ESPN and USA Today are both reporting (which means ESPN probably stole the story from some local blog) that Penn State has hired New England patriots Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien as its next head football coach. Nittany Lions nation is apparently up in arms that someone without ties to PSU was hired.
Bill O’Brien may be respected by his NFL peers, and he has dotted the ACC as an assistant coach at Maryland, Georgia Tech and Duke.
That means nothing to Penn State lettermen who have blasted the university for its selection of O’Brien as Joe Paterno’s replacement. Some are just unimpressed. Others are angry, and that can’t be good for Penn State or O’Brien.
Shortly before news trickled out that O’Brien would be named coach (the school has not confirmed the news, yet), former Penn State great LaVar Arrington told BlueWhiteIllustrated.com that he’d be irate if the school settled on someone without connections to the university.
“I will put my Butkus (Award) in storage. I will put my Alamo Bowl MVP trophy in storage,” Arrington said. “Jerseys, anything Penn State, in storage. Wherever Tom Bradley goes, that’s the school I will start to put memorabilia up in my home. I’m done. I’m done with Penn State. If they’re done with us, I’m done with them.”
I doubt they’re done with former players. In fact, former Penn State players are probably needed now more than ever to help maintain some continuity in the Penn State football tradition. Given that Jerry Sandusky was associated with the program for 40 some odd years however makes hiring former coaches at Penn State as its head coach somewhat problematic. You see it’s like this… I do not for one instance believe anyone who coached there hadn’t at least heard some rumors that Sandusky was a kiddy raper — especially anyone coaching there since 1998. Even if all the coaches and grad assistants are somehow completely innocent (ostriches sticking their heads in the sand should watch out around Sandusky) and ignorant of any of the details — or even the outline — of Sandusky’s acts, the perception that they are somehow morally obtuse is too strong to shake. Is that fair? No. Suck it up Penn Stater — them’s the breaks. That fact makes this statement by former PSU great D.J. Dozier even more dense:
Former running back D.J. Dozier, one of the lettermen scheduled to speak to Joyner, argued that since Paterno had relegated many of the coaching duties to his assistants in recent years, they—including Bradley—are well suited to step in.
“It’s my belief that the current coaching staff has done a pretty good job over the last few years,” Dozier told BlueWhiteIllustrated.com. “So, that means that this group of coaches has done the job. This has been their job to get done. So, why are we even considering someone else? It’s politics, it’s all out, it’s everything that has nothing to do with a program and continuing to build a solid program.
“If the board or committee believes that they need to go outside of the current staff, which, I don’t see why, then go get a Penn State guy.”
Your school needs you Dozier… man up and support your institution to help turn a corner. This is the type of thinking that relegated untold number of boys to victim status… these men should take heed of the lessons, embrace O’Brien and help PSU to glory on an off the field.