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Bill O'Brien endures Penn State's unique challenges

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11:29 AM ET 06.23 | Bill O'Brien looks a little haggard. Maybe fatigue from the road has caught up to him. At this juncture of the trip, not quite midway through the Penn State coaches caravan part deux, he has traveled for 476 miles as part of this grand spring gesture to reach out to alumni. Trace the journey on a Google map and it looks like the contour of a wolf's head, the neck being Baltimore/D.C., the ear being Reading and the snout Philadelphia. Lancaster is where the eye would go. Being the coach at a major Division I university can be overbearing anywhere, but Penn State introduces a set of circumstances unique in their ability to frustrate. Here, unprecedented sanctions threaten success, alumni pick fights with the president and the board of trustees while vowing to never forget Joe Paterno, and fines and the specter of a less-than-full Beaver Stadium have given the athletic department reason to be concerned of a financial shortfall. In short, all kinds of serious -- let's call it stuff -- is going down at Penn State all the time. Anyone who has paid more than casual attention to O'Brien in the past year-plus can guess he would rather be away from the seriousness of suits, handshakes and the constant media requests, and instead be smack in the middle of the coach's world, where every wall has a whiteboard, every season ends with a bowl game and every clothing item except for sweatpants is sold out of Nittany Mall.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bill O'Brien, Getty Images Bill O'Brien, Getty Images
June 23, 2013  12:10 PM ET

I had hoped he was going to be the guy that would stick around through the tough times and be able to then enjoy the good times. I said hoped. I knew in my heart he wouldn't stick around but I didn't think he'd be playing hankey pankey with the NFL after 1 season. Not happy with that and the "only" reason he's going to "endure" is because he was able to hold Penn State hostage for more $$$. I say hostage because Penn State cannot have multiple coaches through these times. They need a strong presence with a coach to do this.

Comment #2 has been removed
June 23, 2013  12:15 PM ET

I wish someone would pay me $3million+ per year to "endure" all the difficulties of the job.

June 23, 2013  01:02 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I wish someone would pay me $3million+ per year to "endure" all the difficulties of the job.

That'd be a cut in pay for you wouldn't it DS?

Comment #5 has been removed
June 23, 2013  01:10 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Joe Paterno ruined Penn State football

Not true. There would be no Penn State football without Joe Paterno. The people who ruined Penn State football are the university administration suits who covered up and look away from the child molestation.

June 23, 2013  01:29 PM ET

Bill O'Brien has done an incredible job under the most adverse circumstances imaginable. He is definitely worth every dime they're paying him.

June 23, 2013  01:30 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Joe Paterno ruined Penn State football

It's not like Joe did nothing. He didn't do enough but he did kick it upstairs. There were a lot of people that didn't do enough. I wrestle with what Joe didn't do enough of but it will never change my opinion that Joe Pa "is" Penn State. Sandusky "ruined" Penn State's image. Their football is never going to be ruined.

June 23, 2013  03:09 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Not true. There would be no Penn State football without Joe Paterno. The people who ruined Penn State football are the university administration suits who covered up and look away from the child molestation.

I think what "Bearcat" was saying is, that Joe Paterno, played a big part in the Sandusky cover up and by him knowing what Sandusky was doing the last 10/15 years, ruined the Penn State football program!!! I agree with Bearcat, Paterno ruined the Penn State football program and should have retired 10/15 years ago!!!

June 23, 2013  03:16 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

It's not like Joe did nothing. He didn't do enough but he did kick it upstairs. There were a lot of people that didn't do enough. I wrestle with what Joe didn't do enough of but it will never change my opinion that Joe Pa "is" Penn State. Sandusky "ruined" Penn State's image. Their football is never going to be ruined.

Good point, but, Paterno would have still be consider "Mr Penn State", had he retired 10/15 years ago. IMO, Joe ruined his legacy, by hanging on. Joe coached next to Sandusky and knew exactly what Sandusky was doing. Just my opinion!!

Comment #11 has been removed
June 23, 2013  07:33 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Not true. There would be no Penn State football without Joe Paterno. The people who ruined Penn State football are the university administration suits who covered up and look away from the child molestation.

didn't paterno "look away" at the same time? jo pa was guilty as sin.

June 23, 2013  07:38 PM ET

what's the point of this article? are we supposed to feel sorry for o'brien/penn state? i don't think so. they made their bed, now they can lie in it.

June 23, 2013  08:26 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

what's the point of this article? are we supposed to feel sorry for o'brien/penn state? i don't think so. they made their bed, now they can lie in it.

Good point, Joe Paterno made his bed, now his Legacy is gone!!!

Comment #15 has been removed
June 23, 2013  09:26 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I wish someone would pay me $3million+ per year to "endure" all the difficulties of the job.

Home Depot paid Bob Nardelli (former CEO) around $200 million to take a hike. What a nice parting gift!

June 23, 2013  09:39 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

What the NCAA did to Penn State was unfair. 4 year bowl ban and 20 cuts on players a year and a $60 million dollar fine. amazing. The NCAA needs to be disbanded

What was done to a bunch of innocent kids is what was unfair. They will live with that damage the rest of their lives. They are still playing football on Saturdays in happy valley. WTF is unfair about that?

June 23, 2013  11:34 PM ET
QUOTE(#17):

What was done to a bunch of innocent kids is what was unfair. They will live with that damage the rest of their lives. They are still playing football on Saturdays in happy valley. WTF is unfair about that?

yep.

June 24, 2013  12:47 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Not true. There would be no Penn State football without Joe Paterno. The people who ruined Penn State football are the university administration suits who covered up and look away from the child molestation.

Interesting you put the cover up BEFORE the child molestation sharges. Congrats, you are a part of the problem.

 
Comment #20 has been removed

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