Penn State Media Day News and Notes: Bill O’Brien, Paul Jones, Defense, Jerseys and More

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The changing of the Penn State jerseys has generated a tremendous amount of interest and discussion – especially in the social media world.

For those who have been under a rock for the last month, Penn State announced that it is adding a blue ribbon to its jersey to support the end of child abuse. In addition, the Nittany Lions will also have their names on the back of their jerseys.

Given everything that has happened, I doubt there will be a large outcry about the ribbon. It’s a small gesture – but one that Penn State needs to make.

The name on the back of the jersey, however, is another matter.

There has been a ton of reaction – much of it negative.

Michael Zordich, though, made a passionate plea that it really shouldn’t be something to argue against.

Zordich talked about the reasons that coach Bill O’Brien made the decision.

He said O’Brien wanted to recognize the players that are sticking it out, recognize the players that are honoring Penn State – both the football team and the school. The coach wanted this group of players to be both accountable and remembered for their actions.

“Who’s going to argue with that,” Zordich asked.

Good question.

Jones to definitely see time

O’Brien made it clear that quarterback Paul Jones, who is finally beyond his academic issues, will definitely play this year.

“Paul will play this year,” O’Brien said. “He’s a good player, he’s an instinctive guy, he’s a playmaker. He’ll definitely play this year.”

Don’t look for Jones’ playing time to come at any other positions either. He’s a quarterback and that’s all he’s been practicing.

Despite his lack of playing time and academic issues at Penn State, Jones said he was contacted by “at least 20 schools” about transferring after the NCAA sanctions came down.

“They called my high school coach and my parents,” he said.

Did he ever consider leaving Penn State?

“Maybe for an hour,” he said. “This is the place for me.”

Defense to look different

For all of those that have been screaming from the stands or in front of the television about the bend, don’t break style of defense that Penn State has employed over the years, be prepared for a treat.

Michael Mauti described the differences between Tom Bradley’s defense and Ted Roof’s defense as night and day.

“It’s a lot different,” Mauti said. “It’s not as vanilla. It’s definitely fun to play and it will be fun to watch.”

Lot’s of hair everywhere

Beards, mustaches, shoulder-length hair – it was all on display at Penn State’s media day.

Excessive hair has long been banned at Penn State but that isn’t the case under O’Brien’s new regime and several of the players are taking advantage of it.

Matt McGloin was sporting a new beard and was happy about it.

“It’s just something that’s fun,” he said. “Camp’s hard and this is just a way to have a little fun.”

Backup quarterback Shane McGregor, along with Mauti and Zordich had hair that was heading toward their shoulders.

Zordich said he hadn’t cut his hair since October and said he didn’t plan on cutting it anytime soon.

Marty Valania covers Penn State football for Follow him @EastRecruiting on Twitter.

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