Former Penn State coach on how Baylor should respond to its scandal

There might be no single better person to understand what the folks involved with Baylor football are going through right now, than former Penn State and current Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien.

O'Brien took over the Nittany Lions program following the firing of Joe Paterno, and just a few months prior to the school being put on massive NCAA sanctions, following the conviction of Jerry Sandusky of multiple child sexual abuse charges.

And as the Baylor fiasco continues to unfold --- with many wondering if the NCAA will hit the school with similar punishment as Penn State --- O'Brien was asked to weigh-in on the situation in Waco Tuesday. Here's what he told the Houston Chronicle:

"We didn't try to distance ourselves from child sexual abuse," O'Brien said. "I think, most importantly, in any situation that involves some things that are hard to talk about, you have to face it and think about the victims. The first thing you have to do – in addition to putting your staff together and connecting with your players – is to make sure people know there are things a lot more important than football.

From there, O'Brien continued and explained how that point was repeatedly hammered home.

"We went into the community and talked about it. We had a lot of meetings about how we'd handle it if it ever came up again. We had a blue ribbon game. Our players wore blue ribbons on their helmets to show our thoughts and feelings about victims of sexual abuse.

"To me, it's a big thing to say, 'This is football, but at the end of the day, we're talking about victims. We have to understand how to solve that problem before we get back to winning football games.'"

Then there's the football team itself. O'Brien shed some interesting light on how he kept the team together, even as the NCAA sanctions threatened to rip it apart.

"We came up with this idea within three days (of the sanctions)," O'Brien said. "Penn State has one of the largest lettermen associations in the country. We sent an invitation for them to come in on a Friday night for a pizza party with our team. I picked 10 different alums from different eras to speak to our team.

"The alums conveyed the message of – not just the football tradition – but the tradition of good people in that program. The combination of football and academics at Penn State. We wanted them to explain what being a Penn State football player meant. That was an amazing night. It helped our recruiting and it helped keep our team together. No one transferred after that night."

As Jim Grobe now gets set to take over the Baylor football program, he could do a lot worse than follow O'Brien's lead.