Helping rebuild Penn State's image is not a burden or hindrance to the school's football players, but rather a responsibility that they understand, accept and even relish.
"This has been a real tough fall for Penn State, and I feel like it's our obligation to try to represent the university as best we can to try to show just how great of a university Penn State is," senior offensive lineman John Urschel said Thursday on a teleconference.
College football season starts in eight days, and at that point the world once again will be looking at Penn State when it hosts Ohio at Beaver Stadium. But this time it will be for what it's always been about on fall Saturdays - football - and not because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The Nittany Lion players have been through this before - in November when the scandal first broke - and they fully grasp that doing something as simple as playing a football game can help people start to move forward in difficult times.
"In a lot of ways, people are going to turn to football," senior quarterback Matt McGloin said.
He went on to add that the players "have a chance to make history at Penn State" this season.
"We definitely have the opportunity to bring this great university back from the bottom," McGloin said. "And not only that, but we have a great opportunity to bring the community and Penn State Nation back together. So it's definitely going to be on our minds Sept. 1."
Senior running back Michael Zordich said he and his teammates know football has "a lot of power and influence." While he understands it can't heal everything, Zordich keenly pointed out one big example of a team helping its community cope with adversity.
"You look at New Orleans back right after [Hurricane] Katrina when they were just down and out, and a couple of years later the Saints win the Super Bowl and that city's been building ever since," Zordich said.
New head coach Bill O'Brien has been bringing in some motivational speakers to address the team during training camp. One of them was former Penn State player and Navy SEAL Rick Slater, whom the players said delivered some powerful messages.
"He just said, 'Everything's riding on this season. You've got the future of the program riding on it,'" Zordich recalled.
That would seem to be a large burden to place on the shoulders of 105 young men who had nothing to do with the scandal, yet have to deal with the consequences of the fallout.
But where one person sees burden, another sees opportunity.
"It's not a burden at all," Urschel said. "It's a gift, to be honest."
"We also know the power football has to bring people together," Zordich said. "It lifts spirits."
That's what Penn State's players expect to occur in their opener Sept. 1.
"It's going to be an exciting and very emotional day," McGloin said.