Blog Entry

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:16 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 10:42 am
Penn State people are mad, no furious, with the reported hire of Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien as the man who would replace The Man. Which means Penn State fans just don't get it.

And look, PSU people, I'm not mocking you. Not taunting you. Not enjoying your anger or frustration. You're going to see plenty of those people in the next few days, media people and otherwise, people who were so shaken by the Sandusky scandal that they take it out on anything and everything representing Penn State. And I understand their rage, I really do. But I'm not one of them, so don't miss what I'm writing here.

I'm trying to help. Honest. And what occurs to me, from my point on the periphery, is that there are people at Penn State -- even a truly intelligent insider like ex-PSU linebacker LaVar Arrington -- who are so close to the situation that they can't see it for what it is.

And what it is, for Penn State, is impossible.

The administration had no chance to win the press conference, as it's called when the new coach is introduced to acclaim. Whoever that guy is, he wasn't coming to Penn State. Not so soon after ... Sandusky.

It just wasn't going to happen.

The initial hint came way back in November when Joe Paterno was forced out, and the first name to surface was Mike London of Virginia. That's a humble name, Mike London of Virginia. Career record at UVa: 12-13. Four years total as a head coach, the first two at Richmond. And when London was connected to Penn State by media reports, he backtracked as if Penn State was something he almost stepped in.

That was our sign. That was your sign, Penn State fans: This job wasn't going to be filled easily, and as the following two months showed, it wasn't filled easily. Penn State alums didn't want it. Outsiders didn't want it.

Meanwhile, the Penn State administration was trying to conduct its coaching search in privacy, even secrecy, because there was no way the school was going to hire someone with a great resume if that hiring was leaked before it became official. So Penn State did what it could on the down low, and for that Penn State people are mad. I've been getting tweets all morning like this one from a Penn State fan lamenting the "secrecy and arrogance" of the search.

As if there's any other kind, these days.

There are Penn State supporters, LaVar Arrington among them, who insist the job should have gone to interim coach Tom Bradley. And that underscores my earlier point, about some people being too close to the situation to see it clearly.

Tom Bradley was never going to get this job. It would have been outrageous if he had gotten it. And that's not a shot at Tom Bradley, who gets high marks from every media person I've ever talked to about him. But he spent years on staff with Sandusky, and was on staff when this story exploded, and was even the face of the program for the month after the explosion.

That guy can't be given the job on a permanent basis. Not if this school is sincere in its desire -- and the administration sure seems to be sincere -- to put behind it one of the ugliest stories in college football history.

It couldn't be Bradley. It wouldn't be Mike Munchak. Even the sub-.500 coach at a basketball school in the ACC wouldn't touch it.

Other than Bill O'Brien, who was Penn State going to get?

Nobody, that's who. The complaining today from Penn State people is as misguided a reaction as the riot by students the night of Paterno's firing. It's anger for the sake of anger, but it's aimed in the wrong place. Sandusky should be the target. Sandusky, and those who didn't do nearly enough to stop his alleged reign of terror.

This is not Penn State President Rodney Erickson's fault.

This is not Bill O'Brien's fault.

Want to be mad, Penn State? Get mad at Sandusky. Get mad at former president Graham Spanier and former athletics director Tim Curley. Hell, get mad at Joe Paterno.

But if Bill O'Brien truly is your next coach, get behind him, and do it now. You are ... Penn State. Remember?

Time to act like it.


Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: January 8, 2012 8:45 am

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

Urban Meyer is one of the few to replace a legend and be as successful as his predecessor. 
Who do you think he replaced that was a legend?  Not Florida?  He replaced Ron Zook who replaced Steve Spurrier, the legend.

Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 2:09 am

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

Well, I suppose I'm a "Penn State Person", or, at the very least, a Penn State Alum (Class of '84). I'm not furious about the O'Brien hire at all. In fact, under the circumstances, I think it's a great hire. I keep in touch with a number of other alums and I have yet to run across any that are furious about this hire. In fact, other than the publicized comments of a handful of former PSU players, I have yet to hear any Penn Staters expressing any anger about this hire at all. I don't generally bash the writers here at CBS, but this is one blog post that just seems out of touch with reality. I am very comfortable in betting that a significant majority of Penn State alumni are, at the least, not angry about the O'Brien hire. Are people necessarily thrilled that it came down to hiring a relatively unknown NFL assistant to follow Joe Paterno? No, I'm sure people would have preferred a more high profile hire. But considering the circumstances, as unfair to the University as a whole as they might be, there was no way an Urban Meyer-type coach was coming to Happy Valley. At this point, I think most of us are willing to give Mr. O'Brien a fair chance. "Furious" - no, I don't think we are at all.

