Last night Penn State was featured on ESPN's Training Days, a look inside Bill O'Brien's second summer camp in preparation for the 2013 season.
It was awesome. I was glued to the TV for the entire hour. The show was highly anticipated because Penn State has never been involved in anything like this before. Joe Paterno was against any intrusions into his camps and I believe that it caused a disconnect between the fans and his teams.
Bill O'Brien is trying to re-create the program at Penn State and this was a huge step in that direction. The show aired on national TV on ESPN's flag ship station in primetime on a day where there were no other major sporting events or news. I haven't seen the official ratings for the show, but when your mother and your sisters are going out of their way to watch it you know it is going to preform well.
For those that are unfamiliar with the show it is very similar to HBO's Hard Knocks. It highlights individual personalities on the team and on the staff and focuses on the top story lines in camp. At Penn State the QB race between two freshman quarterbacks works very well with the format of the show. However, in an interesting twist you never actually hear from either Christian Hackenberg or Tyler Ferguson (at least directly) because O'Brien doesn't allow freshman to speak with the media. Instead, they include opinions from different members of the team and you get a unique perspective of how the QBs are progressing and the relationship they have with the team.
Besides the entertainment value to the viewer Penn State will reap massive recruiting benefits in the future. O'Brien obviously knew this and made sure to guide the direction of the show towards what it means to play for Penn State and the values that the programs upholds. Education and graduation are an enormous part of the show. John Urschel, the smartest man in college football, is a big focus and the players are frequently showed in the classroom. The passion of the coach will be the main selling point though. O'Brien simultaneously melts your heart with his love of his family and opens your eyes with his fury on the football field. For a high school recruit considering Penn State the interest in playing for O'Brien certainly increased last night.
Well done coach. Now just pick a quarterback please.
Gte at me on twitter @TheB1GtimePSU