Penn State Football Media Day Recap
Bill O’Brien kicked off his first Penn State Football media day this morning with a press conference in front of a couple hundred reporters. The first question centered around the mood of the team after the first few days of practice following the NCAA sanctions and subsequent transfers. The response from the first year head coach: “The morale has been excellent.”
If there were still any doubts, his players would confirm his response later on during interviews. Starting quarterback Matt McGloin said confidence is at an all-time high and cannot wait to get the season started, even though the new offensive playbook required a ton of studying. “Only so many teams get the chance to play in front of 100,000 fans every Saturday. It’s what we live for,” said McGloin. The senior signal caller is loving O’Brien’s offense and believes timing with receivers is way ahead of where it has been in past years.
One of his top targets, sophomore Allen Robinson, is glad to be back to football. “We’re just ready to go out there and play for each other. It’s not about bowl games and Big Ten championships,” said Robinson.
Several players including new starting running back Bill Belton credited strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald for getting them ready for summer practice throughout the offseason. “I’ve turned Fitzy into a rockstar,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien praised his team several times throughout his remarks, especially the leadership from the seniors highlighted by guys like linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti, defensive tackle Jordan Hill, fullback Michael Zordich, cornerback, Stephon Moris, and McGloin.
“It’s a strong senior class, but it trickles down to the rest of the team. These are fantastic kids. We’ve got guys that are great students. We’ve got guys love to play football,” O’Brien said.
One of the big concerns throughout the offseason, even before the nine transfers, has a been lack of depth in the secondary, and O’Brien acknowledged this saying that freshman like Jake Kiley, Jordan Lucas, and Da’Quan Davis may be counted on to help there.
Mauti, who has been very outspoken following the sanctions, gave his new coach a big time vote of confidence. “I wouldn’t trust another guy to be in charge of this program. [O'Brien] is running the entire athletic department at this point.”
If the sanctions were supposed to keep the players down for the 126th season of Penn State Football, it’s not working.
Other Observations from media day and practice:
- One player to keep an eye on is running back Derek Day. He often gets lost in coversation when talking about Belton, Curtis Dukes, and Akeel Lynch, but he should see some carries in this offense.
- Facial hair and long hair seems to be a theme with the new regime. McGloin was sporting a beard along with many othe players. Mauti’s hair was shorter than a week ago but still relatively long.
- O’Brien said during his press conference that “Paul [Jones] will play this year.”
- True freshman quarterback Steven Bench took a few third team snaps at quarterback and made some decent throws.
- Stephon Morris is a funny guy to talk to. He’s been keeping in touch with some former members of the secondary who graduated and laughed when D’Anton Lynn’s Jets training camp fight was brought up.
- Songs such as “All I Do is Win” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” blasted from the Lasch Building fields as players stretched.
Quotes of the Day:
- The first came from O’Brien during his press conference when asked if he would be the first one off the blue buses when they pull up to Beaver Stadium on gamedays. “I might be driving the bus. Watch out…Do you need a special license for those things?”
- The second from Mauti on O’Brien caling him the glue that’s holding everything together. “I would run through a burning house to save that dude.”
Our photo gallery from media day can be found here.