STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - When Rodney Erickson came to congratulate the Penn State football team for an academic achievement on Monday, interim head coach Tom Bradley "schmoozed" the new Penn State president with the gift of a No. 1 Penn State jersey.
"Maybe that would help my cause," Bradley said. "I gave [acting athletic director Dave Joyner] a No. 70 jersey, so I was trying to do the best I could do."
On Friday, Bradley interviewed with the search committee for Penn State's permanent head coaching position. He wouldn't divulge what was said, and said he has not received any indication when the decision on a permanent coach will be made.
Though many believe Penn State will clean house of its current staff, Joyner has said all applicants will be considered. Along with Bradley, it has been rumored that co-defensive coordinator Larry Johnson has interviewed.
"I'm excited they gave me the opportunity to interview," Bradley said. "I got to say what I wanted to say, and that's all I can ask for."
Many names have been rumored to be in the mix, but the search committee has not said anything publicly about any particular candidates to protect the integrity of the search.
Brian Norwood, Baylor's associate head coach who is a former Penn State secondary coach, and Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements were the newest names to emerge on Twitter and on message boards over the last few days. But with so much speculation, the identity of Penn State's next coach is anyone's guess.
As Nittany Nation waits to find out, so do Penn State's returning players.
"We're scratching and clawing," fullback Michael Zordich said. "We all want to know so bad."
Erickson has said publicly that he would like a new coach hired by the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2. Zordich said it would be nice to know soon, so the players can come back in the spring fresh and "ready to go" under whomever is in charge.
"The whole waiting thing is really driving a lot of people crazy, but it's what we have to do," Zordich said. "It's a big decision that they've got to take their time with. We're all waiting for it."
About three weeks ago, Zordich said, he was one of six to eight players to meet with Joyner to voice their opinions on the coaching search. Silas Redd said he was another of the players in the meeting, but neither would disclose what was said.
Though Bradley said the coaching search has not distracted his team from preparing for its bowl game against Houston - "No matter who the head coach is, they love to play football," Bradley said - he admitted that it has affected recruiting "a little bit."
Bradley recently returned from a recruiting trip during which he said he tried to sell recruits on the great attributes of Penn State, including its academics, campus, stadium, and fans.
With the uncertainty and speculation about the head coach, Zordich said he's "absolutely" thought about who might be hired. But he knows he has to sit and wait. Just like everyone else.