"I can't be Joe Paterno. There was only one Joe," said O'Brien. "But I will do all I can to honor him and I can't tell you how proud I would be to die here in State College 43 years from now of complications from lung cancer. But, again, I'm not Joe. Maybe I'll die sooner."
O'Brien's wife stepped forward then to say that there are possibly other ways her husband could honor Paterno and that she hopes he doesn't die soon and maybe even outlives the legendary Penn State coach, but O'Brien cut her off. "No, honey. You don't know what you're saying. I'm a Penn Stater now."
Former Penn State players who were unhappy with Paterno's dismissal and the hiring of O'Brien say they felt the new coach struck the right chord with his comments.
"It's exactly what I wanted to hear," former Penn State running back Franco Harris said. "Bill O'Brien plans to die."
Many students alumni are now urging the school's Board of Trustees to get cancer.