Penn State's football team is not focusing on the sanctions handed down by the NCAA on Monday and will look to field a competitive team in 2012, new head coach Bill O'Brien told Bonnie Bernstein in an interview Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show.
"We’ve already put plans in place on how we’re going to play by these rules," O'Brien said. "We’re moving forward and we’re not settling for anything other than we’re going to be the best team we can be."
O'Brien wouldn't comment on rumors of teams contacting specific players on his team regarding transfers, including reports that USC had reached out to running back Silas Redd.
But he did say that the transfer rule was the toughest sanction to deal with going forward. (He then backtracked some on his statement).
"Right now my main goal is to keep this 2012 team together," he said.
O'Brien was asked who he had reached out to for advice. Bernstein mentioned that the first name to come to many people's minds was USC coach Lane Kiffin, who had just finished his team's bowl ban with the Trojans poised to compete for a national title.
"It’s hard to seek advice from other coaches in college because a lot of those guys are obviously interested in our players," O'Brien said. Instead, he said he has sought advice from his wife, father, and other coaches he has worked with in the past, including New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. He also said he has received over 150 emails and text messages that were "extremely positive."
The best piece of advice he has heard in the aftermath of the punishment?
"You can’t dwell on the past, and you’ve got to move forward…We’re not dwelling on the past," O'Brien said.
O'Brien had been the Patriots offensive coordinator before taking the Penn State job. When O'Brien took the job, many anticipated the program could be sanctioned. But the severity of the punishments levied by the NCAA was unforeseen at the time. Nonetheless, O'Brien said he plans to be the Nittany Lions' coach into the future. "I’m committed to this football team," O'Brien said. "I feel very proud to be associated with this university. I’m proud to be leading this football team."