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.