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Meetings got Lions up to speed

When Penn State's players head to the hotel at Toftrees on Friday, the night before the season begins, they'll hold team meetings. Then they'll have a chance to attend religious services, then get a snack, then turn in for the night. When they wake up Saturday morning, there will be more meetings.

Stephon Morris (12) saw plenty of Penn State coach Bill O'Brien during camp.

In other words, it won't be much different from the routine they went through all summer.

"Right up to game time there will be no shortage of going over the game plan," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "The more you go over it with these guys over and over again, hopefully when they go out on the field it makes it a little bit easier, because they know what their assignment is."

The Nittany Lions would arrive at the Lasch Building at 6:45 a.m. and often not leave until 10 p.m. Some of that time, obviously, was set aside for preseason practices. Most of it, though, was for meetings.

"We meet all day long," senior cornerback Stephon Morris said earlier in the preseason. "I wasn't used to that in the beginning. … The minute we wake up, we meet. Lift, meet, practice, meet, meet, meet … "

Sometimes the meetings were offensive and defensive meetings. Sometimes they were full-squad meetings led by O'Brien. Sometimes they were individual position meetings. All were designed to reinforce the plays and the schemes the coaches have been trying to install in the players' heads since the spring.

"It benefits us a lot because it's all new to us," tight end Garry Gilliam said. "The schemes are the same but the language of the playbook is different. It's helped relating what we see in the video room to what we see on the field."

The bevy of meetings during the preseason should have come as no surprise, given O'Brien's love of details and his background in professional football.

"We have a camp like an NFL style camp," Morris said. "From guys I talked to in the NFL, they have the same schedule we do, except we have more contact."

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