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Bill O’Brien enters second year as Penn State football coach

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(State College) — Penn State is getting ready to kick off its 2013 football season.

There are fewer distractions surrounding the team entering the second season of the Bill O’Brien era. The fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case — including the sting of unprecedented NCAA sanctions — seemed to overshadow the Nittany Lions’ training camp last year.

This year, the squad is concentrating on getting ready to play Syracuse August 31st at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Coach Bill O’Brien says he has a focused group.

“That’s no different this year than it was last year,” O’Brien explained at Penn State Media Day. “These guys are focused and attentive in meetings. When they go out on the practice field they’re practicing hard, they’re having some fun, and I feel like we’re focused.”

In the wake of the NCAA sanctions, Penn State players had been allowed to transfer to another school without sitting out a year of football. The transfer rule expired earlier this month, but O’Brien has downplayed the milestone.

College football fans will be getting a behind-the-scenes look at Penn State’s training camp when ESPN unveils a one hour All-Access special on August 20th.

“I think it’s really important during this time period that the people of Penn State, the Penn Staters and all the fans of Penn State see the kinds of kids we have,” O’Brien says. “We have fantastic guys and I think the ESPN crews have really seen that.”

O’Brien says he believes the exposure will be great for the players, the program and the university. The video cameras have been rolling since Penn State began its pre-season training camp on August 5th.

The team finished O’Brien’s first year at the helm with an 8 – 4 record.

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