Bill O’Brien met with the media this afternoon to recap Saturday night’s loss against UCF, update the injury report, and preview this weekend’s game vs. Kent State.
- The only notable injury, other than the season enders we know about, remains linebacker Mike Hull. O’Brien says he is still day-to-day, but was pretty sore on Monday. There are several players banged up, but nothing terribly serious. BOB did single out Kyle Carter, noting the tight end nearly broke his arm vs. Syracuse last month, but will continue to be involved.
- There were a couple of changes on the depth chart this week, notably Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and Nyeem Wartman both listed as starters at one outside LB spot. O’Brien indicated that the “or” simply means both will play a similar amount of time. Austin Johnson and Kyle Baublitz are listed as co-starters at DT opposite DaQuan Jones as well.
- The THUD practices that have garnered so much attention in the wake of Saturday nights’ 34 point, 500+ yard defensive effort are not going anywhere. While O’Brien acknowledged the need to tackle better, he says there is no reason they can’t do that the way they have been practicing. Plenty of teams across the country practice the same way PSU does, according to the coach. He also credited UCF for making plays even in situations where the Lions D was in a position to make a stop.
- Because it’s a requirement, OB was asked about Christian Hackenberg’s progress. He was impressed by the 70% completion rate against the Knights, and expects to see the freshman continue to improve week to week. So far, he gives his starting QB a “B”.
- Deion Barnes has yet to make a tackle for loss, or sack, this season. O’Brien doesn’t seem too concerned though. He says Barnes continues to play hard, and teams are making a conscious effort to run away from the defending Big 10 Freshman of the Year. He did hint at possibly moving Barnes around going forward though.
- The freshman you have seen to date (Hackenberg, Adam Breneman, Richy Anderson, Jordan Smith, Anthony Smith, Brandon Bell, Gregg Garity, Von Walker) are likely it in terms of players from the Class of 2013 that will play as true freshman. O’Brien said he does not anticipate seeing any other true freshman play at this point.
- O’Brien was impressed with his offensive line play, especially that of right tackle Adam Gress. He said both Gress, and the unit, played their best game of the season to date.
- First year starters at CB Jordan Lucas and Trevor Williams showed their inexperience Saturday against a loaded UCF receiving corps. O’Brien did see some good from them as well, and expects them to just continue to improve.
- O’Brien would also like to see more consistency from his punter, Alex Butterworth, who he believes is a good punter, just lacking a little confidence. Both Larry Johnson and O’Brien have worked with Alex to improve his fundamentals.
- Finally, a quote those of us at VBR find kind of offensive: “I don’t tweet, I don’t Spacebook. I don’t blog or whatever.” I’m hurt BOB. I thought what we had was special.
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