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Penn State Blue-White Game: Bill O'Brien Press Conference

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Bill O'Brien had a lot to say after the game. Here's what he said.


After Bill O'Brien's Penn State team beat Bill O'Brien's Penn State team in PSU's annual Blue-White game, many PSU fans were brimming with questions: Who has the leg up in the quarterback competition? Can Mike Hull be "the guy" on defense? What does he think about Joe Paterno calling this "a very average team"? What did you know about Benghazi?

Luckily, in his postgame press conference, O'Brien answered all of those questions and more!

(Ok, he didn't answer those last two, because nobody asked them, #thanksobama).

On the quarterbacking situation, O'Brien made it a point to say he's going to talk to both guys and make a decision, but nobody has a leg up right now. He also said that when he makes his decision, he would like to play only one quarterback.

On the OL: "I thought they were decent, I thought they were ok, thought they competed. You know I think they've competed all spring, they're very well coached, they're smart. I think there are some veteran players there and I think we did a good job last year playing a lot of guys at that position. So I gotta watch the film but it seems they did some good things today."

On Akeel Lynch: "I thought he ran hard, I really did. Again, I gotta go back and watch that tape, but I thought he ran hard just from being down there on field level and watching him run the football. I'm always stressing with Akeel getting his pads down, running with his pads out over his toes and I think he did a good job of that today."

On the kicking game: "I believe the kicking game is better. What we did today was I had (Alex) Butterworth as the holder, no excuse there, but I wanted Alex to hold there. Ryan Keiser is the starting holder, and we'll go back and look at that. Like I said last year, it's all about the operation there, it's the snap, it's the hold, it's a lot more than just the kicker. But I know that Sam Ficken is an improved kicker since the Wisconsin game. So, I have confidence in him. I thought Alex Butterworth at the beginning, we did all the special teams in the beginning, most of it. And I thought he punted the ball well. I think he's improved and he'll punt better for us next year, you know, this coming year than he did last year."

On the early enrollees: "The January enrollees, you know, it's hard. It's hard when you come in to college without that orientation, so to speak. That summer bridge program in June. And I give these guys a lot of credit, they're doing well in school, they're bright guys, they competed in spring practice and I think there's a few of those guys there that can really probably help us in some way, shape or form next fall."

On Jesse James: "Jesse's had a good spring. You know, Jesse, you know, he's just a great guy, physical, good hands, he's had a really good spring and he made some plays out there today."

On Deion Barnes: "Deion Barnes loves football. He works extremely hard in the weight room, on the football field and I think that he's a really, really good football player. He's gonna be a valuable member of this team just like he was obviously last year. I think he's improved in certain areas of his game. Again, another well coached position, and he's having a productive spring."

On Eugene Lewis: "What a fantastic kid. You talk about a guy who's got a smile on his face every day, he's done everything we've asked him to do. I mean, this guy was a high school quarterback, and we're asking him to play receiver in a fairly complex offense to play receiver in: recognize coverages and how your route changes versus different coverages and so, can't say enough about him. I think he's got an excellent future here at Penn State and I love coaching him."

On Christian Hackenberg: "We'll integrate him right in there. It's very difficult to get three quarterbacks reps during training camp, so we'll have to evaluate that over the next couple months here. How we're gonna do that, if we're gonna do that, again, we gotta evaluate this game and go back and, myself, personally, evaluate all the practices, and see where we're at. Only one quarterback can play at a time, in my opinion. We've gotta do a good job of making sure where these two guys stand, and make sure they know where they stand, and then when training camp starts, we've gotta give Christian some reps and let him get in there and compete."

On Malik Golden and Trevor Williams: "I have to watch the film to see how they each played today, but I think those guys, again, these are two guys that are team guys, these are guys that we called in, personally I called them in and said 'hey, look, I think you can help us on the other side of the ball." They both said 'whatever we need to do to help the team is what we're gonna do.' Those are the type of guys we want at Penn State now, tomorrow, next year, six years down the road, those are the guys we want, team guys, guys that understand the concept of team football and those two guys are good examples and I think they've improved and I believe they'll be able to help us next year."

On Mike Hull: "Mike's one of the best football players on our team. He's a tough guy, a smart guy, he's a Pittsburgh guy. We can't say enough about Mike Hull. He can play the run well, he's a really...I think...a really good blitzer, he's good in coverage, just a guy that is somewhat of a quiet guy, but he's a leader by example. Everybody on this football team knows who Mike Hull is and they respect him. And I just think he's a really valuable part of our football team."

On Tyler Ferguson: "I think you gotta give Tyler a lot of credit. Here's a guy that, and I'll say the same thing about Steven Bench as it relates to last year, here are guys that are a long way from home. And as it relates to Tyler, he came here really sight unseen as far as Penn State is concerned. He put stuff in a suitcase and trusted that he was gonna come to the right place for him and he came out here and I think the team has done a great job accepting him. And I'd say the same thing about Steven last year. You know, Steven came here from Georgia, long way from home and both those guys have assimilated themselves well with the team and the team has done a good job of accepting those guys too. We've got a bunch of great kids here."

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