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Penn State Football: O'Brien Calls Culture Argument 'Ridiculous'

by on January 05, 2013 9:32 AM

Bill O'Brien, after entertaining overtures from at least two NFL franchises, is starting to make his media rounds to explain his decision to return to Penn State.

He was a radio guest Friday on the "Steve Jones Show," hosted by Jones, the Penn State football radio voice, when he said the three biggest influences for returning were his players, coaching staff and family.

O'Brien was not asked about any potential forthcoming changes in the athletic department, aims that were hinted at in a report by the Harrisburg Patriot-News on Thursday night.

About the closest O'Brien came to discussing the business end of flirting with the NFL was when he was asked about his assistants receiving a bump in pay.

Here's the exchange:

Jones: How important is it that your staff is well taken care of?

O'Brien: "That's an important part of it. That's a good question. These guys are top-flight coaches that have plenty of opportunities and this is not going to be the easiest of times of the next few years for Penn State and these are tough guys that have been through a lot and they've stuck with us, they've stuck with Penn State, they stuck with me. So, I think it's important for the people of Penn State to understand that and we've done the best we can to take care of these guys."

Some other notes from the interview:

  • O'Brien scoffed at the notion Penn State has a culture problem, one where football is deified at Penn State. "It's a ridiculous argument, a frustrating argument," O'Brien said. "This is a fantastic culture." President Rodney Erickson and acting athletic director Dave Joyner were not available to comment.
  • O'Brien called Penn State a top-5 program.
  • Finally, on the football end of things, quarterback is O'Brien's biggest concern this offseason. Record-setting quarterback Matt McGloin is out of eligibility, leaving sophomore Steven Bench and incoming junior college-transfer Tyler Ferguson to compete in the spring. Top-flight recruit Christian Hackenberg is expected to sign with Penn State next month and enroll in the summer.

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Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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