Dieffenbach reflects on football season at PSU
When the NCAA handed down the sanctions against Penn State, Fox Chapel graduate Miles Dieffenbach, a starter on the Penn State offensive line, admits he thought about transferring.
But he didn't dwell on it for long.
“I'd be lying if I said I didn't give it some consideration,” he said. “But after about two hours, I decided that I wasn't going anywhere.
“I wanted to stay here with my friends and teammates. It's not just about football at Happy Valley. It's a great place to be and a great place to get an education.”
Despite grim prognostications from college football gurus, Dieffenbach and his teammates were confident that Penn State football would not suffer a dramatic downturn.
“We heard all the predictions and we kind of kept it in our back pocket,” he said. “We went into every game with a chip on our shoulder and we wanted to prove them all wrong.
“Even after we started out with two losses, we remained confident. We believed in ourselves and so did the coaches.”
Dieffenbach gave the new coaching staff credit for the success.
“Coach (Bill) O'Brien and his staff have been amazing,” he said. “They're the best I've ever been around and it's an honor to play for them.”
The staff, he said, kept the players focused on winning.
“They told us that the players that decide to stay will be expected to uphold the tradition and we did that. We had a good year and we had strong leadership,” Dieffenbach said.
“Things went well and the future of Penn State football is bright with Coach O'Brien here. He's a great leader and a great coach.”
Dieffenbach, after a tough adjustment to a new offense, loves the Nittany Lion playbook.
“It was hard at first learning the New England playbook but we've all learned to love it,” he said. “We have so many options now as compared to the past. Our opponents don't know what's coming.”
He admits the bowl game ban has been tough.
“We just have to accept it,” Dieffenbach said. “It wasn't in our hands. Going somewhere warm for a bowl is a nice reward, but we realize that we won't be going.
“On a positive note, there are worse things than getting to spend the holidays with your family.”
Dieffenbach is looking forward to next season and already knows what he'll be concentrating on in the off-season.
“I want to get as strong as I can,” he said. “The Big Ten schedule is a grueling challenge every week and it will be to my benefit to work on my strength.”
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.