The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 27, 2012

Bill Bowman's column on college sports: PSU's O'Brien calls first shots

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.

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