Just remember, while Penn State's football program doesn't have a national reputation for drastic change, there are many examples throughout history that tell us change is good for Nittany Lion fans. The move from PSU Playbook to FightOnState.com won't be any different. Let's take a look at previous improvements in Penn State football history:
Pretty In Pink: As many of you know, Penn State's original colors were not the blue and white we have come to love throughout the last century. Before the Lions took the field for the first time, they needed to choose colors for their uniforms. Unanimously (and amazingly), the student body chose dark pink and black to represent their university. The colors were tremendously popular among the students, but the colors quickly faded to white and black. Three years later, the students settled on blue and white as the official colors and the Nittany Lions haven't looked back since. Today, when opposing fans harass you about Penn State's boring uniforms, just be grateful that we're not the Fighting Flamingos.
Cow Town, Here We Come: Younger fans might not realize that football games weren't always played on the eastern side of the campus. In fact, the original Beaver Field was located on the western side of Penn State, near Rec Hall. It opened in 1909 and eventually expanded to 30,000 seats. By 1959, the Lions needed a new home. Did Penn State build a new stadium? No way. The Beaver Field stadium was dismantled into 700 pieces and moved to the current Beaver Stadium location. Why? Many university historians think it was because of the need for additional seating and parking, but after spending 20 hours researching at Pattee Library, I discovered a much different motive.
Apparently, the stadium's namesake, the Honorable James A. Beaver, really liked the smell of fresh manure in the morning. As a tribute, University President Eric Walker had the stadium moved one mile eastward. I swear, it's all true. This season, as you exit your vehicles to prepare your tailgate feast, when you're suddenly overtaken by the lovely scent of cow chips, say a little silent "thank you" to Governor Beaver. Oh, and make sure you bring some nose plugs if the wind is blowing from the north or east. You'll thank me later.
Double Barrel Action: What list of Nittany Lion innovations would be complete without mentioning the shotgun formation? For years, quarterbacks were hopelessly attached to their centers in an awkward and arcane position that only led to broken fingers and uncomfortable questions from the players' girlfriends about the quarterback-center relationship. It was waaaaaaaaay back in 1999 when a spry Joe Paterno, recognizing the tension created by the "under center" positioning, said to Rashard Casey, "You know what? Stand behind the offensive line about three yards, let's see what happens!" The new formation allowed Penn State quarterbacks to get a better view of the field before the ball was snapped, and Nittany Lion fans were amazed that the coaching staff could think of such a great way to confuse defenses. Joe Paterno immediately named the formation the "Colt .45 Formation" until assistant coach and offensive coordinator Fran Ganter whispered to Paterno, "Uh, Joe? Let's call it the "shotgun" instead. It's less syllables. Oh, and it was invented 45 years ago."
Lion Item Veto: Perhaps the most overlooked people in a football program are the assistant coaches. They sift through hours of game film while trying to meet the needs of the head coach and the players at their particular position, not to mention their families. Recognizing the unrewarded dedication and hard work of his assistants, Joe Paterno decided to give them a reward unlike any other coach had given his assistants before. As a devoted student of Greek culture and democracy, Paterno understood the need for every individual to have a meaningful voice in the decision-making process.
Drawing upon the inspiration of contemporaries such as Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Plato, Paterno designed a play-calling system filled with intricate checks and balances. During the game, he allowed each position coach to give his input on every single offensive play, which quickly led to a smooth and efficient offensive scheme that befuddled defenses across the nation. Well, that was the original plan, at least. Unfortunately, the second part of the democratic play-calling plan - convincing the NCAA to completely eliminate the play clock - didn't quite happen. Don't worry, the NCAA will come around eventually. If nothing else, the NCAA is a fair-minded organization known for its common sense and progressive thinking.
Change is just a part of life, and as you can see, change has certainly been an integral part of the Penn State tradition. As we all settle into our new home here at FightOnState.com, try to remember the principles and values that set Penn Staters apart from fans of other schools. Keep it classy, always offer your fellow Nittany Lion a cold beverage, and do your best to represent Penn State no matter where you go. These are exciting times for Penn State football and FightOnState.com.
Let's make this the best college football fan site around.
Chris Grovich offers humorous views from the fans' perspective for FightOnState.com.