Penn State Football opens practice

On Monday morning, Penn State held its first of 29 football practices in advance of the September 1 season opener. While speaking with reporters, head coach Bill O’Brien said he was so jacked up for the start of practice that he couldn’t sleep on Sunday night. Even better, he arrived at practice at 4:45 a.m., which was somehow 15 minutes later than most of his staff got there.

Here’s some more from O’Brien’s little meeting with the media:

  • A reporter asked O’Brien how many players he has on scholarship right now. O’Brien says he doesn’t know
  • True freshman won’t actually start practicing until tomorrow. Today was an “acclimation period” for them.
  • With Silas Redd gone, there will be opportunities for tailbacks Bill Belton, Derek Day, Zach Zwinak and Curtis Dukes
  • O’Brien and his staff decided to make Belton a tailback because of his good feet, hands and instincts.
  • O’Brien is confident that the football team will continue to have a positive impact on the State College community and its children. “We know why we’re here,” he said.
  • O’Brien feels very good about team camaraderie
  • Just because Redd left doesn’t mean the whole offense is out the window. “We’re not retooling everything because one player left.
  • Bill Belton is the top back right now. He would have seen playing time even if Redd has stayed.

As far as the actual practice went, it was pretty ugly for the passing game. Bob Flounders of PennLive.com reports that Matt McGloin and Paul Jones combined to throw four interceptions within the first 10 minutes of practice. Two of the picks were made by projected reserve safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, and projected starters Malcolm Willis (safety) and Adrian Amos (probably cornerback) had one pick each.

Projected starting safety Jacob Fagnano and projected starting tackle Donovan Smith both sat out with hamstring issues, but O’Brien said the injuries were minor.

Penn State will practice once a day on Tuesday and Wednesday before media day on Thursday, so look for more reports in the future. Follow me on Twitter @apy5000

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