Apr 20, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O

For The Good of Penn State And Bill O’Brien: Shut Up

I have tried my best to refrain from jumping into this fray.  There are enough people out there with similar opinions and thoughts that have done a much better job articulating them than I ever would.  But I have had it.  This in-fighting and public sniping has gone too far, and if it does not stop, not only Penn State football, but Penn State University is going to lose good people trying to lead this school out of the wilderness.  I honestly believe that Bill O’Brien, and his staff, who deserve all the credit they have received, and some, have had enough.  Just listen to O’Brien’s conference call with the media earlier this week in the fallout from the Sports Illustrated story.

Nov 17, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O

Look no further than what happened at Michigan when Lloyd Carr retired and Rich Rodriguez took over.  Yes, there were other underlying circumstances, and RichRod didn’t win, at all, but the chasm that divided the program went public, and crippled a program every bit as rich in history and tradition of Penn State.  Remember “unnamed sources” tipping the media off to the now infamous practice habits.  You do not have to work too hard to see some of the similarities.

Now, there are differences, of course.  From all indications, there is no undercover revolt against O’Brien or his staff.  No, it has instead focused on his bosses, notably AD David Joyner.  I am no fan of Joyner, nor is much of the Penn State fan base.  But, what exactly is gained by calling the man out, in a national publication, in what appears to be a glorified pissing match?  Not only that, but Coach O’Brien was dragged into this mess, somewhat indirectly, by questioning the changes he suggested to the medical care within the football program.  Changes that, as PSU has pointed out emphatically, are very much in line with what is done at other major college football programs.

I know this will come as a shock to many of you, but Joe Paterno’s way is not the only way to do things, even at Penn State.  I do not think I can state emphatically enough that PSU football was in need of a fresh set of eyes, and fresh ideas, in practically every aspect of the program, not just in offensive strategy.  And if a man like Bill O’Brien, who has worked with some of the most respected men in coaching, thinks it’s worth making a change, I’m sure as hell going to listen.

Now you have a trustee, who I imagine is more than capable of picking up the phone and getting a hold of the football coach, publicly questioning that coach.  What exactly does that accomplish, other than pissing off that coach (and giving us some of the best audio ever)?  While that is just one part of this, it feels entirely symptomatic of this political struggle going on at PSU.  And it is not good for anyone.

Remember back in December and January when Bill O’Brien was very much under consideration for a number of NFL coaching jobs?  This is a man that clearly has options, and is clearly not happy with what is going on.  He’s also a man that has done more than anyone else to bring some semblance of hope and unity to Penn State.  I doubt he expected that was what he was signing up for back in January of 2012, but it is what he got, and he has surpassed what any of us hoped for, and maybe what some of us deserve.

My plea is a simple one.  Shut up.  If you have a problem with something, bring it up with that person, behind closed doors, and away from a media all too eager to pile on.  I have no doubts the support for O’Brien, his staff, and his team is unbelievably high.  You would obviously be foolish to not feel that way.  But this public politicking amongst his bosses and decision makers needs to stop. Now.  Otherwise, we risk losing perhaps the best thing Penn State has going for it.

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Tags: Bill O'Brien Football Penn State Nittany Lions

  • smokeybandit

    I’m not sure who you’re really calling out here?

    The infighting will always exist as long as this BOT and their buddy AD are around.

    • Willie Green

      O’Brien publicly announced organizational changes to the medical staff back on Feb 27.
      If Lubrano or Taliaferro had any concerns, they should’ve walked over to Lasch Building to ask questions and see for themselves what was going on.

      Instead, they wait 2~3 months to spew vindictive, uninformed and destructive misinformation to a muckracking journalist looking for a sensational “scandal” to hype his headlines in the sportsworld.

      If this is the kind of “reform” that we can expect from Lubrano and Taliaferro, they should resign from the Board of Trustees immediately.

      • Matthew Kufta

        They ALL need to resign because we need REAL leadership.

        • Willie Green

          I disagree. A lynch mob approach yields nothing but chaos and confusion, not “leadership.”

      • smokeybandit

        Maybe, maybe not. But that’s not the issue here. The issue is Joyner and how he took a recommendation by OB to exact some revenge.

        • http://twitter.com/kmart93 K

          We don’t know that that’s true. All we know is that in the past Joyner wanted Sebastianelli’s job, but you cannot accurately say that revenge was his motivation.

