When Penn State was rocked by arguably the biggest scandal in college sports in 2011, they one thing on most B1G football fans minds was, who will be the guy to lead PSU through this dark time. Many names were tossed about and when the dust settled, they landed on a little know NFL assistant named Bill O’Brien.
O’Brien had no ties to Penn State and had no head coaching experience at the top level of college football. He had a knack for developing quarterbacks and designing great offensive game plans. His passion and desire for football quickly won over most of the PSU faithful, although many in the college football world wondered aloud how long O’Brien would stay at PSU.
Some felt he would bolt for the NFL once a good opportunity arose and others felt he would use PSU as a stepping stone to a bigger named school. Over the course of his two year tenure, his name would come up when any top job became available. Texas, USC, Auburn, the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs were just a few over the past two years that O’Brien was linked too.
O’Brien received a raise and contract extension after his first season in Happy Valley and went as far as telling an Orlando Sentinel reporter after the 2012 season,
“The players who are here now and the guys who were here last year could’ve gone anywhere…They didn’t have to stay at Penn State, but they committed to each other, they committed to Penn State, and they committed to our coaching staff. I felt it was important that they understood that I was committed to them. What are you if you’re not a man of your word?”
Many of the PSU faithful took solace in that quote that O’Brien would be the guy to guide them through the last two years of their probation and return them to top of the college football mountain.
THEN……..it happened. Read More
Even though football is in full swing, the B1G is a hoops conference as well. As we love to do around these parts, we place some calls to our blogging friends around the B1G country and ask them some questions about their upcoming teams. I have invited some writers that we’ve had here before in Ben Jones from StateCollege.com for The Nitany Lions; Philip Rossman-Reich from Lake the Posts for Northwestern; Jay Swenson of Mad Town Badgers for Wisconsin. We will be covering all of the B1G teams as the season approaches.
Who did you lose from last season and how big of a loss will it be?
Ben Jones - Penn State had a bit of a player departure issue after the season for various reasons. Patrick Ackerman and Akosa Maduegbunam were both underclassmen who were never going to play, so to be blunt the team doesn’t miss much with these guys leaving . Sasa Borovnjak left following graduation and leaves Penn State without a real experienced post player.
Jermaine Marshall and Jon Graham both left as well to round out the group. Marshall left to try and support his son and girlfriend although there is some indication he wasn’t happy at Penn State. Jon Graham left for personal reasons. Overall Penn State had a tough offseason in terms of departures but the team will miss Marshall the most. Chambers brought in transfer Allen Roberts to try and stop the bleeding in the scoring department but obviously Marshall would have been preferred in that department.
In the end it’s a larger loss in terms of numbers than it might be on the court.
Philip Rossman-Reich - The big loss from last year is the coach: Bill Carmody. Carmody was at Northwestern for 11 years and really brought the program to a new height. That height was not the NCAA Tournament, but teams knew they would be in for a battle when they came to Evanston to face the Wildcats. There were limitations though and now that Northwestern has bigger expectations for itself, the school went in a different direction. So for the first time in a very long time, the Wildcats have a new head coach. Read More
As we inch closer to the opening kickoff on Saturday, no team in the B1G is more intriguing or crucial to the success of the B1G than the Penn State Nittany Lions. Even though they are not eligible for the post season, a successful season would only strengthen the conference as a whole.
As Bill O’Brien enters into his second season, I sat down for a few minuets with statecollege.com writer, Ben Jones, and gathered a few of his thoughts heading into the 2013 season. Don’t forget to follow Ben on Twitter, @Ben_Jones88
1. Heading into the offseason, how much angst was there in Happy Valley waiting to see if Bill O’Brien would stay or not?
I think there was a fair amount of stress for fans the first few weeks after the offseason. Once O’Brien had his sitdown of sorts with the media to hash a lot of the rumor and speculation out I think that for the most part the fear left. Will he ever leave? Probably. But I think for now people expect him to stick around for the next few years.
2. In your opinion, is O’Brien the man to lead PSU through these sanctions and out the other side to relevancy again?
O’Brien is the kind of coach that I think Urban Meyer was. Unknown, and had a chance to prove himself and did and it was all “glory” from there. I’m not saying O’Brien is the next Urba Meyer but I think you can see qualities that he has that other elite coaches have. I think he stays through the sanctions and how Penn State comes out of them will depend on his future with the program. If he were to stay though I think that there is evidence to suggest he would do very well in Happy Valley.
3. Where does the QB battle stand heading into game week? Read More