Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bill O'Brien begins to tackle questions about future Penn State transfers

As Penn State's season winds down, questions about which players will transfer -- with no penalty, as per the NCAA's sanctions -- will become more common.

Bill O'Brien begins to tackle questions about future Penn State transfers

Penn State football coach Bill O´Brien. (Seth Perlman/AP)
Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien. (Seth Perlman/AP)

They call themselves the 'Supa Six,' and you've probably already heard of them. 

Most college football fans, players and coaches across the country probably have, too -- and therein lies the problem. 

Penn State sophomores Allen Robinson, Bill Belton, Adrian Amos, Kyle Carter, Donovan Smith and Deion Barnes are close friends who share the same ambition, a Twitter handle (@TheeSupa6) and a role in the Nittany Lions' future. 

Robinson is the star wide receiver; Belton the running back with untapped potential; Amos is the do-everything defensive back; Carter is the breakout star tight end; Smith is a rock-steady offensive lineman; Barnes is the defensive tackle already showing NFL promise. 

More coverage
 
Temple takes Broad Street Line to game
 
Latest college sports videos
 
Buy college apparel and college gear

The super-talented Supa Six could be the centerpiece to hold Penn State through the next few seasons, as the NCAA sanctions begin to ripple throughout the program. If they stay, they develop in Bill O'Brien's system and become even better football players.

If one leaves, do they all leave? And then what happens? 

As Penn State's season winds down, questions about which players will transfer -- with no penalty, as per the NCAA's sanctions -- will become more common. On Tuesday, before the Lions' final two game homestand, O'Brien was asked about the topic. It likely won't be the last time. 

"The group that calls themselves the Supa Six, have you heard of them?" a reporter asked the coach. 

O'Brien chuckled and smiled slightly. "Oh yeah," he said. 

"Are you worried they might make a move in the offseason because they are so young and talented?" the reporter asked. 

And so began what might be O'Brien's stock answer for the next few weeks. 

"Do you know what I worry about? I worry about my son, I worry about my kids, I worry about my family," O'Brien said. "I don't worry about things that are out of our control." 

It's the prerogative of each player to make a decision on his future. At separate times this season, each member has vowed their commitment to the program. But in the offseason -- a free-agency, of sorts -- anything can happen. 

Even still, on Tuesday O'Brien seemed optimistic about keeping the group in tact. 

"I will tell you this about that group of players; they have great camaraderie," O'Brien said. "I think they love playing for Penn State. I believe they understand the value of the education here at Penn State...they know that their talents will be showcased here to play and with good schemes on both sides of the ball. I think those guys are committed to Penn State. But you would have to ask them." 

Indeed, they will be asked. The answer might not come until next preseason.

About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 20 years, covering college sports, golf and the Penn Relays.

Joining Joe this season will be John Stuetz, an intern for The Inquirer and senior at Penn State majoring in print journalism and marketing. This is John's third season covering the Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A native of Glenside, Montgomery County, John graduated from Cheltenham High School.

For Joe, this will be his fifth season on the paper's Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976 to 1984.

Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected