Charlie Fisher was just four years out of high school when he got his first chance at coaching football. The Warrior Run graduate was given the reigns to the Hughesville Spartans offense in 1981 and started running a shotgun offense, which at the time wasn't exactly the most popular thing to do.
Fisher laughed about that, but knew being able to be creative back then allowed him to become the coach he is today.
The new Penn State quarterbacks coach talked football and Penn State to a small Williamsport Nittany Lion Booster Club crowd on Thursday evening at the DuBoistown VFW.
This is Fisher's first year with the Nittany Lions, as he joined Bill O'Brien's staff this past winter. Last year, Nittany Lions fans saw a quarterback shuffle all season as both Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin rotated under center for majority of the season, frustrating fans who wanted to see just one quarterback start all season.
Fisher gave Nittany Lions fans a glimpse of what could be done with the quarterbacks during the Penn State Blue-White scrimmage last month. Paul Jones went 6 for 15 for 113 yards and a score while McGloin was 6 for 13 with 105 yards and a touchdown, both throwing an interception. Bolden had just 78 yards and three picks.
While it's still early, Fisher said he isn't 100 percent sure which one of the three quarterbacks will start the Sept. 1 season opener vs. Ohio, but did hint that he thinks McGloin has a slight edge.
What Fisher does know though is that a young quarterback can easily get flustered out on the field with just one or two simple mistakes, which fans saw happen to both Bolden and McGloin last year. The Warrior Run alum's job is to help develop those young quarterbacks into elite players who can eventually go on and play in the National Football League.
"It's not 10 plus 1, you're one of 11. I tell them that all the time," Fisher said. "It's important that you understand it's not about you, it's about those guys with you. You can't drill that in their head enough because many times young quarterbacks try to make every play and if something goes wrong, the body language affects how they play."
Since he had a chance to run an offense at Hughesville in 1981, Fisher's held numerous different positions including being a quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator, head coach, passing game coordinator and running backs coach.
Fisher started out as a graduate assistant coach at Ole Miss during the 1983-84 seasons before he became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Lenoir-Rhyne from 1985-1991. Fisher then left there to become a head coach at West Georgia from 1991-1998. He later became the receivers coach at North Carolina State in 1998-99 before becoming an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Temple from 2000-02.
Fisher may be most known for being a co-pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Vanderbilt between 2002 and 2010. While there, Fisher coached both wide receiver Earl Bennett and quarterback Jay Cutler, both of whom play with the Chicago Bears.
While Fisher's done a lot and has seen a lot of talented athletes come and go, what Fisher most remembers is the relationships he developed with players.
"I was a head coach at a young age and loved that. I tell people, anybody that's done this for a living desires the chance to run their own program and I was at a young age and left there to go to North Carolina State, but anytime in the coaching profession, it's more about the players and to me, the neat part about coaching is the interactions with the players," Fisher said.
"No matter what your title is, it's being with those guys, seeing them develop, having relationships with those guys. All those good things. That's really at the essence what coaching is. Sometimes it scares me that's what has been lost in our profession is that we don't understand that you got to see the bigger picture."
With O'Brien now coaching Penn State, there's been changes on both the coaching staff itself and the game plan. O'Brien brings NFL experience with him, having been with the New England Patriots from 2007 to last year, but he's one of just many coaches on-board with past experience and Fisher's glad he gets to join the team.
"Anytime you've got a head coach like that (who's passionate), the guys always follow suit. We got a veteran staff. We don't have a bunch of guys that really just started doing this," Fisher said. "We've got a lot of veterans and it's been great. We all know our role, we know what's expected and Coach O'Brien expects you to work as hard as he does and do the right thing. We've been doing that. It's really come together nice and it's been exciting to see that."
HOMECOMING?KICK?SET:?Penn State's Homecoming game with Northwestern is set for a noon kick on Oct. 6 in Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lions' third announced start time for the 2012 season.
The Big Ten Network, ESPN or ESPN2 will televise the game with an announcement on the televising network likely 12 days before the game.