Since: Aug 13, 2007
Posted on: January 8, 2012 12:08 am

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?


Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2012 10:12 pm

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

What legend did Urban Meyer replace?  He replaced Ron Zook at Florida.  He was the guy who replaced the guy who replaced a legend, Steve Spurrier at Florida.

Otherwise, I agree with all the other points in your comment. 

Since: Jul 13, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2012 10:09 pm

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

Doyle...I agree with everything that you said except getting mad at Paterno et. all. It was their responsibility to protect the university and the football program. Too much money was at stake and they had to protect the program.  The kid was just a casualty...unfortunately. They rolled the dice and 10 years later it raised its ugly head. That's life

NittanyLion you're such a scummy piece of crap for saying something like this. anybody who talks like this is a waste of life....

Since: Dec 21, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2012 10:04 pm

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

*Doyel is as effective a writer as he would be as a salesman for Hair Club for Men..........

Since: Jan 7, 2012
Posted on: January 7, 2012 9:51 pm


O'Brien and his family got a standing ovation at a PSU B-Ball game this afternoon. Kind of an unusual way to express anger.... 

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2012 8:40 pm

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

who in the hell is going to send their kid to Penn State right now? Answer: no one! Not with the worst yet to come that's for damn sure.

Before naming the head coach, after the worst scandal in the history of sports, Penn State has 7 championship caliber players in this recruiting class.  O'brien may add one or two more.  (this according to recruiting expert Bill Lugenbill of ESPN)  so your theory is way off base.  This will be the worst recruiting class in O'Brien's tenure and he will still land 7 top flight players out of around 18.  If Penn State has any success next year, which they will.  He will get right back on track.  So much for your theory.

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2012 6:42 pm

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

I can't believe I going to say this again as this makes two times in a row for me... Greg Doyel is right again about this being an impossible situation with no way to win for either Penn State or Bill O'Brien. No it's not fair however who in the hell is going to send their kid to Penn State right now? Answer: no one! Not with the worst yet to come that's for damn sure.

Penn State is a fantastic and storied academic institution however until the worst passes... it's simply a God awful situation for everyone involved and that includes the current students, Alums and subway / closet PSU fans. 

Oh and Monday I'm going to the doctor to get checked out after agreeing and supporting Doyel two times in a row.  

Since: Jan 7, 2012
Posted on: January 7, 2012 6:24 pm

What's with the misguided anger, Doyel?

Unlike Doyel, I won't try to summarize how all "Penn State people" are reacting to the hire. However, I think it's fair to say that most of the anger in this situation has been directed at how the search was conducted (a few insular "old boys" calling the shots--isn't this the decision-making structure that we should be avoiding after everything that's happened?), how the news came out (there were reports at the time that Bradley hadn't even been informed before the hire was leaked to the press), and the University's generally incompetent handling of the scandal (and the Sandusky situation generally, obviously, though that's a different conversation).  

In the same way that it would be dangerous to generalize about all "Penn State people" based on a few hundred students (out of 40,000) rioting a few hours after Paterno was fired, it is equally misguided to gauge how "Penn State people" are reacting to the hiring based on the ramblings of Lavar or other online-folks immediately after the O'Brien story broke (Lavar has since clarified, in the Washington Post, that he supports O'Brien and the current team and is angry at how the hiring process was handled). If you look at the conversation on PSU fansites like blackshoediaries, I think you'll find that the conversation about O'Brien has shifted significantly after his press conference, while the generally anti-Joyner sentiments remain.

I guess my basic point here is that I don't really agree with the premise of this post, which is that all of us "Penn State people" are angry about hiring O'Brian. I would venture to say that at least some of us have been impressed with him so far and most of us wish him success and will support him.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or