa, where it’s the kids that give their home team an aura that’s hard to match. The wave inside Kinnick Stadium to the kids that are fighting for their lives and watching from the adjacent Children’s Hospital is as close to our own THON as you’re ever going to see. Last time we traveled there, the Hawkeyes gave us all we could handle and then some before Trace McSorley led us on a game-winning drive and walk-off home run to Juwan Johnson as the clock struck zero.
He was the biggest name to test the new transfer waters until Tommy Stevens came along and stole his thunder. Both have struggled in their respective landing spots. It was easy last winter and into the spring to point a finger at and place the blame on James Franklin. “Trouble in the locker room,” they said. He’s gone from good to average. Turns out, the man knew what he was doing all along. As the off-season came to a close, the three little words that were so common as the winds of change engulfed us all in a new era popped up once again…Trust the process.
Something tells me that the pen of ignorance was destined to rear its ugly head eventually. Change does not come easily to some, be it bling on the sideline, long hair, tattoos, tricked out nicknames or white shoes (gasp), one Saturday each season. If it was meant to throw us off our game, it had an adverse effect instead, as Nittany Nation rallied around this new, shinier version of Penn State football like never before. It should have never come down to this but credit our coach for keeping it all in perspective as we dive headfirst into a gauntlet of battles that are going to separate the contenders from the pretenders when it’s all said and done. As hard as it's been to let go of the past, it’s time to recognize and trust his vision for a bigger, better Penn State. This week’s events have only gone to prove that our football program is in great hands under his watch, long hair and all: Nittany Lions 31, Iowa 10.