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September 4, 2013During his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon at Beaver Stadium, Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien told reporters that safety-turned-linebacker Stephen Obeng-Agyapong would practice with the fullbacks, and maybe even the tight ends, and special teams.
O'Brien followed the statement by saying that he was being serious.
"Yesterday he practiced with the linebackers, and today he will practice with the safeties, and tomorrow he's going to practice with the fullbacks, and the next day he might practice with the tight ends, and Friday maybe special teams," O'Brien said.?"I'm being serious. We have a lot of guys like that. He's a multipurpose guy, and he understands that and he will fill those roles admirably."
Though the veracity of O'Brien's statement is yet to be determined, the point that Obeng is, indeed, an experienced, multi-role player for the Nittany Lions this season was not lost when the redshirt junior took questions from the media Wednesday morning via teleconference.
Coming off a first game of the season in which he racked up eight tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and recovery, and a key interception, mostly as a spot-duty fill-in for injured linebacker Mike Hull, Obeng's name has been red-hot this week as the Nittany Lions prepare for Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
Asked whether or not he could envision himself lining up on the offensive side of the ball, Obeng more or less laughed the question off, for a variety of reasons both obvious and not so obvious.
"That's an issue because my size would probably be an issue there (at tight end), but I can still see myself doing that," Obeng-Agyapong said. "In high school, I played a little receiver, running back, but tight end is a little different, but I can probably see myself there. But, I don't think that will be a possibility, honestly."
Obeng's hands and size may not be apropos for the tight end position, but that doesn't mean he won't be up for anything Penn State's coaches throw his way.
Asked if he would appear on the offensive side of the ball if O'Brien asked, Obeng-Agyapong didn't hesitate.
"Honestly, man, I'm ready to do whatever he needs me to do," Obeng-Agyapong said. "He's a mastermind at the game of football. He knows what he's talking about. He knows what he's doing, so, if they need me to come on that side of the ball, I will."
Among other topics discussed Wednesday:
On reaction to being told he'd play linebacker:
SOA: Honestly, I felt my size was going to be a problem. I'm not the biggest linebacker, and things like that. I wasn't a fan of it, but I got reps in and I kept practicing at it. Last weekend, I did a pretty good job at it, so it kind of helped me gain some confidence to playing that position.
On why he didn't initially like the move to linebacker:
SOA: Initially, I wasn't a fan. I was recruited as a safety. That was my favorite position, so to be closer to the box, I felt like I wouldn't be as successful down there, especially going against bigger guys. They probably see me and say, 'Oh, he's 220 pounds. I can block him easily.' You know? So, that kind of discouraged me, but after the game on Saturday, realizing I can run around those guys and I can actually compete and make some plays, that kind of changed my whole mindset.
On the biggest challenge as a linebacker:
SOA: The biggest challenge for me is probably figuring out where to line up. You've gotta line up to fill certain gaps and things like that. As a safety, you don't really have to worry about that as much as linebacker. That's jsut probably the biggest challenge for me. Everything else is pretty much simple, just knowing the defense and knowing what to do on each play is pretty much in the books. I already got that down pat.
On whether or not he was told he'd still be a safety and how that affects practice:
SOA: Initially, since Mike Hull was the starter, they told me I would be doing both linebacker and safety. Just this week, I've been practicing primarily at linebacker. I've been with the linebackers at individuals, just to get my technique right and things like that because after I watch the film, there's definitely some things that I needed improvement on, so that's what I've been working on this week.
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