Anybody who has watched Penn State football in recent years wishes they had the power to do what Bill O'Brien just did to the offensive playbook.
Basically he took a blowtorch to it.
When those of you with Penn State bumper stickers on your car finish cheering, feel free to continue reading.
O'Brien has been on the job as Penn State's head football coach for only the better part of two months. And Joe Paterno's successor admitted Monday -- the first day of Penn State's ultra-important spring practice -- that he had not watched much, if any, offensive game film since the end of last year.
He said he wanted every player, particularly his quarterbacks, to enter spring with a clean slate. The coach and his new staff (every offensive coach will be new in 2012) want no preconceived notions as to how things were in the past.
"One of the things I wanted to do when I got here was start with a clean slate with these guys," O'Brien said Monday, prior to his first practice. "I didn't want to make any judgments on what they did on the football field, especially offensively. I just wanted to start evaluating them in the winter conditioning and then now in spring practice. I wanted to start my evaluation then."
So instead of going back and watching tape of PSU and Ohio State from last November, he has his guys watching New England Patriots' film, where O'Brien was the offensive coordinator this past season.
Now, Tom Brady's not walking through the Lasch Football Building doors to start slinging the ball anytime soon. With guys like Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones in the mix -- and possibly former Maryland QB Danny O'Brien (no relation to the coach), who visited PSU for the second time as he looks for a place to transfer -- there is no doubt Bill O'Brien's hands will be tied with he can do.
And when O'Brien says he has no preconceived notions, he does so by saying as camp opens there is no starter at quarterback. When asked Monday if McGloin, who assumed the starting role late last season and took all the snaps down the stretch, was his starter entering camp, the new coach was very succinct in his response.
"I'll be real clear on that: It's an open competition," he said. "There's no starter, and there won't be a starter named until possibly the night before the Ohio game. There is no starter right now at that position."
So far O'Brien likes what he sees in his quarterbacks. Then again, he hasn't seen any of them in live, game action, which is about the time most fans start to turn away. But O'Brien he is confident all three (four, if Danny O'Brien lands in Happy Valley) have the tools to be successful.
"We'll mix and match their reps (in practice)," O'Brien, who will call the plays for the Penn State offense, said. "Each guy will get a chance to rep with the first team. To this point I've been very pleased with these guys. They're competitive guys; they're smart guys. They really want to be coached. They want to be good."
The job of coaching the quarterbacks up falls to both O'Brien and new QB coach Charlie Fisher, a Warrior Run grad. They will put in what O'Brien calls the "core, the basics" of the Patriots offense, while in the same sentence realizing that a future Hall of Famer can handle much more than 20-year kid seeing it the first time. "That's the offensive philosophy that's been really successful and that I truly believe in. It puts a lot on the quarterback, and we'll see how those guys do with it in the spring. It'll be fun to watch them improve every day and watch how they learn it and put it on the field.
The next 15 practices in Happy Valley are the most important in quite some time. Fans have to like what they hear so far. At the Blue-White Game on April 21, they will have a chance to determine if they what they see.
Sports Editor Bill Bowman covers college sports for The Daily Item. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.