After NCAA sanctions were handed down in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State players like Silas Redd and Rob Bolden left the program in the summer of 2012. Today, after Bill O'Brien worked to stabilize the program and his players responded, Penn State transfers are leaving for a lot more "normal" reasons.
Normal, of course, means players looking to find a way onto the field after realizing it might not happen for them at their original choice.
Steven Bench, a quarterback at Penn State, elected to transfer after spring practice and recently, as the Tampa Bay Times reported, picked South Florida as a landing spot. Which is good for Bench, the former Rivals 3-star recruit, who walks into USF with an opportunity to play for new head coach Willie Taggart.
It is also a good sign for Penn State.
Things in Happy Valley are returning to normal. We saw that during the season as O'Brien's scrappy team fought its way to eight wins. We saw that during the 2013 recruiting cycle as, led by the signing of quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Penn State battled off the negative recruiting to put together a solid class.
The Nittany Lions are coming out of the transfer danger zone and landing back into the same waters as other teams. Sure, they will lose a homesick kid or two, and guys like Bench, who are looking to get on the field, will leave. But the program is back on the right track under O'Brien.
O'Brien, who told Bench following spring ball that he would likely be only a backup at best, according to Penn Live's David Jones, is handling things well. The coach did not sugarcoat it with Bench, just like he did not sugarcoat it with fans and the media when it came to his career path or the medical care that he expects for his squad.
Penn State is in good hands with O'Brien, and even as Bench finally lands, it speaks to the confidence the coach has in his quarterback depth and his straightforward approach. In the case of Penn State, this transfer, rooted in playing time, is not a bad sign for the program.