Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
O'Brien gives his thoughts on run ons, quarterbacks and the 2011-12 New England Patriots. Oh, and recruiting. That too.
Bill O'Brien went into the recruiting process in his first year at Penn State knowing he was going to face plenty of hurdles. Scholarship limits, problems with the school's image, all that crap.
So how does the second year head coach view the future with all of these hurdles in the way?
"We can't wait to play the season next year," OB told a handful of reporters at the Lasch Football Building, "We can't wait to play in the future with 65 scholarships. Life's about challenges."
Penn State went into this recruiting cycle having to take a different approach than other teams, due to the sanctions passed down by the NCAA last summer. Knowing this, O'Brien decided to take two approaches to next season: recruit quality, not quantity, and place emphasis on the run-on program.
"Certainly we lost lost some kids because of sanctions," O'Brien said, "there's no question about that.
"At the end of the day, all I'm concerned about are the guys that are here," O'Bien continued, "We're not about collecting talent, we're building a team.
"You really can't miss when you can only sign 15 scholarship players."
In regards to the run on program, O'Brien said he wanted to add, "13 to 15 guys," but couldn't give an exact number.
O'Brien also touched on the QB situation now that Christian Hackenberg has signed ("Any of (the QB's) can be the starter against Syracuse, so don't expect me to name a starter after spring practices"), that Matt Lehman and Ryan Keiser are now scholarship players (WOO!) and the team's need to broaden their horizions in recruiting.
"We'll continue to recruit in the deep south because we have connections down there...the bulk of the roster will come within a 300 mile driving distance." O'Brien mentioned Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Baltimore and DC as areas he'll continue to hit, and that he wants Penn State to have more of a presence in Ohio and New England.
O'Brien closed by talking about how he feels about rankings both with individual players and the team's recruiting rankings. HINT: he doesn't care.
"(Rankings) have nothing to do with how I look at a prospective student-athlete." O'Brien told reporters that he cared more about things like how they would help the team, how they would do in the classroom and how they would fit in in the community, among other things.
As for the team rankings, someone told O'Brien that Penn State was the number four team in the Big Ten today, something that most coaches would be proud of considering the enormous challenges facing the program (see: Meyer, Urban).
O'Brien closed with some perspective on rankings via his last team, the 2011-12 New England Patriots team that
totally would have won in the Super Bowl had Rob Gronkowski not screwed up his ankle lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
"Most of those guys didn't have five stars."