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July 30, 2012
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor ( , The Herald-Star

I spent last week listening and reading not all, but a lot of comments from Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien.

For a guy whom most people really didn't want as the guy to replace Joe Paterno, I have come to be a fan of O'Brien. It's going to take a special coach to get the Nittany Lions through the next four years and, it appears than O'Brien is the man for the job.

He dishes out no excuses.

He wants to hear nothing about this and that.

He just wants to coach.

He said he made a commitment to the program and intends to follow through on that commitment.

Nothing about the next four years is going to be easy and it seems that is OK with O'Brien.

Since going to a bowl game is not an option, it would appear that Penn State can beef up its schedule with anybody and everybody - Alabama, Florida, USC, etc.

The Nittany Lions can take on all-comers and not be worried about what it will do to their record.

They, after all, really have nothing to lose.

And, that might be one of his recruiting tools.

They are not exiled from television and, since I am guessing some of those blue-chippers will not consider Happy Valley as a place of residence, O'Brien can also use that during recruiting.

In reality, Penn State is missing one game a year for four years - the bowl game.

True, the program also will not be allowed to play in the Big 10 championship game, but that is not guaranteed for any team in the conference.

Everything I have heard from O'Brien and read about O'Brien is that what's done is done and all he wants to do is lead this program through the dense forest and out the other side.

No excuses.

No whining.

No complaints.

Just play.

I like that a lot.

The last time I was a fanatic about any team was my youthful exuberance with the UCLA basketball team and coach John Wooden.

I loved when I was allowed to stay up late on Saturday night to watch the Bruins from Pauley Pavilion, or allowed to stay up late to watch them on tape delay from Oregon or Washington or Cal.

I am a fan of teams - Chargers, Padres, UCLA basketball, Notre Dame football and the Lakers, but do not bleed purple and gold, powder blue and white or want to jump off the Golden Dome when one of "my" teams lose.

I am not a "hater" of any teams - yes, Buckeyes fans, that means Ohio State, regardless of what you think.

It's a lot more fun to antagonize fans than hate teams.

Yes, I will continue to antagonize.

Congratulations to Ohio for its 33-14 win over West Virginia Sunday night in the 67th-annual Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Charity Football Classic at Wheeling Island Stadium.

It was good, old-fashioned smashmouth football in the third period for the Buckeyes, scoring 20 points to erase a 14-13 halftime deficit.

Buckeye Local graduate Josten Dear had 24 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown, while Cambridge graduate Dashaun Lewis went for 118 yards and three scores in a like number of carries.

Ohio's defense held the Mountaineers to 111 yards and five first downs, while its offense totaled 20 first downs and 357 yards, all but 44 of those on the ground.

Dear was named Ohio's MVP.

Just me, but would still like to see some of the introductions done before the game, especially the "old timers" and the 10-year reunions.

Still a great game to watch and it's great to be on both sidelines.

Being on the sidelines is a great place to watch football games and, really, it's the only place I like to cover a game.

I get to hear what coaches and players say and I get to see attitudes and body language.

You can tell a lot about a player when things are not going well. It is obvious the body language that reveals character because what players reveal on the sidelines is not the first time they have acted that way during adversity and won't be the last.

I saw that Sunday night.

I will see more of it come less than four weeks.

My father always told me the only difference between Little League parents and football parents was that football players wore helmets and couldn't hear their parents.

After what I heard come out of some mouths from people in the stands Sunday night at OVAC game, he was right on target with that.

People, really, just shut up and enjoy the game.

I am telling you, your sons would absolutely cringe if they heard what you said, out loud, for all the world to hear, during a game.

I understand it's not all fans, but, it's far too many of them.

Also, and I will say this again and again, keep your mouths shut and do not criticize other kids who play the game.

You see, the mother of the quarterback sure doesn't want to hear you criticize her son.

Cuz, I am guessing, you really wouldn't want to hear her blitz your son.

So, keep it zipped if you are not going to keep it positive.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at and can be followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike)

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