Some random thoughts while awaiting the introduction of Bill O'Brien:
n Allowing 150 years of service by the assistant coaches to not be able to leave the program in dignity - and thus have to clean out their offices and exit the Lasch Building before TV cameras - is among the biggest disservices done in this prolonged search. They all deserved better, and Penn State's administration ought to be embarrassed. Turning down a bowl bid, one many of the players didn't want anyway and played like it, would have given Joe Paterno's right-hand men appropriate consideration.
n Dave Joyner, an All-American on and off the field, had the perfect image as a player.
n Some of PSU's former players are outraged by O'Brien's hiring while many of the current Nittany Lions were disappointed they were not kept in the information loop as the search dragged out, no doubt in part because current NFL coaches were involved. The reality is to preserve the integrity of a search, it must be confidential. Say, for example, Penn State did talk to Nick Saban. Is it supposed to admit that in an email to thousands of its lettermen? Is it supposed to Tweet every time it has a phone conversation with an attractive candidate?
n For all the intense next-coach speculation since Nov. 9 - and really well before Joe Paterno was fired - it's fairly amazing that the first reference to the eventual choice came on Jan. 1 or just five days before the decision.
n Brandon Short and LaVar Arrington are leading a verbal revolt against the program (please see related story.) If the decorated duo would have shown this kind of leadership as upperclassmen, the Nittany Lions wouldn't have surrendered 90 points in the final three games of the 1999 season.
n Penn State should be thankful it hasn't had to go through football searches too often, and while O'Brien is not the grand-slam name of Saban, Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy or Bill Cowher, you can be sure Skyler Mornhinweg and other quarterback prospects will have an open mind.
n If O'Brien yelled at Tom Brady, imagine how he'll handle Rob Bolden - if, that is, Bolden even returns to the team.
n This amazing rush of coverage ought to give O'Brien a gauge of the passion that exists for Penn State football - and there's a lot more interest to tap given that Paterno rarely did any live TV and radio interviews, even with national outlets.
n These bye weeks (Penn State's on Nov. 5, when the Sandusky charges broke and the Pats' open date before the playoffs begin) have certainly been maximized.
n The folks who wanted a hire with Penn State ties - and I'm one of them - must understand there weren't that many former Paterno assistants and ex-players coaching elsewhere. Two of the most attractive, Mike Munchak and Al Golden, had only been with their current teams for one year.
n Based on the response to Paterno's firing, it's not surprising that the decision to hire O'Brien was made before the students returned to campus. I'm curious whether Penn State will do a better job with security when it welcomes O'Brien, given that the Board of Trustees' press conference included taunts from non-credentialed media.
n Lost in the shuffle Thursday night was the basketball team's win over Purdue - the Nits' best victory this year in football or basketball.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.