Less than two weeks before the conclusion of summer training camp Penn State coach Bill O’Brien took the Nittany Lions on a tour of Beaver Stadium and the All-Sports Museum. While the Nittany Lions head into uncharted territory with bowl bans and scholarship restrictions O’Brien wanted to remind his players what they’re playing for.
“We feel it is very important for our players to understand the history of this program,” O’Brien said. “People ask us what we play for all of the time and I don’t think the people who ask that know what the history of Penn State football means to the student and athletes at Penn State. We took them over to the stadium a couple of nights ago to show them the museum and the timeline and the history.”
For Penn State the added motivation isn’t hard to find but with an uncertain future O’Brien felt it was important for the team to understand where the program is and where it can go.
“We talked about all of the players and coaches that have represented Penn State. Obviously, Coach Paterno and everything that he did, on and off the football field, and all of the players that he coached,” O’Brien said.
“We talked about Rip Engle and Coach Bob Higgins. We talked about all the former great players that played here. It was great to see that our guys were really into it. We got a lot of guys that are history buffs and I believe they enjoyed it. That is what we wanted to do. We wanted to make sure they know that there is a lot that we are playing for at Penn State. I think our guys really understand that.”
How this history lesson translates in the coming weeks and months remains to be seen, but understanding your roots might just help you find something extra when the team needs it most. If anything O’Brien has shown he is capable of finding ways to motivate and coach up his players. There is no reason to think this won’t work as well.