Practice notebook: QBs, DBs & more
He remained stoic as he explained "no guy has really stood out above the other guy." Consistency has been the buzz word this spring, and that seemed no different at practice No. 10, which was open to the media for about 30 minutes.
O'Brien's calm demeanor dissolved two hours following that interview once practice began and his quarterbacks guided the team during a two-minute drill. It was the only time the media were able to watch the signal-callers face the defense -- and they did so inside Holuba Hall as thunder rumbled around the facility.
"Don't film this!" O'Brien barked during the 7-on-7s.
Steven Bench took snaps with the first team and, again, showed glimpses of greatness and inexperience. He completed three straight passes by finding three different receivers, and Mike Hull's blanket coverage on Jesse James prevented a fourth straight completion.
But it was the following pass attempt that caused O'Brien to pull Bench aside and gesture to him.
The quarterback dropped back and attempted to rifle in a ball over the middle. The pigskin went right through safety Ryan Keiser's fingertips, and a coach called out, "Game's over right there. Gotta get that!"
Bench rebounded on the next play by finding Allen Robinson in the end zone to finish off the two-minute drill. Tyler Ferguson then took over and completed two straight passes before faltering.
He spiked the ball to stop the clock, then held on too long, and appeared as if that counted as a sack. He followed up by completing a short pass to Richy Anderson, but it was too late. O'Brien whistled the drive dead as the marker showed fourth down.
"They both had their moments," O'Brien said prior to the drill. "I've been very impressed by how hard each guy has worked."
Injury report: Safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and tight end Kyle Carter continue to wear red jerseys, and both elaborated upon their injuries Wednesday morning.
Obeng-Agyapong said he discovered later in the season he tore his labrum in Week 3. He didn't expect to play in the Blue-White Game but said he "should by healthy by the summer."
Carter's injury seemed a bit more serious. That broken hand also turned out to have some torn ligaments. He's ahead of schedule right now, though, and said doctors initially believed he wouldn't even be able to catch at this point. And he's already practicing, just not in contact drills.
"I'm definitely going to be back at the beginning of the season," the tight end said. "If I had to play a game now, I would be able to."
Bill Belton also stood on the sideline during Wednesday's practice, but O'Brien said it was nothing serious.
He made his last 10 field goals, however, and he believes he's fixed up his accuracy issues. He shortened up his steps by doing two steps instead of 2.5 and said his plant foot is now a non-issue.
When asked how many 45-yard field goals he'd make out of 10 attempts, he just smiled.
"Ten," he said. "That's always my answer. Fifty yards? Ten. That has to be my answer."
Nickel defense: After going an entire season with out the nickel defense, PSU finally installed the package on Monday. Adrian Amos said the personnel is still being worked out there, but he said the team's currently using him as the nickelback.
Secondary starters: Obeng-Agyapong can't yet play in contact drills and is obviously expected to start this season. So Keiser took over for him during 7-on-7s.
At this point, it looks as if Jordan Lucas might have overtaken Da'Quan Davis on the depth chart. This is about third practice the media's seen with him starting alongside Amos.
April Fools: On April 1, Robinson and Belton told the Twitterverse they decided to transfer to another school ... before confessing it was all a joke. Of course, some people took it literally -- and word got back to O'Brien.
Luckily for the Supa Six, though, the head coach didn't seem to mind as much.
"He didn’t take it as bad as I thought he would," Robinson said, adding there was no punishment. "But I mean, I learned a little something from it."
And what did he learn?
"Just thinking about some things before I do it. I guess it was funny to a few of us, but it wasn’t that funny. So that’s really basically what I learned."
Big Ten Weekend Wrap: Sept. 16
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
12:00 PM ET Iowa Pittsburgh 12:00 PM ET Eastern Michigan 11 Michigan State 12:00 PM ET Western Illinois Northwestern 12:00 PM ET Southern Illinois Purdue 12:00 PM ET Bowling Green 19 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET Maryland Syracuse 3:30 PM ET Utah Michigan 3:30 PM ET Rutgers Navy 4:00 PM ET Massachusetts Penn State 4:00 PM ET San Jose State Minnesota 4:00 PM ET Texas State Illinois 4:00 PM ET Indiana 18 Missouri 8:00 PM ET Miami (FL) 24 Nebraska