      • http://twitter.com/kmart93 K

        I think Taliaferro came out yesterday and said when he was approached about the story he was led to believe it’d be a positive story about Sebastianelli… not a hit piece on Joyner.

      • http://twitter.com/ArtieFufkin10 Fufkin

        Whatchu smokin’ WIllie?

        On Twitter Taliaferro claims he thought the direction of the article was more about how much he benefitted from Dr. Seabass. He didn’t think it was going to be a hit piece.

        • http://twitter.com/kmart93 K


          • http://twitter.com/ArtieFufkin10 Fufkin


        • Willie Green

          Yes, and I noticed that Jay Paterno quickly distanced himself from Lubrano’s ludicrous assessment as well.

  • Guest


  • Shwump

    It is football people. There are greater things in life and more important than football. I love the game, don’t get me wrong, but in the great scheme of things it is still just football. You all sound like Penn State could not exist without a winning football team. I have been there to visit and it is a great University with amazing things going on in research and academia. Football is a money maker. Really not much else. Sure a source of pride, but in the end, there is a whole lot more to be proud of at Penn State than just the football team. Get a grip on reality. Look for what is truly important. If you died tomorrow, would it really have mattered who Penn State beat in a game last year?

    • http://twitter.com/ArtieFufkin10 Fufkin

      Wait is this a football blog or a REAL LIFE blog?

    • http://www.facebook.com/dougalmac Douglas Robb

      Not surprisingly, you’ve missed the point entirely. Of course it is “not just about football.” Joe Paterno proved that abundantly throughout his 61 years at Penn State. But make no mistake about it, Joe Paterno was a realist. He emphasized WINNING football games because THAT is the ultimate goal of ANY football team-to win ALL it’s games and accomplish the highest level of achievement possible.

      What Paterno established was that you could WIN football games without compromising the basic principles of being a successful “student athlete.” Student first, athlete second. But Paterno wanted his players to excel in BOTH areas, and prove that you don’t have to give special privileges or fudge academic standards to achieve BOTH those goals.

      As far as Lubrano is concerned, he was elected to affect change on an arrogant, self-absorbed and incompetent board of trustees that has allowed Penn State AND its football team to be needlessly compromised and damaged as a result of their poor decision making and lack of responsible, prudent leadership. They fired Joe Paterno in a most cowardly, despicable manner and installed their puppets Erickson and Joyner to replace Spanier and Curley. Because Joyner’s qualifications to be AD are questionable at best, and the majority of alumni see through the “fait accompli” that installed him as interim AD in the 1st place, he continues to come under scrutiny by an alumni community which has NO faith in the board of trustees or any of its decisions regarding the governance of Penn State.

      To Joyner’s credit, he did hire Bill O’Brien, which has been a God send to the PS football program. In spite of the mistakes Erickson made regarding the acceptance of the NCAA sanctions and the complete inability of the board of trustees to stand up for the legitimate interests of Penn State, O’Brien engineered a miracle season in 2012 with the help of the outstanding players originally recruited by Joe Paterno and HIS staff.

      I would not expect O’Brien to speak out against his employers in any way, since Joyner and Erickson are his bosses at Penn State. But the alumni do not trust and do not believe that Erickson and Joyner have any credibility to lead Penn State properly. That is why Lubrano questions the medical changes that have taken place in the PSU football program, because from the point-of-view of knowledgeable people at Penn State, there was no need to fix a football medical staff that wasn’t broken or in need of fixing in the 1st place.

      Because Joyner is automatically distrusted since he was appointed by a board of trustees that is completely unacceptable to the majority of the alumni of Penn State, any action Joyner takes will be looked upon with distrust and more than usual scrutiny. Joyner and the PS BoT only have themselves to blame for this distrust by the alumni due to their continued arrogance, incompetence and inept governance of PSU in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.

  • http://twitter.com/CasaNoVApsu Justin C ’07

    Let’s talk about important things, like what beer should be paired with bacon-wrapped scallops at my baseball tailgate next weekend.

