Nittany Lion’s Den editor and columnist Kevin McGuire is a featured columnist on Bleacher Report. The following is an excerpt from Thursday’slide show, titled 7 Things That Need to be Fixed Before 2012.
Penn State will have one of the more interesting off-seasons in college football for a number of reasons. With so much uncertainty surrounding the entire program there could be many things that need to be addressed between now and September 1, 2012 when the Nittany Lions open the season against the Ohio Bobcats in Beaver Stadium.
Here are seven items on Penn State’s to-do list for the off-season.
1. Find a new head coach
This is an obvious one, and Penn State is already in the midst of the operation to name a successor to Joe Paterno, who was fired during the season amid controversy. Tom Bradley has held on to the interim job in the meantime and will continue to coach the team in the TicketCity Bowl on January 2 against Houston. Penn State has said they would prefer to name a head coach prior to the bowl game, and Bradley is expected to be a candidate for the job but whether or not he will have a legitimate shot at the job remains to be seen.
It is likely that Penn State will opt to go with a head coach with few ties to the program to give the entire football program, athletic department and university a breath of fresh air after being rocked by the worst scandal to affect a university or college athletic program.
2. Organize an assistant coaching staff
With a new head coach in charge of the football program will come a new assistant coaching staff. Penn State will likely have an entirely new assistant staff, with few (if any) holdovers from the existing staff. There may be a benefit to retaining the services of a guy like Larry Johnson Sr. or Ron Vanderlinden, but other assistants, including Jay Paterno and Tom Bradley will more than likely be cut loose.
The make-up of the assistant staff will be almost as crucial as the naming of the head coach because the entire staff will have a difficult task in recruiting and convincing student-athletes that coming to Penn State will be a good decision in light of recent developments.
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