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Bill O’Brien Explains How Penn State Has Been Able to Right the Ship
September 28, 2012 – 10:01 am by Chris Fedor
In Bill O’Brien’s first season at Penn State, things started a bit rocky. The Nittany Lions lost their opener to Ohio University and then lost a heart breaker against Syracuse to get off to an 0-2 start to begin Bill O’Brien era in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions have rebounded though. As Big Ten play starts this weekend, Penn State will head to the road looking for their third straight win and continue their bounce back after a tough start.
Bill O’Brien joined 93.7 the Fan in Pittsburgh with Vinnie and Cook to talk about how he feels about his team heading into Big Ten conference play, what has been his key to keeping his team together after a rough start, how the transition from assistant coach to head coach has gone for him, on Matt McGloin and if he believes the Big Ten is down this year.
How he feels about his team heading into Big Ten conference play:
“I believe we’re an improved football team. You’re never really as good as you think you are and you’re never really as bad as you think you are either. We’re somewhere in between. These kids work extremely hard, they love to practice, it’s really a fun group to coach and hopefully we can just keep getting better.”
On the key to keeping his team together after a rough start:
“Mostly it’s about communication and making sure at the end of the day that you’re very honest with them, constructive criticism, being honest with them when they do things right and these are really good kids guys. These are kids that really enjoy playing football and working hard in the weight room and obviously going to class. We’ve had just about 100 percent class attendance to this pioint in the Fall so things are going in the right direction and really it’s a lot about the kids and the staff we have here.”
On the difference for him between being an assistant coach and head coach:
“It’s totally different and there’s really nothing you can do to prepare because as an assistant you’re just trying to either coach your position or get your side of the ball right. You can observe and you can take things that are done really well from the guys you work for but at the end of the day until you actually sit in the seat it’s a tough job but what I try to do is just be really organized and it comes down to being surrounded by a very strong staff, a veteran staff and a bunch of guys that really care about these kids and care about Penn State. That’s what I try to do in the beginning is to surround myself with a bunch of good people here and that is what we have.”
On Matt McGloin:
“He’s a kid that works extremely hard. He’s a competitive guy, he’s smart, he knows that there are things that he can continue to improve on but you have to give him a lot of credit because going into his last year of college football he gets a brand new offense and basically has to start all over again. He had to win the job and work extremely hard to learn our system and you have to give him credit for that but at the same time he knows there are a lot of things that he can do to improve and that’s what he is trying to do everyday.”
If there are any hard feelings towards Illinois after the way they recruited players following the scandal:
“I would agree with the players that say it doesn’t matter. It’s water under the bridge for the team. A lot of good football players, coaching staff, we’re playing on the road and it’s the first Big Ten game on the road, it’s going to be a tough environment and really at the end of the day it has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that we are going to play Illinois in a tough environment for our first Big Ten game.”
Whether the Big Ten is as weak as people say it is:
“I’ve been asked that a lot. You have to prove things on the field so of course there a lot of teams down south that are playing well right now. Alabama is having a great year but we have some good teams in the Big Ten with some really good coaches so it’s not where you start out it’s where you end up so let’s see how the Big Ten does in these bowl games at the end of the year and I can tell you that watching these Big Ten teams on tape and on TV, in my opinion it’s a very strong conference so I think we have to let it play out. There’s a lot to play for here at Penn State, we have a lot of great support here, our student body has been fantastic and we have them to play for, 100,000 fans, we’ve been on national TV for every single game so far and probably will be throughout the season. There’s a ton to play for here and obviously the Leaders division but we just try to focus on one game at a time and that is Illinois this week.”

Listen to Bill O’Brien on 93.7 the Fan in Pittsburgh here

Tags: 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Bill O’Brien, College Football, Penn State Nittany Lions

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