The football team has had several obstacles so far. The win on Saturday against Navy solidified the team a bit. But the team hasto continue to improve. O'Brien comes in as a coach holding nothing back as far as the play book is concerned. Being the New England Patriots offensive coordinator the year before, everyone knows the man has the know-how to put points on the board, but can he transition from working with professionals to coaching student-athletes? That's a question that will have to be answered in the ensuing weeks to come. Despite the rocky start, Penn State's football team has shown significant growth from game to game. As everyone knows by now, one of the two losses was decided by a number of missed kicks- something that can be easily corrected. With the Navy win, Penn State may be on a slow but steady road to recovery on the football field.
Student at Penn State Hazleton are adjusting to the new changes involved with the football team. What seems to come up in discussions is the comparison of "O'Brien's Lions" and "Joepa's" legacy.
Sophomores Jacquelyn Jackowski, Sarah Klose, Ryan Pacelli, and Lauren Sharp from Hazleton campus weighed in on the matter recently. The word "indifference" was used often throughout each of • the discussions. Not only that, but all four of them agreed Bill O'Brien had his work cut out for him. Klose stated "people will not look up to [O'Brien] as much as Joepa," while Pacelli claimed it seemed O'Brien was "trying to replace someone he'll never be able to replace."
It would seem O’Brien hasn’t been received with open arms quite yet, at least in Hazleton. Although the acceptance of the coaching staff isn't the only thing that has changed among Hazleton campus students from the year before, some students believe the atmosphere at the games has changed, too. Jackowski reminisced about last year’s games where there was a "good atmosphere" and "closeness, even though you didn't know everyone." Klose agreed.
"Everyone was closer [then], and felt more like a team."
Argument came from Sharp, who said the atmosphere at games hasn't changed a bit, except for the better. In attendance at Penn State's first football game this season, she saw how "the student section was gigantic and everyone was really supportive despite we were losing."
In the end, all four felt certain about one thing- what happened last year to former head coach Joe Paterno was hard to watch. Jackowski and Klose felt Paterno deserved the right to "finish out the season." Sharp elaborated on this idea stating "[Paterno] was the face of Penn State. Not only as a coach in football, but with his donations to our libraries. We did him wrong." Pacelli said the situation was "unavoidable, and would have happened no matter what, but it is ridiculous what is happening to us students. We were the same age as the victims when this all happened."
The feelings of students at Penn State Hazleton can be expressed in one word -frustrated. As a school, there may not be many things everyone can agree on, but when it comes to Penn State and its football team, most miss Joe Paterno and the era of football that came to an end after a great man had died of a broken heart.
Krystin Baker, staff writer, contributed to this story.