Many shocked Penn State has rebounded from trauma

COLUMBUS, Ohio - What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...

BUCKEYES BUZZ: No one has ever had to do a job like Bill O'Brien's.

The Penn State coach only had to take over for the winningest major-college coach, and do it under duress in perhaps the ugliest scandal to ever stain college football.

Yet the Nittany Lions -- despite all the bad ink, the difficult recruiting, the bowl ban, the scholarship limitations and a $60 million fine to the NCAA -- have persevered. O'Brien is 12-6 as head coach since taking over the program.

It's hard to imagine now that there was a lot of criticism over the hiring of O'Brien, an NFL assistant coach with little or no ties to the university.

Ohio State's Urban Meyer was asked what it must have been like for O'Brien.

"I hate to do that because I wasn't there. And I don't want to speculate," Meyer said. "I would say I've had some dealings with coach O'Brien over the last year and a half. I think he's a first-class guy. He represents a great school. I do know a lot about Penn State and it doesn't surprise me that Penn State is doing well."

Some experts said Penn State wouldn't win a game, not just the first year after Joe Paterno's death and the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but for years to come because of the trauma inflicted on the school, its alumni and students.

"A lot of people are surprised," Meyer said of the Nittany Lions' success the past 18 months under O'Brien. "I'm not surprised. They've got a quality coach and it's a very quality school. And it has overcome a lot of adversity."

HEISMAN HOUSE: Since Saturday's game doesn't start until 8 p.m., fans can put off going to the Varsity Club and head over to the parking lot of St. John Arena to immerse themselves in Heisman Trophy history.

Former Ohio State great Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman winner, will appear from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Heisman House Tour.

He'll do an interview with ESPN anchor Neil Everett at 2:30 p.m., then will sign autographs for an hour. Fans also can take pictures with the Heisman.

Craig Krenzel, QB of the 2002 national championship Buckeyes, also will be on hand.

QUICK STUDY: One of the top players on Ohio State's defense these days is also one of the newest.

Joey Bosa, a prized recruit out of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Thomas Aquinas HS, has locked down one of the DE spots for the Buckeyes.

The 6-foot-6, 275-pounder had his biggest game with two sacks at Northwestern. In Saturday's 34-24 win over Iowa, he had two assists.

Learning on the job apparently suits him.

"He's physically more advanced from where a lot of kids coming out of high school would be the first year," DL coach Mike Vrabel said. "His core strength, his balance -- those type of things stand out to me. And he's going to continue to work. He's going to continue to work his technique, but physically he's able to play at this level because of his natural strength, his natural core strength, and he's got great balance."

Meyer this week said his preference would be to never start a true freshman QB. But he said it's a different situation at other, non-skilled positions.

"Joey Bosa -- I don't want to say that's unparalleled, that's probably too drastic, but it's very uncommon to have a true freshman come in and start on the defensive line," Meyer said. "I don't know if I've ever really seen that unless it's just pure need. But he did it because he's playing very well and became a starter there."
 

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