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Inspired O'Brien, new-look Penn State point toward the future as bowl season kicks into gear

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Penn State fotball Coach Bill O'Brien watches Wyomissing play Aliquippa in the PIAA Class AA high school football championship game, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Hershey, Pa. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)The Associated Press

Given the unprecedented circumstances at Penn State, this year's 8-4 record can be considered a resounding success.

Of course, every coach and player wants to win as many games as possible. Coach Bill O'Brien says the new era of Penn State football is off to good start, though he wishes he had could do over a few plays.

It's been almost a year since O'Brien took over as Nittany Lions coach on Jan. 7.

Record aside, O'Brien said in a phone interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that his team's style of play this year was a blueprint for the future. The Nittany Lions' blue-collar strategy inspired fans.

He acknowledges that there will still be challenges, especially after NCAA-mandated scholarship cuts take effect starting next year. The Nittany Lions will not play in a bowl.