  • theberklands

    Lubrano has a right and a responsibility to ask questions about university business. If the Trustees had been so engaged all along, perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are today. I can’t comment on his quote in the SI article because I haven’t spoken to him. So far as I can tell, neither has anybody else…..has anyone reached out to him for some perspective on this? He has not historically been difficult to reach. I agree that things are better handled in private but I don’t know the specifics surrounding this article and I suspect neither do many others. It’s Dave Joyner who is the bigger issue. He is not qualified to lead this athletic department and is pretty well despised by a large majority of the PSU community. Why in the hell does he not simply step down?? My heart goes out to O’Brien and the team for having to put up with this crap and I support Bill and his right to make changes to the program. But football is football and university business is university business. Joyner should be the one fielding the questions….not O’Brien.

    • Willie Green

      No, the problem is Lubrano.
      He failed to walk over to Lasch Building to ask questions back in February when the organizational changes were publicly anounced.
      Instead, he exposed himself as a disengaged, uninformed empty suit when asked about this situation by a nebby reporter.
      We don’t need this kind of incompetent “leadership” on the Board of Trustees. Lubrano is merely a wealthy alum who purchased a position of influence during a period of disarray. But he’s proving himself to be wreckless and irresponsible.

      • theberklands

        And you know all of this how??

        • Willie Green

          The same way that any other alumnus who has been following this issue closely should.

  • ThePartisan

    Sadly, the problem is Joyner, and O’Brien is getting caught up in the anti-Joyner backwash. Lubrano is, and always will be pro-JoePa, and you will never change that. His real complaint, as I see it, isn’t with O’Brien, but with the rest of the BOT and Joyner. Joyner is incompetent to be AD, and the BOT has no spine, much less anything else. The SI piece was out of bounds, and does nothing more than to stir up the emotions of those loyal to Joe. Much as I respected him, and God rest his soul, he isn’t the coach anymore. O’Brien has shown he knows what he’s doing – so let’s embrace O’Brien, respect and honor the memory of Paterno for what he did for the ENTIRE University, continue to call for the change in the BOT, and support every student-athlete, because at Penn State, they are true student-athletes.

  • M1EK

    Lubrano is every bit as effective an ambassador for the image of Penn State as are the delusional nutjobs at Black Shoe Diaries.

    • http://twitter.com/kmart93 K

      Because they have so much bearing on this incident. >_<

      • M1EK

        BSD is full of people obsessed with getting rid of Joyner, just like BWI and FOS. The BWI and FOS nutjobs haven’t found this article though.

        (BSD also displayed their extreme class in spending large chunks of two posts piling on yours truly in the last couple of days. Can dish it out but not take it?)

        • Willie Green

          Your personal squabbles with BSD are irrelevant, but you are right about their obsession with ousting Joyner.
          As far as I’m concerned, the debate ended when Lubrano directly targeted O’Brien. If BSD wants to implicitly approve of that action by maintaining their jihad against Joyner, that’s their problem, not mine. I won’t be associated with a lynch mob.

    • http://twitter.com/ArtieFufkin10 Fufkin

      Nice to know you’re a trolling turd on other sites too

      • M1EK

        Exhibit A.

        • http://twitter.com/ArtieFufkin10 Fufkin

          ^– Exhibit Turd

    • Keim

      Eff Off

    • Willie Green

      BSD is no different than any other chat room on the web. The problem is, many people lack the capacity to form a truly fair and objective opinion and allow their emotional biases to influence their judgement.

  • Nellie R

    I’m confused. Why are you calling out Penn Staters when you should be calling out SI and contacting David Epstein to find out why he did this article, and why HE did not see fit to put in the information that Bill O’Brien and others provided him with? Did you ask him what HIS agenda is? Did you ask DAVID EPSTEIN why he did not provide comparable info over other D1 Schools?

    Do you have any proof that it was anyone other than David Epstein trolling on message boards for story ideas? HE is the one that must take ownership of his piece. Anyone at Penn State that was “selectively” quoted within the writer’s narrative is not responsible for how it was written.

    Everyone else you name in this blog is simply reacting to a piece written by someone else. You have some sort of assumption that “someone” as PSU “must be behind this”. If you have proof of that, then name names.

  • CAJack

    If Joyner really wants what is best for PSU he should
    resign. Considering that he is a lightning rod for controversy it would help to
    tone down the vitriol. This goes for some members of the BOT. As long as
    Joyner, Fraizer & Peetz are running the show there will be confrontation.
    Moving on is a two way street.