O'Brien Brings Optimism to Nervous PSU Nation

O'Brien Brings Optimism to Nervous PSU Nation

They spoke about Joe Paterno rarely in a room filled with his spirit, his followers and his replacement.

Maybe that's the way it was supposed to be at Bill O'Brien's grand coming out in the nation's media capital on Wednesday. Officially, it marked the latest stop in the Penn State Coaches Caravan. Within the hearts and minds of Penn State Nation at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, it was the latest step away from a scandal.

The scandal, but you would never know it.

"Mostly football questions," said O'Brien, Penn State's first new football head coach in 46 years. "That's good."

A packed ballroom full of Penn State grads wanted a sliver of hope that everything is going to be OK. They got it from O'Brien, a 42-year-old outsider with a pedigree (New England Patriots), just not a Penn State pedigree.

"He just wants a chance," said Tony Gordon, Penn State Class of 1978 who once said he would "hang on a cross" for Paterno.

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