I feel like I've seen a post here or there about changes coming to PSU's football program, but that I don't have a real grasp on the pulse of what folks around here really think. Frankly, I was surprised by how hateful some of the comments in articles about the topic really were (I know, I should not be surprised by comment sections).
When I'm talking about change I don't really mean changes to the offense/defense because those were obviously going to happen and always happen when anyone from a staff cycles into a new role.
What I'm talking about are the seemingly "minor" rule changes and philosophies. Anyone who knows PSU is aware that we (generally) hold tradition in high regard. That tradition has usually involved a hard-working, clean-cut, well-spoken image for our players that tried to emphasize the student in student-athlete. That said, we also hold winning in high regard and some people have thought we could be doing a lot more of that if we were a little more relaxed, open, and (for lack of better words) fun/exciting.
I'd like BSD's thoughts...
Some articles focused on this.
My take is a mix of "Oh my God they are changing everything I love about PSU!!!1!!11!" and "Who cares as long as the big things don't change?"
A little story that I think relates. I went home to THON this last weekend and stayed at my fraternity. There were no less than 20 alums also staying who ranged in age from just graduated to mid-30's. We got to talking about why more people don't stay engaged in the house after college and a recent grad said, "I'll probably stop coming here once everyone in the house graduates that I went to school with... it has changed so much just since I've left." I certainly see what he is saying. The music has "changed", they hang out in different parts of the house, some of them would rather bar hop on a Friday than hang out with the rest of the house who can't go out, and facebook has made their parties grow in size to the point where I'm not really sure why they even bother hosting/paying for so many people they'll probably never see again (our parties were always very small and I could actually meet everyone there and remember them the next weekend). On the other hand, everything I loved about the house is still generally intact (e.g., shared interests with many, many, many people that make it easy to become fast friends).
And then I sat in a board meeting with some of the much older guys from the house (guys coming back who were class of '61 and such) who seem very much out of touch with the reality of the current college student. When they went, the college student was the cream of the crop in terms of having their crap together and (often) having wealthy parents. Accordingly, the rules were strict, the alumni very demanding, and the students were adjusted to that. Fast forward and apply those same rules to 2012 and we wouldn't have anyone in the house, but they always suggest implementing rules that simply won't work in the current culture.
I have noticed that certain rules that were around in my time just simply don't apply any longer. But I've also noticed that these students are doing more philanthropy (their THON total was, embarrassingly to me, at least 8x higher than what we raised 8 years earlier), are more heavily involved in on-campus clubs, seem to drink less (outside of parties), and are holding down higher GPA's than the house I was in did. So, do those strict rules matter? Do they, at this point, just keep out smart and motivated kids who would rather spend their time worrying about things that matter?
As long as the changes in football (and in my fraternity) don't tread on an emphasis on teamwork and school work, I don't really care at all about changes. I think it fits the reality of the current disposition of college-aged kids, and I think changing some of these little things might just land us a recruit/pledge or two that thought the rules were a bit draconian before but that still had the academics and team spirit that we value.
Let's be honest, PSU players had their fair share of issues with the authorities in the past, so it isn't like a focus on the "little things" led to players always behaving like saints.
I think/hope that BOB's relaxing of certain rules will allow him more time to focus on the big things that are really important to most PSU alums. And as long as he doesn't change those things, I think he really deserves a long leash on making this program his own.