3-point stance: O'Brien's character move

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
5:00
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1. Bill O’Brien owed it to himself and his family to listen to the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Bill O’Brien who pulled Penn State football out of the ditch this year and drove the Nittany Lions to a memorable 8-4 season would never leave after one season. The coach who preached loyalty and commitment and convinced a fractured community to come together behind him decided Thursday he couldn’t leave. And you thought he couldn’t endear himself any more to Penn State.

2. Given everyone who is leaving Florida State -- defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, quarterbacks coach Dameyune Craig and two other assistants, All-ACC defensive end Bjoern Werner and All-ACC corner Xavier Rhodes -- the news that safety Lamarcus Joyner will return for his senior season should calm a lot of Seminoles nerves. At 5-foot-8, Joyner might not be made for the NFL combine. But he is the glue that holds the secondary together. Amid all the change, that’s more important than ever.

3. NFL scouts measure physical attributes. Writers can tell when a college star is ready for Sunday football when he conducts an interview with a glaze of boredom descending over his eyes. Even the friendliest, most thoughtful players reach their limit. I saw it last season with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, and again Thursday with Alabama center Barrett Jones, who would make anyone’s All-Decade Interview team. Then again, if I had to answer the Dynasty question as often as Jones has, I would go robotic, too.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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