Bill O'Brien Roundtable Wrap

See what the Penn State coach had to say in his marathon roundtable Q&A session in Chicago Thursday morning.

CHICAGO -- Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien met the media in a roundtable Q&A for more than two hours here Thursday morning. Here are the highlights of what he had to say.

• On RB Zach Zwinak: He's “ahead of schedule” in his rehab. Really has to work on ball security. He is No. 1 going into camp.

• On RB Bill Belton: He was “struggling academically” so he stepped away from most football stuff for the summer. He should be fine. OB said he was really hurt by the high ankle sprain last year. It happed vs. OSU because he was not as decisive as he should have been. But OB thinks he can be a productive player for PSU this year.

• WR Brandon Moseby-Felder needed to do well academically over the summer and did. He'll definitely be back.

• No other significant players had serious academic issues.

• On talk of getting the NCAA sanctions reduced: “The No. 1 goal for me (now) is to keep our players and staff focused on things we can control.”

• He said he has to learn from his mistakes. I asked what sort of mistakes he made last year. He said they have to do better “background checks” while recruiting. He has to do a better job in the two-minute drill, as well. Those were two examples.

• He said right now they have 66 kids on scholarship, not counting Stanko and Graham. There are about 40 run-ons. He said when they give scholarships to run-ons now, they are on a one-year basis.

• He will continue to try to protect the key players in preseason camp. That could mean limiting scrimmages to about 50 plays as opposed to 70, with the key guys getting maybe 15 reps.

• When the season starts, he plans to have Monday scrimmages for guys who are redshirting and/or are on the dirty show. It is usually a light practice day for the regulars, so this way they can focus more on the young guys. GAs will call the plays in the scrimmages.

• He said new DC John Butler “has a unique ability to communicate to a player very quickly. … I think the world of John.”

• On Rutgers and Maryland joining the B1G and how it will impact PSU in recruiting: “I think it can only help us.”

• They have recruiting meetings every day.

• Because they have fewer scholarships available this year, “we believe we're ahead of the game on the '15 and '16 classes.”

• He said QB Christian Hackenberg stood out to him the first time he saw film of the kid. Why? “I could tell he was a good decision-maker.” Also, his “mechanics were solid,” he was “accurate” and he was “a bigger guy who could see over the trees.”

• He said when Hackenberg and TE Adam Breneman stuck with PSU after the sanctions came out, “That's when I really knew this was a special place to coach and play.”

• He talked up trainer Tim Bream. “He's had a great impact on our program.” He has “a really good bedside manner with his patients.” OB was ticked when the SI piece was critical of Bream. “I think it was absolutely ridiculous. He's a top-notch trainer and a heck of a person.”

• He talked up Adam Gress. Also said Angelo Mangiro and Anthony Alosi will play a lot as backups on the OL. He expects the freshmen OL guys to redshirt.

• He said Moseby-Felder, Eugene Lewis and Alex Kenney all had good off-seasons. On Kenney: “We're gonna move him around and use him in a lot of different ways.” He said Lewis is fast, can jump and has a good “catch radius.”

• On Aaron Hernandez: “Any time you coach a guy and he's involved in a murder investigation, it's a sad day for the families of the victim and the accused.”

• He said Big Ten Media Days were better for him this year. “It is much more enjoyable talking about football.”

• On all of the notoriety he has received: “I know that it is a short walk from the penthouse to the outhouse.”

• He said if a true freshman does not play in the first three games, he'll probably redshirt.

• Someone started asking him about wrestling and if he was ever in the sport. He said no. “Can you imagine me in a singlet? It would not look good.” He enjoys watching the sport.

• On Matt McGloin's chances of making it in the NFL: “Never bet against the kid. Penn State fans have learned that.”

• On his goals for scoring offense and defense: “Whatever they score, we need to score more.”

• He said he “can't stand” Twitter. But he has no rule against players using it and he had no problem with what DE Deion Barnes said about college athletes being paid. “It's a free country.” I asked if he knew about Evil Bill O'Brien. He laughed and said, “I think Evil Bill O'Brien needs to tone the rhetoric down.”

• On recruiting Ohio: They have to do a better job. “There's a lot of Division I talent in Ohio, and they can't all go to Ohio State.”

• I asked about guys who are not getting enough attention. He went by position as follows.

• DB: Trevor Williams and Jordan Lucas. Both are “really good.” He said when he asked Williams if he would move to DB from WR, Williams said he would do whatever is best for the team.

• LB: Mike Hull and Nyeem Wartman.

• DL: DaQuan Jones, Kyle Baublitz and C.J. Olanyian.

• OL: Ty Howle.

• He had already addressed the other positions so he did not give any more names there.

• OT Garry Gilliam is full go and will compete for a starting job. He thinks it'll take the former TE about a week to get into the swing of things at tackle after not being able to play much in the spring. He added that the key for Gilliam is staying healthy. He said this three our four times.

• On the Big Ten policy of not playing night games in November: “Who said that? Where is that documented?” He said he does not think that is an official rule and that he and other conference coaches want to play night games in November. “As a coaching group, we said that's not a rule.” Night games are “good for fans, they're good for recruits.”

• He said he was never offered an NFL job last winter. He stayed at PSU because, “I love Penn State, especially the players.”

Nate Cadogan decided to transfer, probably to Hampton. I asked if anything specific caused Cadogan to transfer and he said not really, that the kid had graduated and wanted to go somewhere he'd play more.

• Chris Herren is one of the people who will come in to talk to the team during preseason camp.

• All players report for camp Aug. 4. They have physicals and do paperwork and that sort of thing that first day. The first practice is Aug. 5.

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