It’s become difficult to even remember another time for Penn State football, what it felt like anymore.
But go back just one year. To last summer.
Things really weren’t completely different because we knew authorities were investigating Jerry Sandusky on possible child-sex-abuse charges.
But who could have predicted the upcoming chain of events? Even close to it?
So then last summer was truly a calm. Silas Redd was getting the starting job to himself. The Alabama game was coming.
And despite the typical harping by fans and media members, Paterno’s coaching staff was putting together a rather impressive class of recruits.
And the leader was linebacker Cam Williams from Massachusetts.
He was a pied piper of sorts, calling and texting and convincing other high-profile high school players to join Penn State — or at least consider them seriously.
Just a year ago, Williams talked about how Joe Paterno Skyped with him and highly-touted teammate Armani Reeves, would-be cornerstones of the Penn State class.
Williams had this to say then: “Coach Paterno is probably the best coach in the history of college sports, and Coach Paterno Skyping me and (Reeves) and to know who we are …
“It definitely proved a point to me. (Paterno) was really on top of his program, not like what we were hearing. I was really relieved.
“Yeah, he looked good. It was a great conversation. He said he feels great right now and he wants to keep coaching until he doesn’t feel great. He feels like he’s got six more years left in him.”
That’s a glimpse into how things still felt just a year ago.
Just a few weeks before preseason camp, then the season began. Just a few months before the Sandusky scandal broke, Paterno was fired and Williams and Reeves ended up signing with Ohio State.
Just before everything changed, it seemed, forever.