FOXBORO -- Last December, the first choice of many Penn Staters to save their embattled program was Mike Munchak. The former Nittany Lion said he was flattered by the interest. Reports at the time stated that Munchak wrestled with the decision but his decision to stay in Tennessee was firm. Wednesday, he spoke about the man who ultimately got the job, former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. "He stepped into a really very tough situation and from everything I heard and the people that are close to Penn State they think he's done a great job of holding them together in a very tough situation obviously," Munchak said on a conference call while getting his team prepared for the opener against the Patriots.
"I'm sure no one was aware of the sanctions and what was going to happen and how hard his job was actually going to become," he said. "It got worse probably than anyone expected I think from what I've heard."What's impressed Munchak -- andmost observers -- is the solidarity O'Brien's been able to foster.
"I talked to him initially when he first got the job, we talked a little bit on the phone, and I was excited for him, just knowing his background I thought he'd be a great fit as he has been for Penn State and what he could bring to the program going forward," Munchak explained. "I think you could see that from right here how the players have responded to him, and the alumni . . . a lot of the players I know that have been up there are very impressed with how he's handled a very, very tough situation. "I thought he did a nice job of holding the meetings and having the past letter men be part of stuff and he'd listen to what they had to say," Munchak added. "I think he handled a tough situation very well. Unfortunately we would have loved to see them win last weekend. Heck, they started off 14-3 I thought they were going to have a big day but there will be better days coming forward. We're all looking forward to Penn State making a big rebound and I'm sure he'll be a big part of that if that happens."