Sunday, March 25, 2012

Penn State football's first spring without Joe Paterno ...

... is Bill O'Brien's first opportunity to actually coach the Nittany Lions. There are plenty of key things PSU fans should look for during the next month

Here we go.

The Penn State football team will practice today, and Joe Paterno will not be there.

Paterno will not be calling the shots in Happy Valley for the first time in 46 years.

This is going to take some getting used to.

Bill O'Brien begins coaching Penn State football today, on the first day of spring practice. Which is as much of a milestone in the monumental transition from the Joe Paterno epoch as any, at least until the real games arrive in the fall.

It is the next phase of the beckoning O'Brien era, and it is a big phase. We'll have a much better feel for what PSU football will look like under O'Brien in a few weeks, when spring football is complete (the spring game is April 21), than we do now.

Spring practice is about establishing the program's identity: What the team will look like and play like when it takes the field in the fall. We know it will be different, but how?

Here are some of the most interesting and important items to look for in the next month:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Penn State football recruiting: Back with a vengeance

Apparently, Penn State will not be trampled by Urban Meyer, et al, in recruiting, as new coach Bill O'Brien and staff start luring big-time commitments and alleviating the deepest fears of PSU fandom

Sorry, Ohio State.

And Wisconsin. And Maryland. And Rutgers.

And anyone else who thought Penn State was yesterday's football program. On a serious downswing. Ripe to be plucked.

Guess what? Bill O'Brien's Penn State Nittany Lions are not taking a step back. Not one inch. At least in regard to perhaps the most critical area for a big-time college football program: