Every week, NittanyNation will pose five questions to a recruit, player, alum or coach about all things Penn State.
This week's subject is Adam Taliaferro, a member of the 2000 recruiting class who received national attention after recovering from a spinal-cord injury suffered in the fifth game of his career. Taliaferro has remained very involved with Penn State and the football team since then.
The football player-turned-lawyer is currently on the university's Board of Trustees and remains a fixture at team functions.
NittanyNation: What do you think about the names on the back of the jerseys?
Adam Taliaferro: It was one of those things where you were kind of conflicted because you want to respect the traditions, and that was one Penn State was known for. But, then, I remember even when I was playing when I was on the team, guys always joked around that it would be cool if we had names on the jerseys.
And when it was announced, I got a chance to speak with some current players and saw how excited they were. I was like, you know, this is kind of cool. If this can bring some happiness to the players then I'm supporting this. I think it was a great thing. It really gives the kids the recognition they deserve. And, for the most part, I haven't heard much backlash.
NN: What did you initially think of Bill O'Brien's hire, and how do you feel about him now?
AT: I was all-in when he got hired. I know some people were kind of concerned he wasn't a Penn State guy, but my mind-set was that a lot of us became Penn State people at some point in our lives. We weren't born Penn State guys. So I wanted to give him a shot and, every time I've spoken to him, he's impressed me more and more. I don't think they could have made a better choice. He got them through a tough time; I think he's really going to do some great things.
NN: What are your thoughts about the 0-2 start?
AT: I think it's going to take some time. For me, I just think about everything they've been through -- as far as their emotions, that was so much outside of football. Now they've been through some tough games, and hopefully everyone's calmed down because it's a whole new system, a whole new program for everyone on that roster, and it'll take some time for that to jell.
Hopefully, the guys can stop thinking and let their athletic ability take over, but I think the future's bright. It may be tough to see it now, but I'm going to stick with these guys and I think they need the support of the Penn State community now more than ever. So I think they're going to turn this thing around -- and Coach O'Brien, he's a great offensive mind. We've seen glimpses of it.
NN: You've become more and more involved in the Penn State community. Why is that?
AT: For me, when I first got recruited to Penn State back in 2000, I just thought of it as a school and getting an opportunity for college football. But when I had my injury, I realized what a special place it was and how big of a family it is. And it really helped me through my injury. Every day, I received dozens of cards from Penn Staters, saying 'We'll help you get through this.' And that support hasn't waned since my injury.
So I said, wow; these people really had my back. And that really motivated me when I saw Penn State go through their adversity because I wanted to get their back. I wanted to return the favor whenever I could. For me, it's more than a school. Penn State isn't just a school.
NN: How should Joe Paterno be remembered?
AT: I think Joe should be remembered just how we all remembered him before he passed away and before all this stuff happened. He was one of the most caring, honorable people I ever met. He never wanted it to be about himself, and he always cared about Penn State.
Coach Paterno never asked to be in the spotlight. It's just something that happened because he was a good person who did a lot of good for Penn State University. So he should be remembered for doing so many good things for Penn State. If you take Joe Paterno out of the equation, I don't think Penn State's the same without him.