Penn State’s recovery

Penn State's recovery

Joe Genova, Staff Writer

“I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence. I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead. But I am committed for the long run to Penn State and our student athletes.” This is what new Penn State head coach, Bill O’Brien, had to say after his team and school were rightfully accused in the biggest scandal of the sports news this year.

O’Brien, who was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots before accepting this job as Penn State head coach, is trying to enforce the philosophy of a “clean slate.” He understands what these kids have gone through during the course of the year, and is doing his best not to focus on all the drama, and just play football. This is not easy to do for a team that cannot compete in bowl games, and are now unable to offer football scholarships to high school students. But still the team finds motivation somehow through all of it, and given the chance to transfer schools with complete playing privileges, 90 percent of the team stayed.

The coach also made a uniform change to the Penn State’s jerseys this season, though not a big change, O’Brien put the players’ names on the backs of their jerseys. The team always left there jersey backs blank to encourage players to play for the team and not themselves, but O’Brien made his decision so that the whole world could recognize the 90 percent of players that stayed committed to this team. The uniform was also a part of the clean slate philosophy of the season.

Bill O’Brien is doing the best to save a school with tradition of academic excellence and a football team with much success under a coach who broke the hearts of fans everywhere. He wants people to recognize these kids who stayed on the team knowing they wouldn’t have bowl privileges and what people outside of the program would call: nothing to play for. He is on his way to start a new era of Penn State football, and has spoken on his own commitment to the team. It’s a big challenge to take on, but the coach knows what he has to do to change the headlines of Penn State.