The Lion in winter is hardly a passing fancy

I know you all know that yours truly, the ol’ Zekester, usually huddles up with the NFL when this blogosphere decides to snap its chinstrap and do some gridiron grunting.But, truth be told, I also follow college football with a degree of devotion.For instance, just to prove to you that I can appear enlightened enough to dissect Saturday’s heroes as well, I can write with gruesome clarity that Penn State football ain’t what it used to be. OK, OK, everybody knows that. And just so all those Happy Valley tailgating zealots don’t think I’m about to pile on Joe Paterno in his dotage, I fully suspect the Nittany Lions to be actually competitive in the Big Ten this season.For a welcome change.Which still is a long cry from the hallowed days when Penn State was one of the big boys on the college football landscape — even if the Lions had to stake their claim by sacking the Temples of this secular world. Even with a dramatic bounce back this year, the Lions still will be a good city block or two behind the likes of Southern Cal, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and all those other football factories where smokestacks spew out studs bigger than Macy’s floats and faster than baked beans through a goose.Still, I do see some trouble on the horizon for Penn State this fall. And it all revolves around the quarterback position.As you likely suspect, the QB is the most important swan in the ballet.Without a guy who can fire test missiles while hitting a gnat between its eyes at 40 yards, a football team might as well sign up for latrine duty because it’s gonna spend lots of time in the trenches anyway.For what’s it’s worth (I am entitled to my two cents, I do believe), I think JoePa — not such an endearing moniker these days now that he’s turned into a Grumpy Old Man — is starting the wrong quarterback.Michael Robinson is the No. 1 QB and Joe swears that this incredibly versatile athlete will be a quarterback forever more — at least at Penn State.If you recall, Robinson has spent his PSU career doing more multi-tasking than a one-man band.Besides quarterback, he’s been a tailback, flanker, split end, punt returner and Paterno’s personal sideline geriatric optometrist when those cold November winds crack his thick geezer glasses.Robinson has more fast-twitch fibers than super heroes. And that’s without the benefit of a costume change. Poor Michael has to perform his dynamic deeds while wearing the blandest uniform in the history of athletics. He can burst out of nowhere like a hormone surge. He can pinball off, through and by defenders on a routine basis — marvelous heroics that trigger tales to be told in the flickering darkness of post-game tailgate parties.Yep, tall tales that are both shouted with unabated shock and whispered with reverent silky murmurs of utter awe.This is not hyperbole. Robinson can do things with his feet that can buckle the earth and break defenders’ ankles and hearts.Indeed, he can do it all — except pass. Accuracy always helps when you’re a gunslinger.If Robinson were a gunfighter, he’d be resting on Boot Hill. He couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.Now, I’m not knocking the guy. He hasn’t spent enough time at quarterback to nurture proper passing mechanics.Although Paterno and his staff have tried to retool Robinson’s fundamentals, it’s a little late in the game for that now.When the molten heat of game intensity is melting a QB’s facemask, freshly minted fundamentals frequently become unglued.Besides, even though Robinson prefers to play quarterback, his NFL future projects him playing somewhere else –probably at wide receiver.A year of concentration honing and refining his receiving skills undoubtedly would raise his stock in next spring’s NFL draft.Speaking of the future, Paterno also isn’t doing his program any favors by not starting sophomore Anthony Morelli at quarterback this year.This kid has a pedigree that screams marquee QB. His arm is so strong, mere footballs suddenly morph into Superballs with a flick of his powerful wrist.And now that he has grasped the Penn State offense and no longer has a bleached look to his eyes when reading defenses, the time has come to put him in the pocket.Speaking of time, Paterno, who obviously is running out of time, has blatantly mistimed Morelli’s Penn State career.Joe admittedly blew a year of Morelli’s eligibility last season when he burned his redshirt. And although Paterno has said he will find time for Morelli to play this season, he still will be Robinson’s caddy.Of course, Paterno does have a penchant for playing musical quarterbacks because he is notoriously indecisive when it comes to his field generals.He has a history of going through more generals than Lincoln did in the Civil War.Playing two quarterbacks is a disservice to both. And a bigger disservice to the team.What a waste of talent if Morelli languishes on the bench again this season. All he needs is game experience to blossom.Nothing sprouts unless you stick it in dirt. It’s time for the kid to get his uniform dirty on a regular basis.After all, he was more heralded than the Angel Gabriel coming out of high school. He threw for more than 5,200 yards and 57 touchdowns at Penn Hills High School in Pittsburgh.In fact, some folks thought Morelli was better than Wilson’s Chad Henne coming out of high school — and all Henne did last season as a true freshman was to be downright dandy in leading Michigan to the Rose Bowl.By the way, Morelli outplayed Henne in the Big 33 Game. You can look it up.And by not starting Morelli this season, Paterno certainly is retarding his development for the next two years.Right now, it appears that Morelli will only be a two-year starter at Penn State. When you’ve got a diamond, why keep it buried? Diamonds only glitter on the shelf in jewelry stores.Plus, can you imagine how lethal of a pass-catch combo Miorelli to Robinson would be?In the winter of his life, Joe Paterno has become a guy who somehow specializes in turning the once radiant smiles of the Happy Nation faithful upside down.Sadly, his quarterback choice seems to be another written invitation to eliciting more jeers than cheers.