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September 29, 2012

Nitt Clips: Bill O'Brien postgame

Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien talked to the media following his Nittany Lions' 35-7 win against Illinois Saturday afternoon in Champaign.

Find out what he had to say, right here!

* Transcript courtesy of the Reading Eagle's Rich Scarcella

On his general thoughts after the game

Offensively again we left a lot of points off the board. I thought we ran the ball well. We played physical. But I think we got a lot of improving to do. I really want the kids to understand that. We have to do a better job of coaching them up on certain things.

Defensively we played an excellent football game. We created turnovers again. Michael Mauti had two interceptions. We rushed the passer. We let him (Scheelhaase) out a few times. He's an athletic kid and he did a nice job.

Special teams I thought were better than it was against Temple. Overall it was a good team effort. But we have a really good Northwestern team coming in. So we have to play a lot better than we did today to win that game.

On the offensive line and running game

I feel like these guys are getting better every week. I've said that from day one. I said they were one of the most improved units. They're coached very well. There's great chemistry with those guys. They get along really well and care about each other and they care about their teammates. They're physical players. We told him from day one from training camp we're going to try to be a physical offense, north and south team.

On Zach Zwinak

In this game I felt he was the guy who was getting the ball downhill. He was seeing the cut and running physical. He's a big kid and he can run. Billy (Belton) did some nice things in the running game, too. You have guys there who are running the football pretty well. But Zwinak is a very physical back and ran the ball today.

On Michael Mauti performance

Any time you have things to say it's very important to go out there and back it up. That's kind of what life is all about in a way. He's a guy who doesn't have a lot of problems backing things up. He's an instinctive player. He plays extremely hard. He's a member of a really strong senior class. We only have seven games left with them and that's going to be tough at the end because they mean a lot to me and the football program.

On how personally satisfying win is

It's a Big Ten win. It's a really big win for us to get off on the right foot in the Big Ten. These games are not easy. This conference is tough, so anytime you can get off on the right foot that's a big deal.

On satisfaction at beating Illinois

It's just a Big Ten win. It's a big win. It's something our players really worked hard for and our coaching staff. Good team win.

On what happened in last 20 seconds of first half

I thought the ball was on the 2 yard line. I knew if it was ruled down, I knew they were going to give me a second because saw where the ball was down and there was a second left. I thought it was on the 2. Hindsight being 20-20 I should have gone for a touchdown there. I take the blame for that. We have to execute better on the field goal.

From the 1-yard line, we have to be able to punch it in from there.

On running Mauti at the goal line

He probably wouldn't know the play. But that's not a bad idea.

On the Illinois front four

Illinois does have a good defensive front. They're athletic and they're strong. Our guys played tough. Pass protection at times was a little bit of an issue, but that was blitzing. It wasn't always our offensive line. I thought they played a very good, tough, physical game. We challenged them all week. We told them it was the strength of the Illinois team. These kids, so far, have been up to the challenge.

On the defensive performance

These guys to me they're a good defense. They're coached well. They understand the schemes. They play well as a unit. They communicate really well. They tackle well for the most part. They're making plays on the ball a little better than we were early in the year. They're doing a decent job on third down. They're getting better every week, like our football team. That's all you can ask right now to have your football team going this way and not that way or this way.

On the Illinois poaching fiasco

I've said my peace on that in the summertime. The sanctions are what they are. The people who recruited our kids played within the rules. But at the end of the day we came here and played a good football game against a tough team. You guys can figure the rest out.

On the hit Lehman took

He took a shot there. He got the wind knocked out of him. I thought maybe it was a concussion. I think he's going to be all right. He had a decent game. He's getting better every week. He catches the ball well and understands the offense better every week.

On Kyle Carter in the backfield

That's something we've always done. We've taken that F tight end and he's been somewhat of a wide receiver, somewhat of a tight end, somewhat of a fullback. It takes a smart kid, it takes an athletic kid and that's what Kyle is. Instead of changing personnel to get that play in, why not just put him there and do some of the things that a traditional fullback does especially with Zordich not as healthy today.

On Kyle Carter

He plays the position that Aaron Hernandez plays. Not comparing him to Aaron. He's a much different player. He's a long player. He's sort of a like a basketball player playing football with toughness. He has good hands, he can jump, he's smart, he's instinctive. He made those two plays against Temple late in the first half, where he reversed his route and got us down to the 1. He's a young player who has a really bright future for us.

On Matt McGloin's second half performance

He didn't take stupid sacks. Part of that was play calling, too. You have to make me look right by throwing the ball away. I thought he did a nice job of that. He's a smart player.

On Bill Belton?

I thought he looked good.

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