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Penn State comeback gives Bill O’Brien our early Coach of the Year vote

Bill O'Brien AP

I believe this is what most people would call being on a roll.

After starting the season 0-2, Penn State has now won four in a row thanks to a come-from-behind victory over undefeated Northwestern. Penn State scored 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat Pat Fitzgerald‘s group 39-28.

It was a display of resiliency that Penn State has become known for over the past month, and for that, Bill O’Brien gets our vote for Coach of the Year so far.

And we’re not even considering the strides this PSU offense, which had no playmakers or identity last year, has taken.

O’Brien inherited one of the worst possible situations you could imagine when he accepted the job at the beginning of this year. That situation was only made worse when NCAA president Mark Emmert took matters into his own hands this summer, handing out severe sanctions to the program including scholarship losses and a postseason ban.

Then, there were the player departures, highlighted by running back Silas Redd‘s decision to transfer to USC, and the early-season losses. Suffice to say, 2012 looked like it might be a lost season. Though there will be no Big Ten championship game or bowl for Penn State this season, O’Brien and this team have shown that, no, there is no giving up — even when they were given plenty of reasons to do so.

Penn State’s mettle will be tested over the next month as well with games against Ohio State, Purdue and Nebraska. O’Brien’s team probably won’t win all every game during that stretch, but PSU’s refusal to give up has shown that this team will have a chance.

A better one than many — myself included — thought they’d have.

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17 Responses to “Penn State comeback gives Bill O’Brien our early Coach of the Year vote”
  1. psunick says: Oct 6, 2012 4:20 PM

    Good article, Ben.

    You are now officially forgiven for last summer.
    :)

  2. normtide says: Oct 6, 2012 4:33 PM

    I have said all along, if the fringe PSU fans will shut up and let O’Brien do his job, he will get you down the long road to recovery. It will be a tough road, no doubt. This guy has done all the right things Stu far, and I am rooting for him. He knows it can only be done the right way, no shortcuts. Good luck coach.

  3. stairwayto7 says: Oct 6, 2012 5:17 PM

    Where are all the haters at now? Where are all the players who left and what are they doing? Boldin 3rd string at LSU? LOL. What happens when PSU has better record than Wisconsin, Arkansas and Auburn?

  4. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Oct 6, 2012 5:36 PM

    Our early pick? Ben do you have a mouse in your pocket? Terrible piece of journalism!

  5. vanmorrissey says: Oct 6, 2012 5:50 PM

    O’Brien was a great hire. No matter who took over it was going to be uphill, scandal or no scandal, taking over for JoePa. O’Brien has shown he was the man for the job and but for some early season getting their feet back under themselves (and an unproven field goal kicker) their record would be even better. They probably will still struggle to be .500, but he could very well be Coach of the Year, if that’s an AP vote. If NCAA, forget it.

  6. mcqphx says: Oct 6, 2012 6:15 PM

    Please! What a joke. Penn State Hype Train. You couldn’t help yourself. Coach of the Year. Fu

  7. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Oct 6, 2012 6:51 PM

    @stairwayto7
    Didn’t I flush you down the toilet already!!
    But yes, I do agree O’Brian has done a terrific job, and regardless of pieces of $h!t fans like stairwayto7, I too root for PSU positive recovery.. Good Luck PSU and all the non-annoying fans.

  8. dannythebisforbeast says: Oct 6, 2012 7:44 PM

    The players that remained are showing what the Penn State Way is about. Fans backing a kicker that singlehandedly lost a game and any other time would have been replaced also is a nice touch.

  9. cometkazie says: Oct 6, 2012 8:15 PM

    Great for the kids who are sticking it out and coach O’Brian!

    And look at the SEC fans saying nice things about their program!

  10. amosalanzostagg says: Oct 6, 2012 11:21 PM

    Congrats to the entire PSU community. You have been through hell and I sincerely hope that after the
    Sandusky sentencing that a sense of normalcy returns
    for Happy Valley.

  11. poopystinkypants says: Oct 7, 2012 12:19 AM

    Super proud of this team. The wins are nice, but more special is the attitude of the players and staff. The effort, the pride, is what it’s all about. That’s why PSU has always been special.

  12. southernpatriots says: Oct 7, 2012 1:23 AM

    This is one thing the Board of Trustees got right. They interviewed numerous candidates and presented the facts to Coach O’Brien, the New England Patriots offensive coordinator, and thought he would not take the job once they detailed the challenges ahead. Instead, he not only took the job but announced it…”I feel like I’m a mentally tough guy right now. I feel like I’m the right guy.” Then he described it as “Unbelieveable!”

    Yes, Coach, your job so far, despite all the challenges which continue to exist, but your ability to motivate and focus the Nittany Lions football team on the opponent ahead and not looking behind, is quite “Unbelieveable!” Coach O’Brien is a winner and he has and is convincing the players they are winners too. Great job Coach! Keep up the great work….”Unbelieveable!”

  13. mungman69 says: Oct 7, 2012 8:11 AM

    It’s terrible what went on at PSU. Can’t help but root for the players and coach but…

  14. pandebailey says: Oct 7, 2012 8:28 AM

    Okay Penn State fans, slow down patting yourself on the back and reaching for the coach of the year award.

    You beat Navy, Temple, Illinois and NW. Not exactly front page wins, people. Did anybody really think Northwestern would be a 6-0 team?

  15. dirtyharry1971 says: Oct 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    Are you kidding me? Who the heck did state penn beat so far besides nobody? Wait until around halloween when the meat of your schedule comes up and lets see where all the state penn fans are!! They will all be in hiding!

    stairwayto7 says:Oct 6, 2012 5:17 PM

    Where are all the haters at now? Where are all the players who left and what are they doing? Boldin 3rd string at LSU? LOL. What happens when PSU has better record than Wisconsin, Arkansas and Auburn

  16. frank booth says: Oct 7, 2012 10:21 PM

    stairwayto7 says:Oct 6, 2012 5:17 PM

    Where are all the haters at now? Where are all the players who left and what are they doing? Boldin 3rd string at LSU? LOL. What happens when PSU has better record than Wisconsin, Arkansas and Auburn?
    ==================================
    I don’t know the answer, but I know we won’t be watching them in a bowl game.

  17. sanguillen35 says: Oct 8, 2012 12:58 PM

    PSU has won 24 bowl games over the past 40 years. I guess for 4 years PSU fans can make it thru the holidays with the memories of so many past New Year’s Day games to keep them warm.
    PS: Cudos to Coach Fitzgerald and the N’western squad hope they go rest of way undefeated also hope best for Coach Bielema and Wisconsin. Two class acts!!!!

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