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Penn State's 2015 season mantra cites 'no names, all game'

Penn State is going back to its old-school look: black shoes and basic blue jerseys with no names on the backs.

The team announced Thursday it once again will use uniforms without players' names. Penn State had used the nameless uniforms throughout its history until 2012, when then-first-year coach Bill O'Brien decided to include players' names to honor those who remained on the team after heavy NCAA sanctions were imposed.

Penn State kept the names in 2013 and 2014 but will go without them this season.

"The 2012 team, permanently recognized in Beaver Stadium, will hold an enduring place in our program's history," coach James Franklin said in a prepared statement. "Their commitment will never be forgotten. However, it's time we bring back the tradition that represented Penn State for 125 years."

Franklin said he respected O'Brien's decision but felt the time was right to make the move. "I think what Bill did was the right thing at the right time, and I think this is the right thing to do at the right time again."

Penn State's 2015 season mantra reflects the uniform change: "Black Shoes. Basic Blues. No Names. All Game."

Franklin is entering his second season as the Nittany Lions' head coach and said the idea to revert to nameless jerseys is one he's been considering since he took the helm.

"I thought about this since Day 1," he said Thursday. "But I just thought Year 1 wasn't the right time to make this decision. There had been so much change and so much turnover in a short period of time -- fifth head coach in 27 months, a lot of issues, a lot of things that we had to overcome -- and it was just one more thing I didn't feel ready or prepared to deal with at that time.

"So after being able to take some time and understanding the whole situation and what it meant to people, I do think it's another step in the healing process for us."

Nittany Lions senior offensive lineman Angelo Mangiro, one of six players who remain from the 2012 team, voiced his support of Franklin's decision.

"When Coach O'Brien came and put names on the uniforms to honor the players that stayed, I was extremely moved," Mangiro wrote on Twitter. "I understood the history that surrounded our program and the basic whites and blues. I was thankful for Coach O'Brien to make that tough decision, and I felt that it was very appropriate at that time. But, that was then and this is now. We honored those who have stayed. ... It is time for us to get back to our traditions and put everything behind us."

Penn State assistant coach Terry Smith, who played wide receiver for Penn State from 1987 to 1991, said he thinks the decision to go back to nameless jerseys will resonate with alumni.

"When you're a young guy when you're on a team, you don't realize history as much," he said Thursday. "You don't realize until you're removed from the program some years and you come back and you're older and a little bit more mature. I can't tell you how many text messages and phone calls I've gotten today from former players and lettermen who are just ecstatic."