Bill O’Brien: voice of reason within unreasonable Penn State community



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, 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

Powered by


  1. Willie Green says:

    Unfortunately Mr. Banks, you are just another opinionated pundit who has failed to reserve judgement until state prosecutors present additional evidence (if any) at the trials of Curley, Schultz, and Spanier. Until then, allegations of deliberate “coverup” remain flawed and biased leaps of logic committed by Louis Freeh, and your assessment of Joe Paterno and Tom Bradley premature.
    Perhaps Schultz, Curley, Spanier and Paterno will get their just desserts and Tom Bradley will have to eat crow. But the question is: should the jury acquit Curley, Schultz & Spanier, are you mature and responsible enough to do the same?

  2. Another Derp Article says:

    Willie, you’re trying to argue with the irrational. I agree with what you’re saying but the author and other espnites made up their minds long ago despite almost no evidence of any kind of wrong doing by anyone with ties to the program and no NCAA violations of any kind. I’d suggest doing what I do, just ignore them. The opinions of derps don’t matter.

  3. Lando Calrissian says:

    O’Brien is doing the right thing…because he is an honorable man. This is not his fight and he wasn’t hired to fight it. He’s being paid big money to pilot a big time football program through some stormy seas…that’s it. And he knows it.

    However, this writer , like most “sports experts” probably rushed to judgment when the PSU news broke and piled on with everyone else. Maybe the PSU guys will all get taken down….maybe not. There were more than enough people who it seems dropped the ball, the PA governor, then AG, local law enforcement…so it might be hard to hang just these three men. The “sports experts” would be wise to say little until it’s all done…but then again people in that field have rarely been accused of being bright or wise.

    All of this is pretty obvious to the man on the street…we don’t need another dope telling us this stuff!

  4. Tom Beatty says:

    Mr. Banks fails to tell anyone that the three charges brought by the State of Pennsylvania against Mr. Sandusky that were sited on the PSU campus, did not result in convictions. The much quoted McQueary testimony about what he witnessed in 2001 did not result in a conviction nor did the much ballyhooed story of the janitor that also fell short of a conviction.
    Now, if neither of these events resulted in a criminal finding, could there be a cover-up. It begs the question if there was no criminality, how can there be a charge of a cover-up?
    These are just a few of the inconvenient truths ESPN and others need to ponder while they lead their witch hunt.
    BY the way, he is right about one thing. Bill O’Brien is a quality man and a great leader for the PSU program, as were Paterno and Bradley and BOB has a great opportunity to continue and build on a great legacy. Sandusky has been dealt with and ESPN needs to move on and let the courts do what they do.

  5. Lowell Rickert says:

    Mr. Banks you just like the rest of the media do not know or want to know the facts. I have yet to have anyone of various media outlets including local writers who cover PSU on regular basis answer my questions and I doubt you can as well. So far everything that has happened including the lawsuits from Paterno family and Corbett lawsuit has happened. I still believe the sanctions will be dropped very soon. If you want some facts come to me or John Ziegler from we will provide you with tons of facts.

  6. Stephen Spearing says:

    Mr. Banks,

    I agree 100% with the folks who refer to YOU as an ESPNite or in other words a person looking for easy headlines NO matter what the TRUTH is. We long-term Nittany Nation loyals and JoPa’s Lettermen know that our JoPa was a man of COURAGE, LOYALTY, LOVE,JUSTICE, RESPECT, HONESTY, HOPE and INTEGRITY. You might want to look up the definitions of those words. A man who live his whole life following those virtues is NOT going to allow children to be violated “IF” he knew about it. As Charlie Pittman stated in his remarks about Joe …”Rest in peace, Coach, we’ll take it from here”. Joe ran the model program “The Grand Experiment” and proved it worked. That is why Tom Bradley, Todd Blackledge, Matt Millen and the other over 1800+ Lettermen want the TRUTH for the man who taught them to be men…”Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things” is just one of the quotes and lessons he taught them. “IF” you want to write a quality story do some research on what happened at the forgotten Central Mountain High School or The Second Mile where this tragedy should have been caught and stopped, NOT the Penn State shower incident years later. Which redhead story is true… and now he is singing a new song quoting people. He s not credible BUT ESPN and others probably even you are listening for the dirt… NOT the truth. Your pen is mighty and YOU need to go by the words described above about our LOVED JoPa. We can and do support Coach Bill O’Brien and ONE TEAM 100% while we want the TRUTH and JUSTICE to be brought forth.
    Have a GREAT week. Be true in what you say and do !

  7. paulmbanks says:

    appreciate the comments. I’m just trying to praise the message of Bill O’Brien and Malcolm Willis and help them get their PSU mission statement out there.

    There are exceptions, but for the most part Nittany Nation shows a lot more respect when they disagree with me, and are more articulate in presenting their counterarguments than Buckeye Nation is.

Speak Your Mind