An Open Letter To Coach O’Brien
Dear Coach O’Brien,
First, welcome to Happy Valley. I know you’re not too familiar with this place that we call home, but I can assure you it lives up to that moniker– as long as you win football games (kidding…sort of). If you play your cards right, you and that cleft chin of yours could own this town. Okay, that’s the end of the Friday Night Lights crap, I promise.
Now, no offense, but most of us had no idea who you were before last week, and many only knew you by name before Thursday night. See, we let ourselves believe that we would land some big name to take over and drag us out of this mess, so please excuse the collective “we waited all that time for this guy?” you probably heard the other night. Then when we found out you’d still be with the Patriots for at least another week instead of hitting the recruiting trail, well, we felt a little betrayed.
Still, you have the opportunity to become a legend at Penn State. While you won’t have to drive around campus in a golf cart like Pat Chambers did, you will have a lot of fans to win over before you even coach a game. Fortunately, it seems you’ve taken the bull by the horns in that area. Your introductory press conference displayed passion, respect, and awareness, and the standing ovations you received at both Penn State basketball games you attended this weekend said a lot as well.
While most fans have realized that you deserve our support regardless of how you ended up here, that support rides on you following through on a few things. Expectations here may not reach the levels of those for a pro team in Boston, but we expect excellence on and off the field from all of our teams, especially in football. Our own Drew Balis already gave you Ten Commandments to follow, but I want to review a few important points.
As far as on the field goes, the formula for success at Penn State currently consists of the following:
- Always win the games you’re supposed to win. This includes pretty much every non-conference game in the foreseeable future as well as any game against Indiana or Northwestern.
- Beat teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska (thanks, Carolyn Todd, for adding the Huskers to this list), and Iowa as much as, or more than, they beat us. They’re the closest thing we have to a rival.
- Do not lose to Temple. Ever. Like Drew said, don’t even think about it.
- Win a Big Ten championship and/or make a BCS bowl once in the next five years, and win more bowl games than you lose.
Also, after what we’ve seen from the quarterbacks the past two years, we wouldn’t mind seeing you get in their ear like you did with Tom Brady. Speaking of quarterbacks, we could really use one (or two…or three…), so start showing recruits those Brady highlights. We know you’ll improve the offense, and we look forward to that more than we can even begin to express. However, that cannot come at the expense of the defense, which we pride ourselves on here at Linebacker U. Great work retaining Coach Johnson, by the way.
When it comes to the off-field stuff, keep the GPAs up and the arrests down, and don’t you dare commit a major violation. Oh, and you’ll probably have to deal with the aftermath of this little problem that came out a few months back. Just use common sense and you’ll be surprised how competent you’ll seem around here.
In closing, I have a few additional requests. Please end our decade-and-a-half streak of not having a quarterback drafted. Please visit the campers at Paternoville as often as you can, and please come visit me while I’m dancing in THON in a few weeks (Sorry people, I had to be a little selfish). And most importantly, please always uphold the Success With Honor mantra that Penn State football has always stood for.
So, Coach, welcome to the Penn State family. It may seem dysfunctional right now, but it’s as tight-knit and supportive a family as you’ll find anywhere, and we appreciate those who do right by us. We Are Penn State, and now, so are you.
All the best,
Penn State Class of 2012