Finally, the Penn State Football Program should have a bit of stability heading into next season. When rumors started flying that head coach Bill O'Brien may be bolting for the NFL, fans were worried that the team would once again be put in the middle of a challenging situation.
Instead, O'Brien reaffirmed his commitment to the school and made it clear that he's not going anywhere, at least for 2013. He told David Jones of pennlive.com, "I'm not a one-and-done guy. I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that's what I am going to do."
With the head coach locked down for the upcoming season, the normal offseason routine of a college football team can begin at Penn State. With National Signing Day a month away, the coaching staff will be focused on wrapping up the final recruits and solidifying the 2013 class.
While the sanctions may be a hindrance for the program when it comes to recruiting, O'Brien has already shown he is capable of bringing top players to Penn State.
ESPN has the Nittany Lions ranked as the 24th-best recruiting class for 2013. It's a class of 18 which includes top quarterback prospect Christian Hackenberg and top tight end Adam Breneman. There was fear that some recruits, including Hackenberg, would jump ship if O'Brien took an open NFL job. Fortunately for Penn State, that should no longer be an issue.
There is one immediate problem however, that could affect the upcoming season.
Under the NCAA imposed sanctions, current players can still transfer from the school without the typical one-year penalty. It seems unlikely that any of the current starters would transfer though, given the fact that they had the same opportunity prior to the start of this past season.
Had O'Brien decided to head back to the NFL, several current players may have chosen to leave.
O'Brien praised the players last year who stuck around in spite of the adversity. Now that he has done the same, fans shouldn't expect to lose key starters as was the case last season.
Fans of Penn State Football can be hopeful that the upcoming spring and summer will be uneventful compared to 2012.
Last year's offseason was anything but stable. Aside from knowing who the coach was, everything else was up in the air. There was an uneasiness with the program the entire spring and summer due to not knowing what was coming down the road.
When the Freeh Report was released in July and the NCAA followed with its announcement of punishment for the school, few had any idea what the total effect would be.
Fast forward to present time and those within the program can now rest easier. Things seem to have stabilized. There shouldn't be any surprises, as the sanctions are now known and steps can be taken to minimize the effect.
One thing that could be coming down the road may actually work in the Nittany Lions' favor. Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for the harsh sanctions that were placed on the state university. It's too early to predict the outcome of that, but a reduction of the penalty may be possible.
Regardless, with O'Brien at the helm the Nittany Lions can get to work and start building the best team possible to take the field for 2013.