Exit Paterno

 

Joe Paterno, the man, died last night after a short battle with cancer.

JoPa, the legend,  died last November amid revelations that he did little when confronted with allegations that one of his long time coaches had molested a child in the Penn State football showers.

How do we reconcile the man with the legend?

Many say that we put too much stock in our sports figures. But if any person seemed worthy of admiration it was Joe Paterno.

Maybe he started to believe his own press. Surely the excuses he gave for his inaction during his final interview were embarrassing. He certainly wouldn’t have accepted lame excuses from one of his players.

Today we’ll we hear from his former players, many of whom credit Coach Paterno with being major reason for their success.

Let’s honor man while remembering that we’ve learned he’s not quite worthy of being a legend.

M FOOTBALL 2011-SUGARY BCS BOWL WIN OVER HOKIES 23 TO 20 (OT)

By Andy Andersen

The 132nd rendition of  a Wolverines Football Team (10-2, 6-2) knew that they would have their hands full competing against the Frank Beamer coached Virginia Tech Hokies ( 11-2,7-1)  and they did.

They stopped Denard’s ground game cold.  But Junior Hemingway’s two leaping end zone catches helped make the difference, and earned him player of the game honors.

Here’s Hemingway afterwards: “From the beginning when the coaches first came in we had to buy in and the seniors had to get the rest of the team to do the same thing, Team 132. It was just a hard-fought season. To go out there and do it for the underclassmen who now have a Sugar Bowl championship under their belt and for us to leave with the Sugar Bowl championship, it just shows our hard work, our determination, our resilience. And that’s where most of the emotion came from.”

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Sugar Bowl Final- Michigan Wolverines 23 Virginia Tech 20 (OT)

It wasn’t the greatest season in the storied history of Michigan Football.

Losses to instate rival Michigan State and Iowa, prevented the Michigan Wolverines from winning the Big Ten title and returning to the glory of the Rose Bowl.

But it may have been the most surprising and joyous season since the Wolverines went undefeated and the won the 1998 National Championship.

A year ago the program was floundering, having been spanked in the Gator Bowl losing to Mississippi State by a score of 52-14.

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It seems like a million years ago.

Prior to the game, Brady Hoke was rumored to be on the short list to take over if Rich Rodriguez was fired.

I couldn’t believe it. Now after an unbelievable year, that saw the Wolverines finish 11-2 I wonder how I ever doubted him.

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From day 1 he said and did all the right things.

He won over a jaded group of players many of whom were fiercely loyal to the outgoing coaching staff.

He preached the gospel of being a Michigan Man, of being responsibility to your teammates and honor.

He brought back former Wolverine Coach Greg Mattison to be defensive coordinator to resurrect a moribund defense that was among the worst in the nation. Last season former Buckeye and TV commentator Chris Speilman called the players on Michigan defense guys “…who would be nice little subs at Indiana.”  This season a defense made up primarily of the same players returned to playing Michigan football terrorized opponents.

The Michigan Wolverines capped an amazing turnaround season with a 23-20 (OT) BCS Sugar Bowl Victory over Virginia Tech.

Those who stay will be Champions!

Bo would be proud.

What a ride.

GO BLUE!