Share This Page

Farrell shined for Nittany Lions

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Penn State offensive tackle Mike Farrell #78 blocks Ohio safety Nathan Carpenter #35 during their game at Beaver Stadium in University Park on September 22, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Many naysayers were projecting a season of gloom and doom for the Penn State football team after the drastic NCAA sanctions were handed down last summer.

Former Shady Side Academy star Mike Farrell and his Nittany Lions teammates saw to it that there would be no dramatic collapse at Happy Valley.

Farrell, a senior offensive linemen, was confident that his final year at PSU would be a good one.

I believed we would have a good season and so did my teammates,” Farrell said. “Before the season started, we were watching ESPN and a lot of so-called experts were saying that we'd be lucky to win two or three games. We were blown away. We knew that wouldn't happen. Even after we started out 0-2, we knew we'd bounce back.”

The Nittany Lions did bounce back — to the tune of an 8-4 record.

Though there have been many memorable moments during Farrell's career at PSU, the events leading up to this season and the way that the team handled the adversity will remain foremost in Farrell's memories.

“Going to the Rose Bowl and winning the Big 10 when I was a freshman were great moments but everything else pales compared to what we endured and overcame this year,” Farrell said. “It was a different world for us.”

Farrell said the experience of his final game at Penn State will be hard to top.

“It was Senior Day and it was very emotional,” he said. “The way we won it typified what Penn State football is about. The five-game winning streak and the come-from-behind win against Northwestern made this season memorable in a positive way.”

When the PSU players were given the option to transfer by the NCAA, it fell on deaf ears in Farrell's case.

“At no point was I even remotely interested in transferring,” he said. “Most of the other seniors felt the same way.

“We decided that we would be remembered as the players that kept the program together. Coach (Bill) O'Brien was instrumental in keeping everything together. He kept us focused.”

Along with dealing with the NCAA smackdown, Farrell and his teammates had to adjust to a new coaching staff.

“The biggest difference between coach (Joe) Paterno and coach O'Brien was obviously the difference in age,” Farrell said. “Coach O'Brien was much more hands-on. He has a lot of energy and he is very motivational. That filtered down to the team.”

Farrell said O'Brien knew he was walking into a tough situation and he had a great plan in place.

“What he and his staff accomplished was unbelievable,” Farrell said. “Even with the recruiting sanctions, he'll keep PSU football at the high level that everybody is used to. He's out recruiting now and what those potential recruits will see is a down-to-earth guy who is easy to talk to.”

Farrell, who majored in secondary education, will be graduating at the end of the month. He would not mind getting a shot at professional football before he embarks on his life career.

“I think I've gotten noticed this year,” he said. “I started every game and I made honorable mention on the All Big 10 team. I will keep training in case I get a call for pro tryouts.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.