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Sounding off: Pledges talk Iowa, surprises

10/22/2012

NittanyNation contacted several Penn State commitments for their thoughts on the 38-14 thrashing of Iowa and what they're most surprised about this season.

Here’s what they had to say:

QB Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union)

Four stars, No. 1 quarterback

"I was pumped just watching [Matt] McGloin. He's really developed into the quarterback he is this year. I think it sort of happened all in one year, too, because he's been on and off -- but he's been super consistent playing to his ability this year, and I think that has a lot to do with Coach [Bill] O'Brien. He's putting him in situations where he can be successful.

"I knew Coach O'Brien was going to come in and do a great job. I just sort of had a great feeling about him the first time I met him, but I didn't think they were going to be playing as well as they are now. They really are a one-loss team; they beat Virginia on paper. I didn't expect this much, but I definitely expected at least over .500. They're blowing my expectations out of the water right now. I'm real excited to get in that offense and start."

TE Adam Breneman (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff)

Four stars, No. 1 at position

"Everything was clicking -- the line was playing well, [Bill] Belton came off strong from his injury, and from what I saw everyone was making the plays they needed to.

"You know, I'm not too surprised. I think, knowing Coach [Bill] O'Brien and knowing his history and his mind-set with the offense, I knew the offense would score points and I knew that Coach O'Brien has playmakers on offense. And as long as he can identify playmakers, he's going to be successful. And they're holding up the tradition of Linebacker U. With everything this team has been through, it's good to see their success."

LB Brandon Bell (Mays Landing, N.J./Oakcrest)

Three stars, No. 64 at position

"I came into watch the game, I think, at halftime and it was 24-0 -- and I was just shocked. The rest of the game, they were dominating all around. I think Iowa had like six yards of rushing at halftime. It was just dominating.

"I'd say they did surprise me -- but not too much. I knew they would come out fired up with us-vs-everyone else, but I definitely didn't think they would be as dominating as they have been. The offense, I didn't think they'd be putting up all these points. I thought it would be more of a defensive team, that they'd score and have the defense win the game for them. But it's almost been equal."

CB Jordan Smith (Washington, D.C./Howard D. Woodson)

Three stars, No. 59 at position

"The defense was just swarming to the ball and the offense, just the creativity that Bill O'Brien has as an offensive coordinator, it allows the team to be unpredictable and very hard for teams to prepare against. The players, they're just truly inspired by the message 'One Team,' and I honestly just think that message inspires the players and allows them to play for everyone. When you have that one team, that means you have one mind and one goal and one purpose -- so they're all working toward the same thing. It allows for the team to play well together and jell together for camaraderie.

"I'm most surprised by the fact -- well, I'm not surprised. I really don't know how to say it; I'm just really not surprised by anything. I kind of expected for them to exceed expectations. I knew they'd be good and I always expected them to do good things with this coaching staff. They just have a wealth of knowledge."