STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Bill O'Brien of the Penn State Nittany Lions congratulates Ryan Keiser #23 after scoring on the Ohio Bobcats during the first half at Beaver Stadium on September 1, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Tuesday afternoon means another Bill O'Brien press conference. [Insert Ric Flair Woooo! gif].
In this edition, we see O-B continue his inexorable march towards the polite equivalent of 'no comment' -ed, -ness. It is a beautiful thing to watch, particularly given the background of this past spring's bus tour. If you can glean anything useful from a football perspective out of his comments, then you are indeed blessed with a sixth sense, and should consider contacting the FBI to help them locate their 10 most wanted.
As always, a special thank you to Allentown's own Morning Call transcribers, who type incredibly fast.
Lay Off Ficken, You Jackals
Q: What is the situation with kicker Sam Ficken?
COACH O'BRIEN: One of the things that is important to realize is that it's a team sport. So if you're watching the coaches' copy like we do, the coaches on Sunday, you can see where the protection wasn't great, the snap wasn't always great, the hold wasn't always great, and so it's not always the kicker.
And you know, Sam obviously he's gotta do better in his technique, and he's really working on it. I mean he must have kicked 300 kicks yesterday in practice, so he's really working on it, and he takes a lot of pride in it. He's a great kid. He's a Dean's List student. And he'll be back.
But again, it's 11 guys operating efficiently that helped that whole situation, so we've gotta do a better job as a team on that.
and, as if you didn't have enough reason to hate Twitter....
Q. Giving that these are college kids and Sam Ficken is 19years old, there have really been a lot of vicious comments toward him on Twitter. Do you guys have to talk to the kids about staying away from that and how do you feel about people really making some pretty vicious attacks on these kids at points?
COACH O'BRIEN: Well, obviously I think it's absolutely ridiculous. Not just because it's a 19‑year‑old college kid. It's just because ‑‑ I mean it's anonymous in some ways, and in other ways it's not. But at the end of the day, you know, these guys are really playing hard, giving great effort for us. To go on whatever, space book or tweeter, or whatever is put stuff on there is just absolutely ridiculous to me and very cowardly, to be honest with you. But that's just my opinion.
If people really knew these kids and understood the effort that they put forth and how hard they play and how hard they train and how much it means to them, you know, I don't know. I just ‑‑ I don't know what type of people do that. But ‑‑ I don't know any people that do that personally.
Paul Jones - Athlete
Q. Hi, Bill. You mentioned about Paul Jones's move at least partially to tight end. How has Paul taken that move, and is there any thought that he might not be happy with it and could leave? I mean where are you guys at at this point with how he feels about it?
COACH O'BRIEN: No. Paul and I have a very good relationship, very honest relationship. We've had a lot of discussions about his role on the team. He's a 260‑pound guy that is athletic and loves to play football.
You know, we feel like right now the best thing for us to do with him is to try him at this F position. Now, the F position is not really a true tight end. It's somebody that can play out wide as a wide receiver. It's somebody that can play in a wing position in the formation. It's somebody that's a move guy, somebody that can line up in the back field. And Paul came out yesterday and played that position.
He's also still a quarterback. So we're asking him to do a lot of different things. He's got a package of plays at quarterback, so if we needed him, he can do that, too. So we're just trying to get our best players on the field and he's certainly a guy that we've got to play and that's on me to get him into the game.
Running Back Injuries. Everyone is day-to-day with lower bodies.
Q. Bill, what does your running back situation look like this week with Bill Belton and Derek being at least partially injured?
COACH O'BRIEN: Right. Those guys are day to day, so not sure if they're going to be able to play. So it'll be Dukes. You'll probably, again, you'll see Zwinak in there, two big guys and you may even see Michael Zordich do some things there. So that's who we're going to go with right now, you know, and just keep ‑‑ you know, we've got a lot of depth there. We've got six guys there that all can play and run the football and protect and catch the ball in the back field. So that's not a position that's lacking for depth, and I thought that on Saturday Derek Day ran very, very tough. Curtis Dukes went in there and ran tough. Zwinak did some good things. So that's a pretty solid position, and we just gotta keep grinding away with those guys.
Miscellaneous, Errata, Addenda, and Notes (MEAN):
- Navy is tough. They test your discipline and your toughness with the triple-option scheme.
- Penn State is tough, particularly on defense.
- We played solid defensively against UVa, excepting a couple of coverage mistakes.
- The officials can go pound sand for starting the play clock, or not resetting the play clock, and forcing us to take a timeout two different times. But since he's a coach from the NFL, he's afraid he'll get fined for criticizing the officiating. Read some of JoePa's transcripts, O-B. You're only out of bounds if you don't criticize the officiating.