New Offense Catching On

Wideout Justin Brown likes what he has seen of Penn State's offensive attack under first-year head coach Bill O'Brien.

Count wide receiver Justin Brown among those who are excited to see just how things will shake out with the offense Penn State will run under new head coach Bill O'Brien.

“It's kind of like we're all freshmen again,” Brown said during a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, “because everything's new.”

New, and different. And potentially better.

Brown, a senior, said the playbook used under the previous regime was “kind of simple.”

“This one's a lot more creative,” he said.

O'Brien gained some measure of renown as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, though he himself has pointed out that perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Tom Brady made him look good on any number of occasions. But it is also true that O'Brien instituted his share of wrinkles, notably with his creative use of tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Brown, the team's top returning receiver with 35 catches a year ago, wasn't so sure how tight end-oriented the Nittany Lions might be.

“As long as it works, we can be whatever oriented,” he said.

Brown said he first got a look at the new playbook a week before spring practice began, and that everyone has been forced to spend “countless” hours learning the new offense's nuances.

“It's exciting, because there are a lot of different things we can do off it,” he said. “We'll have to put in the work, but at the end of the day it's going to benefit everybody, so it's going to be good.”

He noted too that the process is ongoing, one that will continue throughout the summer, as well as during preseason camp.

“Everybody,” he said, “is getting it down pretty fine by now.”

Brown, who has 73 career catches to date, is the most likely candidate to replace the departed Derek Moye as the Lions' No. 1 receiver, and said he is trying to become one of the offensive leaders. If that means being more vocal at times, so be it. If that means leading by example, he's up for that, too.

And Moye, he said, was a good example for everyone else.

“I wouldn't call it pressure,” he said, when asked about supplanting Moye. What he did say is that he feels “comfortable” filling those shoes.

He can only hope that he will be just as comfortable in the new offense.

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