The last thing I want is one less reason to be hopeful about next year, but it's hard not to project this dreadful season onto the next. As I watched the first half of the game against Nebraska I knew already what I was going to write: where is your heart? Because where are you Penn State?! At least show up and make something, anything, happen. All I was seeing was another mess of a game.
Then, in the second half I thought maybe they’d found their heart. A huge 74 yard pass play by Freiermuth. Keyvonne Lee’s first career touchdown. Brandon Smith’s interception. Another touchdown by Devyn Ford. And most importantly, a team that didn’t quit. By the fourth quarter I had found my heart. It was in my throat while I watched us come so close to a win.
If I’ve learned nothing else during this insanely challenging year, it’s that everybody is trying their best. Everybody is making the best decisions they can with the information available.
I don’t see James Franklin, his staff, or the players making excuses for their losses this year. They come back every single week and try. Some of their efforts are better than others. Sometimes it looks like they aren’t doing enough. They are obviously having a rough year. Aren’t we all?
This team is made up of humans who exist outside of our desire to watch them play football. They, too, are dealing with the pandemic that has caused changes to normal routines in every facet of life. Spring practices were cancelled. James Franklin has been quarantined from his family for months to protect his youngest daughter. Journey Brown just announced his medical retirement due to a heart condition. Who knows what else is going on with this team either personally or athletically.
I’m really not trying to make excuses or to be pollyannaish, all evidence to the contrary, I know. I agree completely with James Franklin when he says, as he does so often, that it has to start with him. Ultimately Franklin DOES need to do a better job. I know enough to know I have no place in telling him how to coach; however, might I suggest, Coach, that you begin by following Joe Paterno’s advice to “take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.” At the end of the day it’s James Franklin who needs to figure out this season. I’m just trying to view this season as an anomaly and to keep my heart in the right place.
I was born into this Penn State family through my dad’s love for the team. It is in my very blood, beating through my heart, to hope for the best in a Penn State team. Even this team, this 0- 4, inconsistent, rag-tag team. Where is your heart?
Go State! Beat the Hawkeyes! Or, at the least, give it the old college try. We’ll be rooting for you!