Other than a tradition of winning, Bill Belichick’s coaching staffs in New England have been notorious for giving away minimal amounts of information through mid-week injury reports.
Though it remains to be seen whether former Patriots coach Bill O’Brien will consistently do the same, a similar strategic move may have been utilized last week when tight end Kyle Carter was listed as probable, but did not even make the trip to West Lafayette.
For what it’s worth, O’Brien said at his weekly press conference Tuesday that both Carter (foot) and defensive tackle Jordan Hill (knee) are listed as day-to-day for the Nebraska game on Saturday. Though vague in saying, “they’ve been able to do some things” so far this week in practice, the coach said they both have been making strides in the right direction.
“They come in every day for treatment and we take a look at them in the training room and the weight room, on the field,” O’Brien said. “Really, that will be a later in the week decision whether they can play or not.”
Hill is one of the latest Nittany Lions to enter the injury report. The senior lineman had to be carted off the field during the Purdue game with a left leg injury.
On his way out of the locker room on Saturday, Hill told reporters there was no ligament damage and he didn’t expect the injury to be serious. And although O’Brien reiterated this feeling, he said the players behind Hill on the depth chart — James Terry and Kyle Baublitz — are more than capable of filling in if necessary.
Similarly, O’Brien said the tight end corps is deep enough to produce without Carter, as evidenced by Jesse James’ 49 receiving yards and touchdown catch against the Boilermakers.
“These guys have stepped up, if you look at every position,” O’Brien said.
“Most of these guys are on full scholarship and that’s their role, to step up and play when we ask them to play.”
November Big Ten football
Meanwhile, O’Brien also looked forward to the upcoming trip to Nebraska, when Big Ten play jump-starts its final full month of the year.
Although he has never been there, the coach said he has heard of the lively atmosphere in Lincoln. He said he expects the environment for such a crucial game from the Cornhuskers’ perspective to offer a serious home-field advantage.
“That’s what college football is all about,” O’Brien said. “You have two big time college football programs that have two good staffs and good players, playing at a great game day atmosphere in Lincoln.”
The coach also jokingly asked when snow was going to start to play a factor in the late-season conference games. O’Brien will not likely be coaching his first snowy game this weekend, however, as there is an expected high of 70 degrees in Lincoln on Saturday.