Now that the regular season is over is it time to start panicking about the 2009 season? Maybe.
Larry Johnson, one of PSU's premier recruiters and the head of PSU's most consistently excellent unit (defensive line), is being lured away by the Zooker. David Jones is reporting that LJSR is being offered not only a pay bump but also a title increase to defensive coordinator/asst. head coach. Does it mean that LJSR is definitely leaving just because he is being pursued by another program? Of course not, however, why wouldn't he leave?
The way things are going at PSU, it seems highly unlikely that Johnson would be offered the head coaching position of the Lions. So maybe we should ask ourselves: "would you leave your job for a more prestigious position with more responsibilities and double your current salary?" Hell yes you would leave!
So let's assume for a second that LJSR is out, PSU is now down its best recruiter and probably the program's best unit coach. That is a blow. We also must consider that Aaron Maybin, one of PSU's best defensive players in 2008, is expected to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft today. This deals a double blow to what could have been a dominant defensive unit.
I'm pretty sure the Lions also lose a significant amount of its defensive secondary (Sargeant, Scirrotto, Rubin, Davis YIKES!) leaving only the LBs as a known quantity on defense for the fall. If you want to see another sites preposterously early assessment of PSU's depth chart you can find it here.
On offense the Lions are going to lose three of the best WRs the program has ever had. Gulp. The Lions will only return two starters from last year's offensive line. I know many people have criticized the Lions for a very weak OOC schedule, however, with this much youth on the line it may be exactly what the young players need to get on the same page. While the RB position looks strong with Royster and Green it will take some time for the Lions to get on the same page as Darryl Clark will have to adjust to a revamped line and a completely new WR corps.
One thing is sure, 2009 will be a very important year for the Nittany Lions. If you are sick, as I am, of hearing about PSU's "resurgence" then it is critical for the Lions to have another 9-10 win season to establish some long term continuity to the program.