Bill O'Brien Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 26
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill O'Brien previewed Saturday's season finale at Wisconsin during his final weekly teleconference of the 2013 season on Tuesday afternoon.
With Penn State students on Thanksgiving holiday all week, the Nittany Lions have a unique game week schedule in the days leading up to the trip to Madison.
Penn State conducted a walkthrough in shorts and shirts on Monday afternoon to kick off on-field preparation for the No. 14 Badgers. O'Brien said the Monday walkthrough enabled the players to rest bumps and bruises after a physical game on Saturday.
Penn State will practice normally on Tuesday and Wednesday before a morning practice on Thursday. The Lions will then enjoy a Thanksgiving feast in Pollock dining commons put on by Jim Hopey and the excellent training table staff. With a schedule solely focused on football, the team has more time to receiving treatment in the training room and rest. Additionally, the team loaded up in Blue Buses on Monday night for an evening at the movies where it saw "Thor".
"I think Thanksgiving week, not having classes, being able to sleep in a little bit, come over, get some treatments in the training room and then come back after practice and get another treatment," O'Brien said. "I think that will help (guys get some rest). And there's only one game left, so you should - our guys will be ready to go out there and lay it on the line, I know that."
The Badgers enter the weekend on a six-game winning streak. Led by the nation's only pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Melvin Gordon (1,375) and James White (1,281), Wisconsin has tallied more than 500 offensive yards in six games this season.
"This is a big challenge," O'Brien said. "They run the football very well. They're very well‑coached. They're physical, they're big. Gary Anderson has done a good job coming in there and putting his style of play and putting his mark on that program right away. Big challenge. These are two good running backs."
Wisconsin has been equally as good on defense during the 2013 season, limiting its opponents to just three total touchdowns in six games at Camp Randall Stadium this fall. The Badgers play a 3-4 defense, something O'Brien said on Tuesday requires a unique approach offensively in the gameplan.
"They play a 3-4 look, which is tough," O'Brien said. "They have two good outside backers that set the edge really well, and then Borland, another guy on the inside. There are actually three guys that play inside linebacker with Borland being the guy that plays in there all the time. Borland is a really good player. He's about six-feet tall, a 240-pound kid. He's stout, he's tough, he's smart. He's what you're looking for in a linebacker. A lot like our guy, Glenn Carson, just a tough, tough dude."
O'Brien said that while the Nittany Lions have had their ups and downs in 2013, there have been a lot of positives to build on heading into the final week.
"I think the fact that we've been able to play a freshman quarterback in every game and he's stayed healthy, and I believe he's gotten better and better, I think that is a real positive," O'Brien said. "I believe that for the most part we've run the ball pretty well on offense. I think that's a positive."
The story has been the same on defense, and Penn State heads into Wisconsin after playing its best defensive football of the season in the last two-and-a-half games. The Nittany Lion defense has allowed a total of 30 points in its last 10 quarters and one overtime.
"I believe our defense has improved every single week," O'Brien said. "I think the last three weeks our defense has played well and a lot of younger players or guys that have years left here at Penn State have played a lot of football for us on defense."
Kick is slated for 3:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN inside Camp Randall Stadium.
Press Conference Notes:
- Injury Update - Coach O'Brien said Von Walker (concussion), Bill Belton (shoulder) and Zach Zwinak (shoulder) are all on track to play in the Wisconsin game. Adrian Amos has a foot sprain, but is also expected to be ready for Saturday's game.
- Coach O'Brien on C.J. Olaniyan:
"C.J.'s made a lot of improvement. He made a lot of improvement in the weight room. He really worked hard in the off-season in the weight room. He got in better condition. He's doing better in school. It all kind of goes together. He's "grown up," and he's played some good football for us. He had a strip sack on Saturday night. He caused a fumble against Minnesota. He's a long guy. He's got long arms and he's an instinctive player and a tough kid. He'll continue to get better."
- O'Brien talking about the season Zach Zwinak has put together (874 yards and 12 touchdowns):
"Zach's had a good year. He's a mentally tough kid... Tough kid, tough runner, mentally tough kid, really enjoy coaching him. I think he's -- he and I have had a lot of talks about ball security and we just try not to get all over him about it every single second of the day. We just say, look, it's important for you to hold the ball the proper way and all these things. And remind him of those things, and he's taken it to heart, and knock on wood, he's done a good job in the last three games and he needs to do a good job on Saturday."
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Bill O'Brien Press Conference Roundup - Wisconsin Week
Bill O'Brien Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 26
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