Penn State Coach Bill O’Brien is a very reasonable and logical man in a very unreasonable and illogical environment. His immediate predecessor, Tom Bradley, signed a petition trying to redeem O’Brien’s “real” predecessor, Joe Paterno. The method of redemption, in the eyes of this zealous, devoid of reality activist group, is to overturn the NCAA sanctions.
Bill O’Brien doesn’t seem to want any part of that spaced out cadre with their far out proposition to rewrite the past. Bill O’Brien instead wants to shape the future.
“When you go into a job like this, you always have to expect the unexpected, regardless of what has happened in the last year,” O’Brien said at Big Ten Media Day.
“a lot of the things that we talked about last year, when I was here, it’s water under the bridge. We’re in a situation at Penn State right now that is unprecedented, sure. But at the same time, we’re thankful for our players. The rules are what they are. And that’s what we play under,” he continued.
Bill O’Brien is about moving forward and working within the limitations imposed on him. While you have others in Happy Valley looking backward and still trying to change the limitations imposed on them. The sanctions are unprecedented. As they should be, because Jerry Sandusky was an unprecedented monster. However, it’s in the best interests of the entire PSU community to follow the lead of Bill O’Brien. He is a fresh start.
He is not Tom Bradley. He is not Joe Paterno. And believe me that is a sincere compliment.
During his rookie year leading Penn State, Bill O’Brien rallied from an 0-2 start to finish 8-4 last season. He had pretty much no placekicker at all (at least for the first part of the season). He had to go for it on fourth down way more than any sane coach (other than Chip Kelly, but he’s an insane genius) would ever want to do. Extra points were always an adventure.
But O’Brien worked with it and earned some Coach of the Year awards. He certainly had a lot to deal with, and when he arrived at Big Ten Media Day last year he was in a much tougher spot than he is today.
2013 conference media day was cake, right?
“It’s certainly different,” O’Brien said this week. “I mean, last year I think we arrived here the day after the penalties were announced. We’re in a better mood this year … I’m more comfortable with the players, the staff, the chemistry, all that goes into it. Does that lead to victories? Who knows.”
Again, Bill O’Brien is a good example for those in State College who still don’t get it.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, a Fox Sports affiliate. He is also an analyst for 95.7 The Fan, and writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook