Countdown to Blue-White / 20 Days: Team Focused on Football, not Transfers
This is the fourteenth in a 33-day series about the Penn State football program leading up to the Blue-White Game on April 20. We've put together a team of football writers who will examine a variety of topics and answer key questions about Bill O’Brien’s team. Click here for past installments in the series.
It's the elephant in the room. Every fan's concern. The unspoken fear in the back of Bill O'Brien's mind. The fear that a domino could fall and key players will take advantage of the NCAA sanction allowing for any Nittany Lion to transfer without penalty up until the start of training camp this summer.
But unlike last season the fear in the back of Bill O'Brien's mind if mostly a formality. His players know him, he knows his players, and most importantly at least one of the biggest names on O'Brien's roster is happy where he is.
"I'm definitely here." Receiver Allen Robinson said last month. "I'm here to play with Coach (Bill) O'Brien and be a part of this organization."
With Robinson in the fold it could go a long way towards keeping the roster intact heading into the summer. When watching the team practice, you get the impression there is nothing but football on the minds of the Nittany Lions. Robinson's statement might have been an attempt to quell speculation. Intense drills, positive energy, and a team focused on football, are the dominant sights and sounds around the Lasch Building.
"It was a tough transition for us first," Linebacker Glenn Carson said. "But I think this year the whole team is really comfortable – a lot less distractions this year."
For O'Brien his own display of loyalty helped solidify the team's focus heading in to spring training. O'Brien's straightforward honesty is a welcome sight in college athletics, and a much-appreciated attribute in the locker room.
"Coach O’Brien had a meeting with us," defensive back Malcolm Willis said. "He told us that he was committed to us. That meant a lot to the older guys here and even the younger guys. Once he made that commitment, we were all on the same train."
The Nittany Lions will undoubtedly lose at least one player by the time summer rolls around. College football rosters are too fluid for nothing to change. But as the transfer window slowly closes and summer approaches, O'Brien is likely more focused on his quarterback battle than any possible player defections.
Day 25: What Will Allen Robinson Do as an Encore?
Day 24: One Team Autograph Session a New Change to Blue-White Weekend
Day 23: Bill O'Brien is No Longer the New Kid on the Big Ten Block
Day 22: Five Under the Radar Players to Step up in 2013
Day 21: Glenn Carson is Ready to Shine