O’Brien Presser: TE Matt Lehman Is Out For The Season
Bill O’Brien began his weekly Tuesday press conference with some terrible news: Tight end Matt Lehman is out for the season. Lehman suffered a knee injury on Saturday against Syracuse before being carted off the field. He did not elaborate on the specifics of the injury.
“Any time you have a player the caliber that Matt Lehman is go down it’s not good,” O’Brien said. “I just absolutely love guys like that, guys that overcame the odds. He comes here, tries out, makes the team, and a year later he’s on scholarship.”
O’Brien added that he told Lehman that he’s seen a lot of players suffer major knee injuries and go on to overcome them, citing Michael Mauti making the Minnesota Vikings after tearing his ACL last season as a prime example of that.
“The loss is not limiting. It’s just about what personnel group are we going to use now,” O’Brien said. “The next man up might be a receiver, it might be a running back. It’s about thinking out of the box.”
Tight end Kyle Carter, who missed the season opener, is listed as day-to-day. The team avoided any other major injuries during the Syracuse game. Linebacker Mike Hull exited the game with what looked like a knee injury, later sitting on the sideline in street clothes, but O’Brien said that he is also day-to-day and is probable for Saturday’s game against Eastern Michigan.
Here are the rest of the highlights from the press conference:
- O’Brien announced that Saturday will be the reunion of the 1973 Penn State football team. John Cappelletti was the team’s running back in 1973 and was that year’s Heisman winner. “Any time a 12-0 team is on campus they have an open invitation to come give us some advice over at the Lasch Building,” O’Brien said.
- He emphasized that Christian Hackenberg is the team’s stater. “Tyler [Ferguson] needs to be ready to play, but Christian’s our starter,” he said. “He could’ve gone anywhere. This guy has scholarships to over fifty schools. He committed before the sanctions came out and he stuck with us. All these guys that did that are better men for having done that.”
- The offensive line wasn’t as bad on Saturday as some would have you believe, according to O’Brien. “The guys really blocked hard up front. I don’t know why people thought the offensive line struggled. We have a very good offensive line. The problem [with the run game] was the coaching. It starts with me.”
- He’s pretty hard on himself though. “Nobody in this program makes more mistakes than me. I look to try to improve every single day,” O’Brien said. “I’m just trying to go out there and do the best job I can for our team. Winning is the most important thing, and we won the football game. Winning is like salt water, it cures everything.”
- O’Brien liked Stephen Obeng-Agyapong’s play on Saturday at linebacker, but called him a multiple-role guy. “Yesterday he practiced with the safeties, today he’ll practice with the linebackers, and tomorrow he might practice with the fullbacks.”