Nov 29, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin looks on prior to the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Boston College vs. Penn State: 5 Big Questions — #4
Q: You’re all probably tired of hearing about this bowl game being the first one “back” since the downfall of Joe Paterno. It will take some time to recover from the sanctions, but how far do you think the Nittany Lions have come since 2011? Has the transition from Bill O’Brien to James Franklin been a good one for the program’s development?
BL: There’s no question that November of 2011 was a tough time for Penn State. In a matter of a few days, the beloved Coach Paterno was ousted and there were nothing but question marks surrounding the program. Then, things got worse in July 2012 when the damaging NCAA sanctions were handed down.
Everyone involved with the football program, as well as fans, were in shock. Nobody knew what the future would hold for Penn State football, as there were thoughts that it would take many years to fully recover.
In stepped little-known Bill O’Brien, who completely saved the program. For him to get 15 wins in two years while facing the things he did was amazing. He kept football alive at Penn State and his recruiting built a strong foundation for the future.
Just as quickly as O’Brien came, he left, turning the program over to James Franklin.
This year has been tough. But let’s not forget that because of the way the sanctions affected the scholarships, many felt this would be the worst year due to the lack of depth.
For now, the transition from O’Brien to Franklin hasn’t been as smooth as most would likely desire. However, it will just take some time. Franklin is a strong recruiter and is set on adding to the foundation O’Brien built the previous two years.