Bill O'Brien knows he has some talented young players to build the Penn State program around, but even he has to stop himself from looking too far into the future because he knows nothing is guaranteed beyond this season.
During his weekly radio show Thursday night, O'Brien talked about two true freshmen, linebacker Nyeem Wartman and cornerback Da'Quan Davis, and said they have bright futures at Penn State.
The coach, without being asked or prompted, abruptly switched course to remind everyone that all the Nittany Lion underclassmen will be free agents once again at season's end because of the NCAA transfer rules.
"Another reality of this is that these guys, after the season, might get recruited again," O'Brien said. "But these kids -- this is a great freshman class -- and I hope people support them and understand they have really bright futures."
The question, once December rolls around, will be whether those futures will be at Penn State, or if a large number of players will decide to transfer.
Host Steve Jones asked O'Brien if the concerns about players potentially leaving plays a role in any potential redshirt decisions.
"I think the No. 1 thing we try to do as a staff is try to take care of the now," O'Brien said. "Do what's best for the football team right now. And we've done that all the way through, regardless of the sanctions or not. ... Sometimes it's best for that player to be thrown in the fire early. Some other guys maybe are not quite ready but have great futures for us."
O'Brien seems to be aware that his defensive coordinator and good friend, Ted Roof, has been drawing a lot of criticism after Ohio gained 499 yards on PSU.
"I have a ton of confidence in Ted," O'Brien said. "Let's remember now that Ted won a national championship at Auburn."