Nov 23, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O

Penn State Football: Bill O’Brien Press Conference-Wisconsin


Bill O’Brien met with the media for his final game week press conference today.  On the agenda were injuries, the state of the program, a little looking ahead to 2014, and a movie review of Thor.

  • Von Walker and Bill Belton should both be back in the fold Saturday in Madison.  Walker has been recovering from a concussion, while Belton missed the Nebraska game with a shoulder injury, as well as a case of strep throat.  Adrian Amos is day to day with a sprained foot, and Zach Zwinak should be fine, despite dealing with some bumps and bruises.
  • One of the bright spots of Saturday’s loss to the Huskers was the play of true freshman linebacker Brandon Bell.  After seeing time earlier this season on special teams, Bell has become a factor in the last month on the defense.  O’Brien called him an instinctual player, and praised his understanding of the defensive scheme.
  • Looking ahead to 2014, O’Brien singled out Allen Robinson, Miles Diffenbach, and Mike Hull as 3 of the better leaders of this year’s junior class, that would likely take on bigger roles as seniors going into the winter conditioning and 2014 season.  Of course, one of those names may be elsewhere by the time April and the NFL Draft comes around.
  • Speaking of the NFL Draft, O’Brien was asked about how he deals with the NFL question for his players.  Plenty of NFL scouts have been through this season to watch practices, and OB keeps his door open, and encourages his players to seek out advice from him, or the staff, which features some NFL experience beyond himself.
  • Sticking with the look to the future, O’Brien feels the program is in very good shape.  Beyond the 2013 freshman that have played, he sees a lot of good in the players redshirting, and likes where recruiting stands.
  • Two key players for next season on the offensive line figure to be Angelo Mangrio and Wendy Laurent.  O’Brien said this is a crucial off season for both players to get bigger and stronger, as well as better understand the offense.  Both figure to compete for Ty Howle’s center spot, and there is also a starting spot at guard that John Urschel will be vacating.
  • Like a young pitcher in baseball, the staff continues to monitor the number of throws Christian Hackenberg makes.  He has already attempted 362 passes in game action this year, with hundreds more going back to summer drills.
  • With Thanksgiving this week, the team will practice Thursday, then enjoy a holiday meal together.  Penn State does not hold classes this week, which leaves a little more time for the squad.  With that extra downtime, the team watched Thor last night.  For what it’s worth, OB thought it was a good movie.
  • In hardly surprising, but utterly disappointing news (to me, at least), O’Brien had no idea PSU was a 24 point underdog this weekend, and the team doesn’t use Vegas as motivation.  I still hope you read my weekly gamblin’ post though, BOB.

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