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Bill O'Brien At APSE Mid-Atlantic Conference

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The Associated Press Sports Editors held their Mid-Atlantic meeting yesterday in State College, and our superhero-chinned savior stopped by to talk for an hour. Here are some of the highlights. Thanks to the York Daily Record (@YDRPennState), tireless Penn State Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Nelson (@GoPSUJeff), the mystery person behind the @APSE_sportmedia account, and everyone else who tweeted to #APSE throughout the day for keeping those of us with day jobs in the loop. The YDR said they would have audio of O'Brien's remarks, but it's not posted as of this writing.

O'Brien's comments, hastily arranged:

  • "I've followed Penn State football since I was a kid. Penn State was the Eastern school."
  • "No player will ever be bigger than the team. No coach will ever be bigger than the team"
  • He's getting to know the coaching staff. Even though he's coached with some in past, he hasn't coached with any of them in 5+ years
  • PA has to be the core of PSU recruiting. He also leans on coaches with ties in the South, then tries to pick and choose national prospects
  • Support of the student body for the football program "probably the best I've ever seen"
  • His relationship with media has been positive so far, and hopes it will continue
  • Social media is new to him. He understands the use of it, and players need to be smart with it. The coaching staff doesn't monitor, but does coach the players how to conduct themselves
  • Getting recruits on campus is key and preaching openness is a "preemptive strike" with recruits concerned with the Penn State image
  • The volume of internet sites devoted to PSU football has been one of his biggest adjustments.
  • The coaching staff is following their hearts with recruits - how many stars a recruit has doesn't matter. Ultimately "what we see" is most important
  • "This is a new era of Penn state football. That has nothing to do with how we feel about the past 50 years"
  • "When I talk about change, it's my vision for the future. We respect the past and coach Paterno"
  • He wants the quarterbacks to clear their minds of what has been coached in the past.
  • Certain parts of program will be run like an NFL team.
  • "I will not wear a hoodie on the sideline."
  • O'Brien's family has been well received. He, however, has not helped with the unpacking.
  • No player access rules have been set yet. Parts of some practices will be open to media
  • Works on recruiting and checks on academics in morning. Football in afternoon.
  • The core of Penn State's recruiting class needs to come in a 5-6 hour driving radius so family can come watch them play
  • Bill O'Brien said WR Devon Smith will miss rest of spring practice with sprained left foot
  • "You can win games here, win championships here and graduate your players."
  • Bill O'Brien on reception from recruits & families: "The reaction has been very positive...definitely a sense of moving forward."

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