Timeouts at college basketball games are generally occasions to catapult T-shirts into the crowd, look searchingly at cheerleaders and shout over the pep band's inevitable rendition of "Seven Nation Army."
But as the Penn State and Indiana hoops teams gathered in their respective huddles during a break in their game on Sunday, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation. The Nittany Lion's new football coach -- the man who will succeed Joe Paterno and, more significantly, handle broom-and-dustpan duties after the worst scandal in the history of college sports -- was introduced. Cradling his young son clad in a Nittany Lions jersey (nice touch!), Bill O'Brien walked onto the court, raised a hand and smiled sheepishly.
O'Brien stood just a few feet from Tom Crean, the Indiana coach, who was too busy trying to coax a win out of his team to notice much of the commotion. The two men didn't exchange a word. But when the situation calms down a bit, O'Brien would do well to give Crean a call and, as they say in coach-speak, "pick his brain" on the topic of repairing a badly damaged program. One suspects Crean's advice to O'Brien might go something like this: