Tom Bradley always wanted to be a college football head coach. For the last several years, he has turned down other positions at other schools with the hopes of being the successor to Joe Paterno at Penn State.
This week, Bradley got his wish and was promoted to head coach after Paterno was fired. This is not the way that Bradley wanted the job, but now he has to focus on football. This is a quick look at how Bradley handled the first half against Nebraska.
How do you get ready for a game like this?
Bradley was thrust into an unfamiliar position unlike any other. He had to prepare this team for more than a football game.
This was just not about X’s and O’s on a very strange Saturday. He had to prepare his team for anything that could happen on and off the field.
He had to prepare his team for life after Paterno, and a new system of delivering play-calls. Bradley did an exceptional job of letting the team captains play a pivotal role in the preparation for this game.
Bradley realizes that this is more than a game.
He also realizes that he will most likely not be the head coach next year at Penn State. Despite knowing the obvious, Bradley is a class act and he is very grateful for being the head coach at Penn State, even if it is just for a few games.
Before this game, Bradley visited the student section to shake hands with nearly every student. He showed his appreciation for the student support and let them know that he was thankful they came to support the team.
In a game that was overflowing with emotions even before kickoff, Tom Bradley has showed great poise.
He brings an air of self-control in what can only be described as a chaotic and unstable environment. There was not a dry eye in the stands or on the sideline before the game.
Bradley earns an A+ for handling a difficult situation with a tremendous amount of composure and dignity.
Penn State University has spent a long week coming under fire for its conduct, behavior and character.
It has been evident early in this game why they chose Tom Bradley to be the face of the football program for this week. His demeanor in the face of adversity has been admirable.
This was clearly evident when he gathered with the team in the middle of the field along with Nebraska for a pre-game prayer.
Bradley’s demeanor was near perfect for this very challenging Saturday.
One of the first things that Penn State had to deal with was changes with the coaches on the sideline.
Joe Paterno is gone from the booth.
Receivers coach Mike McQueary is no longer on the sidelines. McQueary was the mouthpiece from Paterno to the sidelines.
Now Jay Paterno is on the sideline sending in plays. That adjustment is not easy, but so far, it has not been a problem in the first half.
It is clear that Bradley is utilizing a strategy that the players are very familiar with.
Bradley has said that he will not utilize a rotating quarterback system, but that could change as the game goes on. Although the Nittany Lions started with a three-and-out on offense, nerves have to be playing a role.
Bradley trusts his defense to keep this game close and get the job done.
Game adjustments can make the difference in winning and losing a college football game.
On the second drive of the football game, the offense seemed to settle down and open up the running lanes with play-action passing.
Although the team was not rewarded with points, the aggressive play-calling is working early. Since then, the offense has failed to score.
On defense, Penn State had to adjust on the fly to Nebraska's play-calling. Nebraska has used the pass often in the first half.
His game adjustments will truly be challenged at halftime when he will be able to employ bigger changes to adjust to Nebraska’s game play.
There is still another half of football to be played, but right now Bradley has this team playing very physical football. They are attacking Nebraska on both sides of the ball and are determined to win this game.
The penalty near the end of the first half was the first big error by Penn State. The score may not be in favor of Penn State, but there is plenty of game left to be played.
At the half, Bradley gets high grades on his performance, but he will be ultimately judged by the outcome of this game.