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Penn State press conference

Lions looking at walk-ons

September 19, 2012
The Altoona Mirror

A capsule look at Bill O'Brien's weekly news conference:

Opponent: Temple (1-1)

Last time vs. Penn State: Penn State won, 14-10, in 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. at Beaver Stadium

Television: ABC

Line: PSU is a 9-point favorite. The over-under is 45.

Walk-on tryouts: PSU will hold walk-on tryouts today. The team has traditionally held tryouts once the season gets under way, but the idea is more notable now in the wake of the NCAA sanctions and scholarship reductions. "I would say positionally, maybe there are a couple DBs in the crowd there," O'Brien said. "That's usually the position right now that we're looking for because of numbers-wise. Other than that, I just want to try to get out there and see if we can find some good football players."

Clock's ticking: Penn State has been forced into an early timeout in all three games so far, and O'Brien admitted, "We have got to do a better job of continuing to get the play in quicker."

Kicking update: O'Brien said PK Sam Ficken remains ahead of State College's Kevin DiSanto, the backup. O'Brien said Ficken, who missed an extra point in Saturday's win over Navy, kicked well in practice last week, "making I think 10 of 10" field goals. O'Brien again did not second-guess himself for passing on a 25-yard FG attempt in the first half with a 20-0 lead after Ficken had missed an extra point (he made two previously). O'Brien said if Ficken had made the extra point, he still would have gone for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the Navy 8. "That's a bread-and-butter play [to the tight end]. We've thrown it for two touchdowns over the first two games." Ficken is 1-for-5 in FGs this season, having missed four at Virginia. Overall, the special teams "have been good," O'Brien said. "Sam just has to get better with his technique."

Bench(ed): O'Brien was asked why he didn't get backup QB Steven Bench into the game with a 34-0 lead in the fourth quarter. Bench saw time at Virginia when starter Matt McGloin was injured, but the coach didn't feel this past Saturday was the right time. "I felt like it was still a ballgame there," he said. "I know what the scoreboard said, but I just felt like it was still Matt's game and I stuck with Matt there." O'Brien did say he wants to get more snaps for converted QB Paul Jones, now a TE.

Singing the praises of: Among the players O'Brien singled out for their improvement were safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, DT DaQuan Jones, WRs Alex Kenney, Brandon Moseby-Felder and the Lion coverage teams.

Injury report: O'Brien is fond of referring to the status of all injured players as "day-to-day," adding "you [media] guys will get tired hearing that." TB Derek Day (shoulder) is more probable than Bill Belton (ankle), O'Brien said, and OT Donovan Smith (ankle) is questionable. DE Pete Massaro (shoulder) and LB Nyeem Wertman (knee) are out. O'Brien did say Wertman will be out for an extended period.

- Compiled by Neil Rudel

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