Skip to content

Bill O’Brien considers altering Penn State’s unis

Michael Mauti AP

Every coach will tell his players the same cliché. It’s the name on the front of the jersey that counts, not the back.

But not every coach has to deal with what Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is facing: a postseason ban and massive scholarship loss, among other athletic sanctions, courtesy of NCAA president Mark Emmert’s reaction to the Freeh report. The scholarship loss was coupled with essentially non-existent transfer rules allowing players to bail when and where they please.

Some will leave, but others will stay. Around 30 have admitted as much. And those who decide to remain at Penn State deserve a ton of credit. O’Brien wants to make sure they get that recognition on a weekly basis.

Per the Reading Eagle, O’Brien is considering some changes to Penn State’s classic blue and white uniforms, including putting names on the back of the uniforms:

O’Brien also told the parents that he has talked to Nike about changing Penn State’s plain blue and white uniforms, a staple of the program for decades under former coach Joe Paterno. He also said he’s looking to put names on the back of the jerseys.

“It might be easier said than done (for this season),” he said. “I’m not sure we can get it done this year.”

Uniforms are almost always the first things to be altered when a program undergoes major transformation, although I’m sure any changes made would be minor in nature — if changes are made at all.

If I were O’Brien, I’d make the names on the backs of the jerseys a temporary alteration until the NCAA sanctions are lifted as a sign of recognition for those who toughed it out through hard times.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Big Ten Conference, Penn State Nittany Lions, Rumor Mill, Top Posts
35 Responses to “Bill O’Brien considers altering Penn State’s unis”
  1. thepancreas says: Jul 26, 2012 8:54 PM

    After they lose to Ohio, they may want their names off those jerseys.

  2. js20011041 says: Jul 26, 2012 8:59 PM

    Why change a good thing?

  3. onceuponatimeinsports says: Jul 26, 2012 9:00 PM

    Talk about shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic!!!!

  4. dadsource says: Jul 26, 2012 9:04 PM

    Never, NEVER change the uni’s. That was one thing that was brought up time and again on the media circus O’Brien took. DON’T change the UNI’s!!!!!!

    The thing that will endure at PSU is the culture of team over individual, something that will be LOST if names go on the back.

    Shoot, Buckey Greely as team captain in 94 refused the Rose Bowl patch as not to alter the plainness of the uniform.

    Sports Illustrated named the PSU uniforms the worst in college football in the 80’s, then they won the BEST in football in the 90’s.

    They are timeless. Leave them alone….

  5. vincentbojackson says: Jul 26, 2012 9:08 PM

    Names on the jerseys and the oval lion logo on the side of the helmets.

    That would be a subtle change without going completely overboard.

  6. finfan87 says: Jul 26, 2012 9:23 PM

    This is a change that most PSU fans won’t be in favor of, but after taking into account all that has happened, they should be.

    Sure, football is a team sport…but by putting names on the jerseys, Penn State can make the argument that these young adults should be what is important, not the name of the school they play for.

  7. dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 26, 2012 9:55 PM

    Changing uniforms helps the victims. Isn’t that what everyone is concerned about.

  8. thetooloftools says: Jul 26, 2012 10:04 PM

    O’Brian pushes for ANY changes to that uniform and fans will turn on him en mass. He cannot be that stupid. Tradition is tradition. Well.. in a way I hope he does change the uniform, so when fans don’t show up and the stadium is 1/2 empty, the fans can say “it just doesn’t look the same”. He better wake up real fast and leave the garb alone. I have never liked Penn State and I live their for 40 years, but you better not touch the uniform. The only thing they ever put on that uniform is the STRIPE of NIKE that they whored themselves out for $$$$$$.
    (Which is why this problem was allowed to continue).

  9. billobrienschindimple says: Jul 26, 2012 10:28 PM


    Read what you posted and enjoy the irony if you calling someone stupid.

  10. yeti47 says: Jul 26, 2012 11:09 PM

    Ill be okay with it. They might be switching the lion logo to the keystone logo with the S in the middle. I could go with that. WE ARE!

  11. restoretheroar1 says: Jul 26, 2012 11:23 PM

    I like idea of names on back of jersey I don’t like no name look on back of jersey’s. Little changes is good don’t overall PSU logo on helmets not a fan of plain helmets have something on them.

  12. goodfieldnohit says: Jul 26, 2012 11:33 PM

    dannythebisforbeast says: Jul 26, 2012 9:55 PM

    Changing uniforms helps the victims. Isn’t that what everyone is concerned about.

    For the record, changing the uniforms does nothing to help the victims.

  13. jjohnb5393 says: Jul 26, 2012 11:55 PM

    The kids there now had nothing to do with what happened….honor them in any way you can for sticking thru this

  14. steeler1nation says: Jul 27, 2012 12:31 AM

    hey Ben Kercheval, you write:
    “…a postseason ban and massive scholarship loss, among other athletic sanctions, courtesy of NCAA president Mark Emmert’s reaction to the Freeh report…”
    ok, pal – so it was courtesy of Mark Emmert, huh? Mark Emmert is the guy responsible for PSU’s sanctions, right? It’s his fault…NOT the PSU Football program? wow. talk about misplaced blame. Yeah, blame Emmert. He actually went easy on this disgusting & out of control institution. They deserved the death penalty. Love how you try to make a pathetic attmept at placing the blame as if it is Emmert who is responsible here, and not the creeps who covered this up at PSU, the systemic cultural cover-up by many, not just a few.

  15. onceuponatimeinsports says: Jul 27, 2012 1:12 AM

    Alabama, LSU, Florida and USC all have a symbol or something on their helmets and names on the back of their uniforms. How many National Titles do they share over the last dozen years…?

