Morelli OnLion: Christmas Wishes

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s Christmas week and time for our annual holiday tradition. Every year at this time, we sneak a peek at Santa Claus’ list. This week, we’ll take a look at the list and see what Penn State coaches and athletes can expect to find under the tree this Christmas.

Let’s take a look at the list:

Joe Paterno – A hearing aid. If you heard the iconic coach’s interview on a Florida radio station last week, you know we’re not being disrespectful. It’s simply time for someone close to the coach to tell him it’s time to get a hearing aid. By the way, Happy Birthday, coach.

Tom Bradley – A head coaching job. It’s probably going to have to be somewhere other than Penn State. We think Bradley would have been a perfect fit at the University of Pittsburgh, but that wasn’t in the cards. Rumor has it that Bradley is interested in the Temple post. He would be an improvement over the departed Al Golden.

Al Golden – Good luck. Speaking of Golden, he’ll need some luck at the University of Miami. We’re guessing he’s ready for the spotlight of Coral Gables, but we won’t know for sure until the new-look ’Canes take the field next fall.

Kevin Newsome – A quarterback position at a school that appreciates the signal caller. Let’s face it, Newsome never got a fair shake at Penn State. He won’t be making the trip to the Outback Bowl and rumor has it that he’s exploring his options as far as transferring. We can’t blame him.

Evan Royster – Respect from the Penn State coaches and fans. OK, so Royster had his share of struggles this season, but he is still Penn State’s best option at running back. Next year, he’ll be plying his trade In the NFL. Penn State’s all-time leading rusher will be missed.

Stephfon Green – More touches. The guy is explosive, and the Penn State coaching staff needs to figure out ways to get the ball into his hands more often. Trick plays, bubble screens, whatever it takes. He doesn’t touch the ball nearly enough.

Stephfon Green wants more touches for Christmas.

Matt McGloin – A quality win. As Penn State’s starting QB, McGloin salvaged the Nittany Lions’ season. However, he doesn’t have a quality win. He’s got an opportunity to get one on Jan. 1, when the Lions face Florida in the Outback Bowl.

Rob Bolden – Another year on the bench. We’ve seen glimpses of talent from Bolden, but not enough to anoint him the starter in 2011. He’s still very raw and another year behind either McGloin or Paul Jones will do wonders. He has a long way to go.

Derek Moye – More balls thrown his way. He’s Penn State’s best receiver and needs to be treated as such. We realize that McGloin has developed a special connection with Brett Brackett, but Moye is the squad’s No. 1 receiver. He’s coming back in 2011, so the bowl game will give McGloin a chance to develop an even better relationship with Moye. Let’s hope he takes advantage of the opportunity.

Offensive line – Continued improvement. Penn State’s O-line was a mess at the start of the season, but it has gotten better as the season has progressed. It will get a good test against the Gators in the Outback Bowl.

Defensive line – Pressure. Much like the offensive line, Penn State’s defensive line is truly a work in progress. It has one more game to get things right. We’ll find out how far the Lions have come on Jan. 1.

The Big Ten – Better division names. We’re still fuming over the names Legends and Leaders. Apparently, we’re not alone. Fans have voiced displeasure over the names and the Big Ten is apparently re-visiting the names. While we’re at it, how about a different logo? Maybe the conference can upgrade to a fourth grade class to design the logo instead of the one the third graders designed?

Sean Lee – Another game against Peyton Manning. Lee was the talk of Texas after picking Manning off and taking it to the house earlier this season. Any chance the Cowboys will deal Lee to a team in Manning’s division? Probably not.

Ed DeChellis – Another year of eligibility for guard Talor Battle. Battle is, without a doubt, DeChellis’ best-ever recruit. Without him, the Lions will struggle to keep their heads above water in 2011-12.

Penn State basketball fans – A better non-conference schedule. The Nittany Lions have feasted on cupcakes during the non-conference slate. It hasn’t been entertaining for the fans to watch, and it certainly hasn’t helped the Lions, who will likely struggle with most teams on the conference schedule. While we’re at it, how about dropping ticket prices? $15 for a ticket to see Central Connecticut State? In the words of a popular ESPN segment … c’mon man!

Russ Rose – A good cigar. The women’s volleyball coach may have done his best coaching job ever in leading the Nittany Lions to their fourth consecutive national championship. He now has five during his tenure at Penn State. Can the guy coach football?

Penn State Lady Lion basketball team – A berth in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. The Bryce Jordan Center is a host site for the tourney and the Lady Lions are overdue for a berth. They’re on pace for one.

The Nittany Lion – A designated driver. Enough said.

In next week’s edition of Morelli OnLion, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the Outback Bowl and offer up our prediction for the big game.

Merry Christmas from everyone at gantdaily.com.

Chris Morelli is an award-winning writer/editor who lives in Centre County and covers Penn State athletics. He is also a regular on “Sports Central,” which airs on ESPN Radio in Altoona and State College. E-mail him at morellionlion@gmail.com. Also, be sure to check out Morelli OnLion on Facebook!

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