It's a new season - which translates into a new challenge for Barnesville's Larry Marmie.
Instead of wilting in Arizona's triple digit summer heat where Larry and wife Linda reside, the couple will be spending some quality time in the Bay area.
This, a result of Marmie's recent decision to accept a position as pro scout with the NFL's Oakland Raiders.
It should be noted these aren't the same hated and despised Raiders that Steeler fans have come to loathe over the years.
Last fall's death of maverick owner Al Davis signaled the end of a historic era which saw the Raiders achieve three Super Bowl championships.
A new regime is now in place - headed by general manager Reggie McKenzie and new head coach Dennis Allen.
Marmie and McKenzie's friendship goes back to the early 1980s when Marmie was on the University of Tennessee staff and McKenzie played for the Vols.
Marmie was back at UT some 10 years later and McKenzie served as a graduate assistant while working towards earning his master's degree.
"I received a call from Reggie asking if I'd be interested in joining the Raiders and felt like it would be a good move," said Marmie who most recently was on the staff of the United Football League's Las Vegas Locomotives.
Thus, Marmie is part of the Raiders' everyday operations and attends the team's daily practices. "We've already had our mini-camp. I think it's safe to say there's been a major overhaul, here," he suggested.
Marmie is already acquainted with a pair of Ohio State products (Terrelle Pryor, Chimdi Chekwa), members of the Raiders' roster.
"I have to say I've been impressed with what I've seen of Pryor's work habits," Marmie advised. "He's handling himself in a responsible manner and seems determined to get a firm grasp (of our system). I don't think there's any question Terrelle wants to be an achiever here though he remains in the developmental stages. You have to be impressed by his sheer athleticism. At the same time, he's still being considered a work-in-progress."
Marmie also speaks highly of Chekwa, the ex-Buckeye defensive back star. "Chekwa's speed is something special," Marmie relates. "Right now, he's being listed as number one backup (at corner) behind former Pitt standout Shawntae Spencer.
Marmie sports an impressive NFL resume having previously served as defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams and defensive backs' coach of the Seahawks. Now, he's is looking forward to spending Sunday afternoons inside Oakland's notoriously rowdy Coliseum.
"There's no question the Raiders have one of the most passionate fan bases in the league," Marmie related. "When we (opponents) used to ride in on game day, you knew you were in Oakland. Fans here can get pretty crazy."
Marmie noted Oakland's 2012 schedule includes conference matchups against the AFC North. "The Browns and Steelers come out here and we go to Baltimore and Cincinnati," he observed.
Larry still makes it a point to return home on an annual basis. He plans on visiting his 92-year old mother sometime next month.
"The valley always has and will be special for me," he stressed. "I've been fortunate to make a decent living doing what I love. I also realize everything started (back home)."
LIKE so many in his profession, Marmie is stunned by the revelations regarding convicted ex-Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.
Shock doesn't begin to describe Marmie's reaction. "It's just so difficult to believe," said Marmie who once attended a clinic at Happy Valley, the result of an invite from Sandusky.
"When I was at Tennessee in the early 90's, we played Penn State in the Citrus Bowl," Marmie recalled. "We had Heath Shuler (at quarterback) and they had Kerry Collins. I crossed paths with coach Sandusky over the years at a few clinics. The entire situation is almost beyond belief for me and I'm sure for hundreds of other coaches who've been associated with him."
Friday evening's verdicts ensured a tragic end for Sandusky's legacy and perhaps some semblance of closure for the number of victims he was convicted of assaulting...
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org