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SWOLL. Fall of the machines: PSU players excited about using free weights in new strength program -

We're doing a lot of bar exercises and free weights and things like that, a lot of squats, a lot of dead lifts," McGloin added. "It's new and it's different, and we're happy about it."

Running back Silas Redd said the team is going through the transition phase right now with the new program, which he called "intense."

"We're all excited because the weights [themselves] and the exercises we're doing are a lot more exciting, as well, and we just get amped up and it gets rowdy in there," Redd said.

"We played music before, so I don't think that's it," Redd said of the atmosphere. "There's something about power cleaning and squatting that gets a guy amped up."

BOB DON'T CURRR. Somehow, Bill O’Brien is more interested in the Super Bowl than Penn State recruiting | Dr. Saturday

Most college coaches will spend tonight pacing in their bedrooms, race to the office at 5 a.m. and spend most of the day Wednesday hunched obsessively over a fax machine, watching as the fruits and disappointments of years of hard work roll in. At Penn State, the new head coach will get to the recruiting stuff when he gets to it. Then again, none of Bill O'Brien's peers is calling plays in the Super Bowl in a few days


Nothing about this transition is usual, or even precedented. And given the option of preparing for a Super Bowl with your Hall-of-Fame quarterback on one hand, or presiding over a fax machine spitting out the signatures of anonymous kids you've barely had time to meet on the other, well, maybe it puts the whole "signing day" thing in a little perspective.

There's been a lot of HURRR BOB DOESN'T CARE ABOUT RECRUITING AMIRITE? floating around this week. Most of it fails to recognize that Penn State was scrambling to fill this class when O'Brien was hired January 5. PSU had nine or ten scholarships to fill at that point, and had essentially only performed the most rudimentary of recruiting functions since Joe Paterno was fired in early November. And let's face it, the previous coaching staff wasn't exactly reeling in players during the season. There were no commits between Malik Golden (August 24) and Jamil Pollard (December 29).

Bill O'Brien wasn't handed a simple turd sandwich. It was more of a multi-layered turd club sandwich.

Since taking over, he and his coaching staff were able to sign Jordan Lucas, Akeel Lynch, DaQuan Davis, Trevor Williams, Jonathan Warner, Steven Bench, Wendy Laurent, and Evan Schwan. That's pretty good, considering the challenges involved. In the process, they took players from West Virginia (Davis and Williams) and Boston College. They landed a sorely needed running back, and replaced a waffling quarterback commit with one who is just as highly regarded and is enthusiastic about playing at Penn State.

Basically, let's see what BOB and the Bobettes are able to accomplish with a full year to put together a recruiting class. In the meantime, be happy with what Penn State got, because it actually could've been much worse.

BOB talks to the BTN about the class. If you want to see PSU's assistant coaches discuss the class, here's your video. If you'd like me to save you time, fine. Good class. Exciting class. Very athletic. Looking forward to working with them. You know, I really don't know their names. Do I get my own bathroom key, or do I have to keep asking BOB to use the one attached to the 2008 Alamo Bowl trophy?

SHAVE THOSE SIDEBURNS, MATTINGLY. The Montgomery Burns grooming policies of the Paterno era have been relaxed, and other changes are underway as well.

Still, the staff has made some changes. First, O'Brien said, he is installing a new player grading and evaluation system, and all positions are open.

Hixon added that what happened personnel-wise last year, particularly on offense, no longer matters, because "it's going to be a whole new offense." As for players with disciplinary issues, Hixon said, "the doghouse is empty, unless you aren't going to class or doing what you're supposed to do." O'Brien added that he's "not aware at this time" of any players planning to transfer.

O'Brien has relaxed rules regarding facial hair (many players are letting their beards grow) and the wearing of hats inside the Lasch Football Building. Paterno forbade the latter practice. O'Brien allows it, as linebacker Mike Mauti said, partly because "he doesn't have any hair, so he wears a hat."

"It's one more thing where we can say, 'Hey, we can focus on what we're doing and not something else that will distract us from what we're doing,'" Mauti added.

Which, okay. Great. This isn't the military, after all. It's also nice to see this:

The head coach also has been calling players for quick conversations, sometimes to their surprise.

"I was walking across campus, and my phone rang," Hill said. "I looked at the number, didn't know who it was, but I picked it up, and it was coach O'Brien. He was just checking in. I'm glad I got a chance to talk to him. A lot of guys have been missing his calls, because they don't recognize the number."

One more sign of change — and of stability at the same time — are the two new signs hanging from a door at the Lasch Building. Players see them when they enter and leave.

The first says, "WHEN YOU COME HERE," then lists four responsibilities:

1. Know Your Role/Do Your Job

2. Word Hard

3. Be Attentive

4. Always Put the Team First

The second, "WHEN YOU LEAVE HERE," reminds players to do the following:

1. Prioritize Academics and Community Involvement

2. Manage Expectations

3. Don't Believe or Fuel the Hype

4. Speak for Yourself

5. Ignore the Noise

BIELOLMA. Let's face it, if there's one guy in the Big Ten who knows ethics and sportsmanship, it's Bret Bielema. He knows that there's a specific time, place, and protocol for hanging 83 points on a hapless Indiana team. Also, Bret's a guy who would never steal a recruit from another Big Ten school (except, he does, often) and would never bend the rules of play to his advantage.

So when the Moral Compass of Madison complains about Urban Meyer's recruiting practice, well, yeah:

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema unveiled a 12-player recruiting class Wednesday and was asked whether he had noticed any changes in recruiting in a Big Ten with new coach Urban Meyer now in charge at Ohio State.

Turns out, the answer is yes.

"There's a few things that happened early on I made people be aware of that I didn't want to see in this league that I had seen take place at other leagues," Bielema said. "Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal. I was very up front and was very poignant to the fact. I actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him and the situation got rectified."

Two schools of thought here. One, Bielema is a crybaby and a sore loser, the worst kind of bully who acts tough when putting up 83 points on a hapless Indiana team, but curls up in the fetal position when Urban Meyer does what Urban Meyer does. Two, as OctaShields posited via Twitter, Bielema has a legitimate gripe about something that Meyer did in stealing offensive lineman Kyle Dodson away from Wisconsin on NSD.

Also lodging complaints about Meyer's tactics were Mark Dantonio and Pat Narduzzi of Michigan State. Silent to this point, the most-aggrieved of all, Penn State. And look, this is what Urban Meyer does. Anyone who thought he was going to come into the conference and play nice is a damned fool. If there's time left on the recruiting clock, Meyer is coming after your recruits. Either Fight Meyer With Meyer, band together to negatively recruit against him (the #TeamCollusion theory), or shut up and take it.

ERRATA. Kevin Newsome is off to Temple, and good luck to him. The Super Bowl either means something or nothing to college recruiting.