    Now how many does Penn St have over that same time period?

    How’s that “team first” concept work’n out for ya’…..?

  16. psunick says: Jul 27, 2012 1:15 AM

    Sandusky…cover ups…sanctions…probation…no Bowls…all of this, I can handle.

    But changing our uniforms? Never!

    Hail to Pitt!!

  17. mungman69 says: Jul 27, 2012 1:47 AM

    They should put the names of the kids on the uniforms.

  18. addict2sport says: Jul 27, 2012 8:04 AM

    Incorrect…USC does not put names on the back of their jersey.

  19. feva4theflava says: Jul 27, 2012 8:11 AM

    Leave the uni’s alone. I fully support the new coaching staff but you can’t mess with tradition and I think there are a lot of players who will agree as they’ve done in the past.

  20. makeham98 says: Jul 27, 2012 9:14 AM

    Change the uniforms. Make it known that the past cult-like regime is gone.

  21. contract says: Jul 27, 2012 9:20 AM

    Yeah … this won’t cause a backlash at all.

  22. amerimook says: Jul 27, 2012 10:41 AM

    If you’re changing the identity of the program, the uniforms are the starting point. Penn St. should become the Oregon of the East. That’ll make this program a talking point over the next few years, because it’s doubtful anyone will be talking about performance.

  23. vincelapalco says: Jul 27, 2012 10:58 AM

    I love PSU’s uniform– best in football along with Bama and USC (and I’m an LSU guy). I’m also a huge advocate of tradition, but currently and unfortunately, PSU’s tradition lies in infamy, so altering the uniform would be a good move towards re-branding that tradition. first and foremost, we’ve all got to be mindful of the victims. Keep the same color scheme, and don’t turn the helmets navy, and I like Yeti47’s mention of the keystone & ‘S’ logo. Finally, I’d add stripes to the pants and jerseys, similar to those of the Jets or the Colts. So long as you stick with 2 colors and leave the helmets white, you can still keep your unis simple and traditional.

  24. gripless says: Jul 27, 2012 11:33 AM

    Leave the uniforms alone

  25. magoopaintrock says: Jul 27, 2012 11:41 AM

    They should keep the unis, but change the team name to just “Lions.” “Nittany Lions” was always a little awkward since those are hills, not mountains.

  26. ironhawk says: Jul 27, 2012 12:24 PM

    “dadsource says: Jul 26, 2012 9:04 PM
    The thing that will endure at PSU is the culture of team over individual, something that will be LOST if names go on the back.”

    It was the culture of PSU that allowed kids to be molested. I hope the uniform change does lead to the destruction of PSU culture. It’ll improve the safety and well being of the local community.

  27. timh1955 says: Jul 27, 2012 12:27 PM


    I totally agree with you that the best looking uniforms are PSU, Bama and USC. Great schools stick with tradition and don’t need gimmicks like changing their unis every game.

  28. jmbates10 says: Jul 27, 2012 12:40 PM

    No names, small double stripe on the pants and either the logo or their numbers on the helmets. They had the helmet numbers, aka Alabama, years ago. Small subtle changes are appropriate.

  29. kokobware24 says: Jul 27, 2012 1:32 PM

    Why don’t they put a blue ribbon on the helmet in honor of the victims? Not a tiny one on the back, but a big blue ribbon on both sides of the helmet. And leave it there for long beyond just this year.

    Nothing can undo the damage to those victims but making the ribbon the focal point of the helmet would show a culture change away from the phoniness of their previous pristine image.

    Leaving it on the helmets for long beyond the sanctions have been served would also ensure future generations are aware of the cautionary tale of this tragedy.

  30. mogogo1 says: Jul 27, 2012 5:02 PM

    Props to O’Brien for considering different things. What PSU desperately need at all levels is a rebirth. That doesn’t mean dumping every old tradition, but it also doesn’t mean blindly adhering to the old ways because “that’s just how it is around here.”

    As for the possibility of some fans turning away from them if they do this, that might not be a bad thing. The people who will be most irked by this will be the same people who are still out there defending Paterno and claiming the Freeh report was a hatchet job. The quicker PSU can drive out those fools, the better off they will be.

  31. brianbosworthisstonecold says: Jul 27, 2012 7:06 PM

    Put Sandusky on the backs of all of the uni’s.

  32. gmsingh says: Jul 28, 2012 9:37 AM

    A bullseye on the buttocks area would be appropriate.

  33. latchbeam says: Jul 28, 2012 10:04 AM

    Do they have to register their uniforms now?

  34. usmutts says: Jul 28, 2012 11:21 AM

    In order to acknowledge the true legacy and culture of Penn State football, only the helmet should be changed. Perhaps the helmet should have a tasteful, artistic representation of the (now removed) famous statue of Joe Paterno – with Joe “looking the other way.”

  35. gfj7000 says: Jul 29, 2012 8:29 PM

    CHANGE THE UNIFORMS – names on shoulder backs are definitely a start -THE PLAYERS DESERVE TO HAVE THEIR NAMES TO ‘STAND OUT’ – THAT is an AWESOME STATEMENT THEY’RE ALL MAKING- as for helmet changes, & considerable other changes to uniform colors, etc. – taking one step at a time is probably more realistic – NIKE’s staff will have a busy August for all CFB programs they cover.
    As for long-term changes – YES, a considerable overhaul is needed – uniforms have changed considerably since the 60s – right? As for aggressive uniform & helmet changes – over the past 5 years – look what NIKE has done for the Oregon Ducks!! Need I say more?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!