Oct 5, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O

Bill O'Brien Press Conference Recap: Michigan Week

As you might have guessed, Coach O’Brien was not in the friendliest of moods when he met with the media today in advance of Saturday’s homecoming game against Michigan.  He did discuss injuries, the Michigan defense, Devin Gardner, and pretty much anything that had nothing to do with last weekend’s loss at Indiana.

  • Safety/holder Ryan Keiser is still considered questionable for the game, but O’Brien said they would have a better read on his situation after Wednesday’s practice.  Ben Kline’s shoulder remains an issue, as he missed Saturday’s game after it popped out of join during Thursday’s practice.  OB expects to have him available against Michigan.  Brandon Felder also missed the IU loss, but is expected back for this week’s game.  Allen Robinson, who returned after a tough fall on Saturday, should be ready as well.
  • O’Brien did not get into specifics with Adam Breneman, who did not play Saturday, but did indicate the freshman tight end should see action on Saturday.
  • Michigan QB Devin Gardner is not exactly Denard Robinson when it comes to running the ball, but the junior quarterback is still a gifted runner that can give defenses headaches.  So how does Penn State plan to slow him down? According to O’Brien, PSU needs to keep him in the pocket.  With 8 interceptions in 5 games, that sounds like a sound plan to me.
  • On the other side of the ball, O’Brien is just as impressed with the Michigan defense, and former Ravens coordinator Greg Mattison, who OB knows from his NFL days.  The linebackers are exceptionally deep (especially if Jake Ryan returns from March ACL surgery), and the defensive line may be the strength of the Wolverine team.
  • Allen Robinson’s dominance is no secret, but how does he continue to put up monster numbers more than a year after emerging, with defenses planning to stop him?  O’Brien credits his work to get stronger, and surprisingly, faster.  He also has a better understanding of the offense, being used not just out wide, but in the slot, and a little out of the backfield as well.
  • It seems a lot of coaches try to downplay bigger games when they address them in the media.  Not O’Brien.  When asked about how he approaches this game with the team, he said it would be crazy to think of this like any other game.  “It’s Michigan”.

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