November 6, 2012 at 1:28 PM
Heading into Penn State's second-straight road game, coach Bill O'Brien fielded questions from the media at his weekly presser. Some of the topics of discussion included the status of Jordan Hill and Kyle Carter, the state of the running game, and prepping for Nebraska's Taylor Martinez.
-O'Brien said both Hill (knee) and Carter (foot/ankle) are day-to-day and will need to be re-evaluated at the end of the week before assessing their status for the Nebraska game.
-The coach said the team has benefited from improved depth as the season has developed, mentioning the receiving corps as one of the main positions to expand its potential contributors.
"Most of these guys are on full scholarship, and that's their role, to step up when we ask them to play," O'Brien said.
-O'Brien said a matchup with schools such as Penn State and Nebraska is what college football is all about and he expects the environment to reflect this on Saturday.
"I would expect that this atmosphere will be very loud, very intense," O'Brien said.
-O'Brien said the secondary is one of the most improved units on the team and credited coach John Butler with much of this improvement. O'Brien added that Stephon Morris was one of the players of the game against Purdue.
The coach said although the secondary has improved, there have certainly missed opportunities to create turnovers and that's an area where the unit can still get better.
-The coach added that the running back situation will continue to be up in the air as the season develops, despite Zwinak receiving the majority of the carries this past weekend and Bill Belton receiving none.
"If they are a starter, they know that they have to go out there and earn it on the practice field," O'Brien said.
-When asked about "sending a message" to Belton to work hard in practice, O'Brien said it was more so just a reminder that practice is where you earn playing time during games.
"Life is about competition, so we try to compete every day. And then we try to be as fair as we can as coaches," O'Brien said.
-O'Brien said the Nebraska program has excelled at accepting "run-on" players and ushering them into the forefront.
"Nebraska is famous for how they practice.... [They] have basically unlimited roster numbers," O'Brien said.
O'Brien said he won't hesitate to pick the brain of coaches at schools like Nebraska where the run-on programs have succeeded in the past.
-When asked to evaluate the progress of the running game over the course of the season, the coach said it has been advancing, but not where he wants it to be yet.
"It's really an ongoing process...I think the running game is improved, [but] I think that it can be even better," O'Brien said.
-O'Brien said his relationship with Matt McGloin has developed to the point where the quarterback has the right to offer suggestions to the coach about game planning before and during games.
"As the relationship builds, you definitely want to hear what he thinks," O'Brien said.
-O'Brien said the upcoming game against the Cornhuskers will be a test of the Lions' ability to keep it close and take the game over in the second half.
"This is a very good football team that's very well coached," O'Brien said. "Bo does a great job. I have a lot of respect for Bo. In many ways, I think we see the game in similar ways."
-O'Brien said the players' intensity has not lessened during practice as the year goes on, and a big part of that has been mixing things up to keep the team's interest up.
-In regard to wide receiver Brandon Moseby-Felder, O'Brien said he is a complete player that not only plays well in the passing game, but also blocks well in the rushing game.