October 16, 2012 at 1:34 PM
Coach Bill O'Brien addressed the media at his weekly press conference ahead of the Nittany Lions game at Iowa this weekend, discussing the bye week and preparation for the Saturday night game at Iowa.
Here are some of his main points:
-O'Brien said the team looked energized in practice coming out of the bye. He added that Iowa has "the momentum" coming off a double-overtime victory against Michigan State last weekend.
-O'Brien, who coached with Iowa assistant coach Brian Ferentz in New England, said the team won't switch its strategy because of their coaching history together.
"That's a great friendship there... But as far as switching things up, we're just going to stick to the game plan."
-The coach said Iowa's home-field advantage will be a factor and the team is preparing for this with loud noise in practice.
"But again, it's not going to be anything like what it's going to be on Saturday night," O'Brien said of the practice setting.
-The bye week helped many players recover from injuries and fatigue, including running back Bill Belton, O'Brien said.
-As for the national recognition the team has begun to receive, the coach deflected this as something the team does not acknowledge.
"We don't really listen to all that... It's much more important to focus not the opponent."
-O'Brien said the team practiced Monday through Wednesday during the bye week with an added focus on self-scouting.
-In regard to the coaches having time off, O'Brien mentioned that will rarely ever happen due to the large amount of responsibilities, recruiting included.
"You never have a day off during football season...I think I took my wife out to dinner on Saturday night and had a nice dinner, but that was about it."
-O'Brien said every coach has taken part in quizzing the players on the scouting reports to ensure they are on the same page.
-The coach discussed the "calmness" of the past few weeks — with no players leaving the team and several wins — saying the team has done a great job of controlling the the things it can.
"There are certain things we can control...but there's other things that we can't," O'Brien said.
-As for Curtis Dukes making comments to his local newspaper about wanting more carries, O'Brien said he didn't plan on disciplining the running back.
"It's a free country," he said.
-O'Brien said injured Iowa running back Mark Weisman is a talented player, but whether or not he plays, it does not alter the team's game plan.
-The coach said Iowa's physicality presents a tough challenge, but he compared the opponent's toughness to that of Penn State's team and said it will be a well-matched contest.
-O'Brien said the long tenure and success of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz should give him the opportunity to stay there as long as he chooses.
-He added that in preparation for the Iowa game being at night, the team is going to try to practice a little later in the evening to get them used to the first evening matchup of the season.
-In regard to many defenders not being on the midseason award's lists, "there's a certain amount of ridiculousness" that guys like Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges, and Jordan Hill aren't on these lists.
-In response to a question about Stephen Morris' tweet describing a hatred between the two teams, O'Brien downplayed the rivalry.
"You know what I hate? I hate twitter..... We don't hate Iowa. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Iowa."