Mike McCarthy is biased. He grew up in the Pittsburgh area and has three siblings who graduated from Penn State. So from McCarthy's standpoint, the Nittany Lions' head coaching position is a prized job.
That's why McCarthy endorsed Packers quarterback coach Tom Clements for the job Friday. McCarthy said he was unaware that Clements was set to interview via phone Friday, as reported by USA Today, but said: "I think it's a great opportunity [and] I think Tom would be an outstanding candidate."
I'm no college football expert, but it's at least worth wondering how good a job this really is, at least in the winter of 2011. Not only will the next coach replace one of the sport's all-time legends in Joe Paterno, but he will also assume control of a program rocked by unprecedented charges of sexual abuse against longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. There are no templates here and no one can say for sure what the program will look like next season from a legal, institutional and NCAA perspective. That's a lot of uncertainty to go with the prestige of the Penn State job.
By all accounts, Clements is a good man with a deft coaching touch, one who doesn't get enough credit for the development of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers blocked an opportunity he had to interview for the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator position in 2010 and, at 58, Clements is probably running out of time to advance his career.
Again, I don't know all of the ins and outs here, including whether Clements would be a courtesy candidate or if there is genuine support at Penn State. But put it this way: It will take a special person to go there, pick up the pieces and maintain the prominence of the Penn State program.