With the start of spring practice on Monday came the first official Bill O'Brien press conference of the season. The tone seemed to relay one of confidence and there will once again be open competition nearly across the board on offense and defense.
Among the highlights of O'Brien's press conference included:
- QB Christian Hackenberg will be in the mix under center leading up to the season, but Steven Bench and Tyler Ferguson are hard at work right now.
- TE Adam Breneman will be available this spring, as previously reported, with the staff monitoring his progress closely.
- Zach Zwinak starts the spring as the starting running back, but O'Brien likes the shape Bill Belton is in and Akeel Lynch should also compete for playing time.
- O'Brien is eager to see Glenn Carson be joined by Mike Hull and Nyeem Wartman at linebacker working together this spring.
- Ty Howle will start at center for now, and Miles Dieffenbach remains at guard despite what a previous roster release had printed (initially listed at center).
- Malik Golden will be seeing time this spring at wide receiver and defensive back.
Penn State has 14 more practices and concludes the spring with the annual Blue White Game in Beaver Stadium on April 20. As has been the case for years, parking and admission to the game are free.
– Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany suggested if the NCAA loses in the Ed O'Bannon case (and they likely will), then the Big Ten could have to restructure and adopt a model more reminiscent of a Division 3 conference. From the story written by Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated [link];
"…it has been my longstanding belief that The Big Ten's schools would forgo the revenues in those circumstances and instead take steps to downsize the scope, breadth and activity of their athletic programs," Delany wrote. "Several alternatives to a 'pay for play' model exist, such as the Division III model, which does not offer any athletics-based grants-in-aid, and, among others, a need-based financial model. These alternatives would, in my view, be more consistent with The Big Ten's philosophy that the educational and lifetime economic benefits associated with a university education are the appropriate quid pro quo for its student athletes."
Now, before you go thinking that Penn State is going to be developing some new in-state rivalries with the likes of Albright and Delaware Valley, let's keep some things in mind. The Big Ten members have some large stadiums to fill, some of the most lucrative television payouts and a cable network generating millions working in their favor. There may be less of the pie to share when the court case is determined and the impact is felt, but there will still be plenty of that pie to share. Delany may be accurate in a hypothetically and theoretical sense, but probably not in a more realistic sense.
– Florida State to the Big Ten? Yeah, OK, sure.
Success With Honor
– After winning back-to-back Big Ten championships, the Penn State Lady Lions basketball team received a three-seed in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The Lady Lions head to Baton Rouge to take on Cal Poly in the first round of the tournament on Sunday. A win could set up a meeting with host school and No. 6 seed LSU in round two, if the Tigers get by Green Bay (29-2). The top two seeds in Penn State's bracket are Stanford (1) and California (2). Best of luck to the Lady Lions this postseason.
In scores of other games…
– Leave it to Les Miles to have his team get down and funky at spring practice…
Can't imagine Bill O'Brien will do anything similar. Right?
– Texas AD DeLoss Dodds continues to live within his burnt orange bubble, telling The Daily Texan it will be up to Texas when they resume any series rivalry with Texas A&M.
– The Orange Bowl has been designated as one of the semifinal host sites for the college football playoff in the 2015 season. The Sugar and Rose Bowl games will host semifinal games in the 2014 season, the first with the new postseason format.
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