FOGELSVILLE It's been a job well done so far for new Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien.
O'Brien, who was hired back on Jan. 7 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal has definitely got the ball rolling in the right direction for the Nittany Lions.
The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator attended the Nike Coach of the Year Clinic, which is run by Jim Tkach, yesterday afternoon.
O'Brien sat down with the local media to discuss some of the issues, tasks, and progress that lie ahead for the Penn State football program.
And he wasn't shy about what he wanted fans to know about his new position.
"The number one important thing that I want people to know is that this is about Penn State football, not about Bill O'Brien," said O'Brien. "This is about Penn State, I haven't even coached a game yet. No one will replace Joe Paterno. You can't replace Paterno. I just have to come in and do the best I can and be me."
O'Brien first talked about the things he has been trying to accomplish in his first month as the new leader of the Blue and White.
"It's been a great month," O'Brien said. "We have had some real productive meetings about recruiting, offense, defense, special teams and our system is being taught. The players have been working extremely hard so far especially in the weightroom with winter conditioning."
Speaking of recruiting, the Nittany Lions have picked up a couple solid prospects for the 2013 season starting with Christian Hackenberg (6-4 215). Hackenberg, who is originally from Tamaqua, is a four star quarterback out of Virginia. The Lions also grabbed Ross Douglas, a four-star cornerback/athlete out of Ohio. O'Brien, because of NCAA regulations, couldn't comment specifically about the players but had this to say about the way recruiting has gone so far for 2013.
"I'm very pleased with where we're at right now," said O'Brien. "We had a Junior Prospect day about two weeks ago and had about 50 of the top recruits from the East Coast at our campus. At the end of the day we have a lot of good programs we have to compete against, but we're going to talk about Penn State. And to us we feel we have a great product to sell there."
As any head coach taking over a program, especially a program with the notoriety of Penn State, certain challenges will arise. O'Brien has embraced those challenges and talked about his approach to overcoming them.
"The number one goal I wanted to accomplish coming into Penn State was that everybody who was associated with the football program knew their role, and that includes the players," said O'Brien. "Once the people who work for our program knew their role then it was time to make sure the players knew what their role was. You can call it a challenge, but I call it a great opportunity to get everybody going in the right direction."
O'Brien said plenty about what his future plans were at Penn State and what kind of things they were trying to accomplish. One thing he specifically said will hit home with Penn State faithful and should put hope and pride back in the hearts of Nittany Nation.
"As far as a TV show or radio show for me, if we don't have one we don't have one," said O'Brien. All that matters at the end of the day is that we go to class, graduate, and win football games."
Spoken like a true Penn Stater ... Sound familiar?