As fans gather around Beaver Stadium in anticipation of Saturday's long-awaited season opener, the overall mood around Penn State football is that of pride, perseverance and support - for both the current and former coach.
Hours before the official beginning of the Bill O'Brien era, tailgaters are tossing footballs through the parking lots, setting up their cooking stations and readying themselves for the new Nittany Lions' debut against Ohio at noon. Many are wearing ''We Bill-ieve'' shirts, endorsing Penn State's new leader, O'Brien, who is the former offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, and who has the been a steadying force within the program for nine months.
When the team arrived at the stadium, O'Brien was the first person to deboard off bus No. 1, followed by his game captains Derek Day, Jordan Hill, Gerald Hodges and Matt McGloin.
Though the statue of Hall of Famer Joe Paterno - O'Brien's predecessor - was rem...