My early impressions of Bill O'Brien:
Like many other Penn Staters, I initially thought that getting a "big name" replacement for Coach Paterno was a must (like Jon Gruden) given the circumstances.
However, after my initial disappointment, and with three months officially on board, Bill O'Brien has done nothing but impress everyone. If accountability means anything, Coach O'Brien has exceeded our expectations early on with recruiting.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Bill O’Brien is getting his Penn?State football team ready for next weekend’s Blue-White game.
Even if you have not met Coach O'Brien personally or seen him speak at an event, we should trust our recruits and their parents that their experience with him and the school has been nothing but positive.
I love that he has kept many of Joe's principles, such as academics above athletics, team above individuals and not tinkering with our signature uniforms. He has created a new staff that appears to be excited about the new challenges and telling the country that it is a new day at Penn State.
Still, the unknown will be how our coach handles a Big Ten schedule and creates an exciting (and winning) team. Overall, if Bill ends up half the coach that JoePa was, then we Penn Staters have hit a home run.
I, for one, am 100 percent in support of O'Brien and will give him slack to smooth out the rough edges with a new playbook, mature as a head coach, and to get his guys on board.
Penn Staters are as passionate as anyone in the country, and I expect that they will come out in record numbers for the Blue-White Game and his inaugural season to show their support.
Let's all show Bill O'Brien that he made the best choice in college football by joining us at Penn State.
Saints' bounty master should be gone
So far, no one has written anything on the "New Orleans bounty hunters," either pro or con.
I have been trying to stay current with it. The chief of the bounty program was Gregg Williams, former defensive coordinator of the Saints.
He put the program together, including setting up the "blood money" reward and paying it out with fanfare. The NFL was too easy on disciplining Williams.
In short, he should have been kicked out of any kind of association with football from Pop Warner through the NFL.
End of case, no appeal.
Now let's get to Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis. Since they knew about or should have known about the program, Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, did right in suspending these people.
But he should have gone one step further by saying there would be no appeals heard. Period!
What many people don't understand is that former players are now coming out in droves and filing class-action lawsuits against the league for not doing enough about concussions back then.
Without having these bounty programs, current players are getting injured every NFL game. Players doing the hitting today are bigger, stronger and faster.
I know somebody is going to write about ice hockey, which has always been rough, and fighting between players is an accepted thing. I think that is what draws fans to the sport of hockey.
Appreciates Mirror mat coverage, Irwin
I thought the Altoona Mirror provided good coverage of Penn State winning its second consecutive NCAA wrestling title.
I read the Mirror online all the way down here in Laurinburg, N.C. Also, Todd Irwin does a super job on his weekly column of high school wrestling in the Altoona area. Keep up the good work.
(The writer is a former local wrestling coach.)