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Bill O'Brien Presser: Virginia Edition

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Another Tuesday, another edition of Bill O'Brien Presser, chock full 'o your favorite coach-speak, as influenced by Bill Belichick, Crash Davis and Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh. Is it mostly boring? Of course. But, it's better than the "I'm a MAN!!! I'm 40!!!!" alternative. At least, from a PSU representative standpoint. There's a part of me that hopes for John L. Smith or Denny Green moment just to liven things up. But let's get down the road a few years first.

An early transcript can be found here, courtesy of the transcribers at The Morning Call, who are faster by 3 hours than the transcribers at

Hey, Wha Happen? Category - aka, The Uncomfortable Questions

Q. 48 passes and 22 runs on Saturday. Is that kind of what you anticipated it would be against Ohio? Is it what you wanted it to be?

BILL O'BRIEN: I think I've got to do a better job there. I think we need to be more balanced. We can run the football. We've got a tough offensive line that ‑‑ I think probably one of the units that played the best on Saturday was our offensive line, if not the unit that did play the best. You know, we've got to be more balanced, and that starts with me.
Yeah, hindsight being 20/20, I'd like to say we would not throw it 50 and run it 20, we'd like to be more balanced.

Q. Does what happened Saturday affect much or at all how you guys will practice this week, because it kind of looked like you guys got tired in the second half. Maybe that's not right, but could you address that, some of the injuries and stuff?

BILL O'BRIEN: Yeah. When I watched the tape, I don't agree with that, and I respect your opinion, but when I watched the tape, I saw great effort. I saw plays that just‑‑ we didn't make, whether it was maybe a run where we missed a cut or a pass that we didn't throw accurately enough or a route that we could have run better or a tackle that we missed. We had great coverage on a tight end, couldn't break the pass up, they jumped up and made a play on a pass, we didn't come up through the hands and make the play on it.
So I think it was more they made some plays and we didn't. I think our team is in pretty good condition, and I think it's more just making sure that we go out there and show the guys that, that it's a very fine line between winning and losing. It's the team that doesn't turn it over, it's the team that makes plays in critical situations that usually wins the game.

Q. And also your return game, last week you said it would be a week to week. Are you asking a lot or too much of Hodges for him to be back there with the number of plays that he has to play?

BILL O'BRIEN: Yeah, probably. Probably right. We put him back there, and the reason why, he did an excellent job in practice. He's an excellent athlete, and he caught every one of them in practice. But it's a lot on his plate, and his main role is obviously as our outside linebacker. He might or might not be back there this week, but there was a lot on his plate, and I'll tell you, I accept responsibility for that. But we'll move forward and we'll find some guys that can return some punts.

Kumbaya, my Lord. Kumbaya.

Q. Another one of the young players that you guys used a lot on Saturday was Nyeem Wartman. I'm wondering what you've seen in him that's impressed you so far.

BILL O'BRIEN: Yeah, that punt block that he had was just a tremendous effort. He just really was all‑out on that play, and that was really good to see. He's a guy that takes tremendous pride in his playing, and during training camp he with come and talk to me about how he knew he could play better and he's going to really practice hard to be better. He's a very, very good young player that's only going to get better with experience, and he's another guy that has a really bright future at Penn State.

Q. You have a lot of walk‑ons and former walk‑ons in key roles. How important is that to kind of send a message to other prospective walk‑ons that you may be leaning on them in the future?

BILL O'BRIEN: Yeah, that's a good point. That's something that we know is going to be important in the next few years is that walk‑on program, and Matt Lehman, who I was just asked about, is a great example of that, Derek Day. Those guys are great examples of guys that‑‑ Derek Day, who played a prominent role, also, and Matt Lehman. So those are great examples of guys that were walk‑ons, and we call them run‑ons now. We've changed the name. We don't call them walk‑ons anymore, we call them run‑ons, and they're guys that have improved so much in their time here at Penn State, and especially in the state of Pennsylvania, high school players in the state of Pennsylvania can really look at that and say, here's a place that I've grown up loving, and I've always wanted to play at, and here's my opportunity to go play at and potentially earn a scholarship in my time there. I think there's no doubt that hopefully that resonates with kids in Pennsylvania especially.

Miscellaneous, Errata, Addenda, and Notes (MEAN)

  • Belton and Morris are 'day-to-day'. Get used to (the traditional) vague injury reports. Tom Brady's been listed as probable with "a shoulder" every game for nine years - that beats Brandon Ware by six years.
  • Paul Jones isn't taking over for McGloin just because McGloin completed 56% of his passes.
  • O-B knows the UVa stadium, having coached previously at Duke, Maryland and Georgia Tech.
  • O-B has seen a little of the current 'Hoos. They appear large. They appear strong. They have some experienced units. Congrats to Mike London for that.
  • Freshman who didn't play vs Ohio (e.g., Lynch) are not necessarily redshirted. They're only redshirted if they don't play the whole year. So don't read into first game snaps.
  • Knowing is half the battle, and the other half is lasers. The lasers may be red. The lasers may be blue. But half of the battle, pretty consistently over the years, is in fact lasers.
  • Foreign Team, Scout Team, "The Dirty Show".

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