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And much like he has the past several months, O'Brien proclaimed a new era for the school. He reiterated that Penn State players would continue to focus on academics and be involved with the community.

In another recently announced change, players will wear blue ribbons on the back of their helmets in support of victims of child abuse. O'Brien also sought to add names to the backs of jerseys to honor the players who decided to stay to help rebuild the program.

“But again, they’re just a part of this whole thing,” he said. “We’re just the football program that’s trying to be a part of making sure that we go out there and play well but also help the community as much as we possibly can as a part of it.”

There are obvious changes on the field, too, tweaks that in any other year would draw most of the attention at the opening-week news conference.

O'Brien has revamped the offense based off the playbook for the Patriots’ high-scoring attack. Roughly a dozen freshmen are listed as first- or-second stringers for Week 1, a depth chart necessitated in part by transfers related to the sanctions and other unrelated offseason departures.

“That first game, you’re never quite sure how it’s going to go. You’re always optimistic about everything,” defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. “As a coach, you want to see how your players react.”

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NOTES: O'Brien said DE Pete Massaro is expected to play. The senior tweaked his left knee this preseason. … S Malcolm Willis says he’s getting treatment on his right ankle to make sure he’s “100 percent” for Saturday … Right tackle remains up for grabs between senior Mike Farrell and junior Adam Gress. … Only sophomore Allen Robinson has locked up one of the three open starting receiver spots.

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Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP