Penn State Football: Breaking Down What Nittany Lions Must Do to Succeed

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2012

April 21, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien on the sidelines during the spring game at  Beaver Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

With the 2012 Penn State football season approaching fast, all of the controversy surrounding the university has been pushed out of the forefront of the fans' minds.

It’s time for football.

While most feel that this is a lost season for the Nittany Lions, the student-athletes couldn’t disagree more, and they will fight with everything they have to prove to everyone that they can be successful.

All of the following reasons will contribute to the possible success of PSU this season and could help turn the page on the darkest chapter in the school’s history.


Follow Bill O’Brien

With a completely clean slate, it is time for new head coach Bill O’Brien to take the helm of the ship and lead the team away from the controversy and into a new age. With his experience in the New England Patriots organization, O’Brien knows how to win.

The depth of this team has thinned seriously due to the NCAA sanctions brought upon the university, but there are some strong players left, and O’Brien will lead those stars in the surge for wins.

Where O’Brien really will make a difference is in the recruitment of small-school players. With the allure of working with a Super Bowl-caliber Patriots team, O’Brien can offer what a lot of other college coaches can’t.


Accept the Changes

While this will be the oddest season in Happy Valley history, the players, the school and the fans need to accept the changes and move on with their lives. Everyone must turn the page.

The news that the uniforms would start to feature the players' names on the back shows that this is not the Penn State we saw just a few months ago—nor should it be. These are steps forward, steps out of the stone ages and into the modern day.

The tradition at Penn State was what gave it the aura it had for so many years. But it’s that same tradition that destroyed its legacy. Now it’s time to make a new legacy built on education and not a football team.


Lean on the Young Players

While many of the veteran players have stayed at Penn State, the onus of this 2012 season will fall on the shoulders of the young players. They are the foundation of the rebuilding effort.

Freshman star Bill Belton will be taking over the biggest role, as Silas Redd has decided to take his talent to USC. With less speed than Redd, Belton will depend more on his power to make sure the offense stays on the field.

If O’Brien can find the happy medium between his veterans and his freshman class, there is a chance that, despite not being able to play for anything significant, the Nittany Lions could be dangerously good.


Check back for more on the NCAA Football as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s College Football page to get your fill of college football.