Penn State fans expecting a change at the quarterback spot or significant changes in the secondary were likely disappointed by Bill O'Brien's Tuesday news conference.
O'Brien said Ted Roof calls the defensive plays but that he can "overrule" if he has to.
The Nittany Lions' head coach, in far better spirits than he had been Saturday afternoon, said that Penn State will continue to go with "one guy" at quarterback -- senior Matt McGloin -- and that Ted Roof's defense, despite allowing the Bobcats to pick up 208 of their 301 second-half yards through the air, was unlikely to include nickel packages, at least heading into this week's game at Virginia.
McGloin was 27-of-48 for 260 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his debut in the new offense. Half of those yards came in the first quarter. The last thing O'Brien wants right now, though, is a clouded quarterback picture.
"Right now we're going to stick with one guy," O'Brien said. "Paul (Jones) has made a lot of improvement, but right now we're going to stick with one guy."
Depth has been a big problem for Penn State's secondary, and the Nittany Lions could be without senior cornerback Stephon Morris, who is day-to-day, O'Brien said, with a sprained ankle, on Saturday. But Morris' injury won't cause anyone to be moved to the secondary, O'Brien said.
Penn State went with its base 4-3 defense throughout the Ohio game, even when the Bobcats went to three wide-receiver looks, and will likely stay that way. Safety Malcolm Willis said Tuesday morning that Penn State has yet to permanently install a nickel (five defensive back) package, but O'Brien indicated that's because of the faith Penn State's coaches have in their outside linebackers to handle themselves in a variety of situations.
"I don't think it's from a lack of depth that we don't go nickel," O'Brien said. "I think it's more that we feel pretty good about the two outside backers that we have in (Michael) Mauti and (Gerald) Hodges as far as their cover capabilities."
Running back Bill Belton is listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle of his own. If he's unable to go against Virginia, the Nittany Lions will turn to senior Derek Day. Zach Zwinak and Curtis Dukes could also see action, and the coaches could make a tough decision about the redshirt of freshman Akeel Lynch.
Regardless of who is carrying the football, O'Brien wants to establish the run more than Penn State did last week, when the Nittany Lions had 22 runs and 48 pass attempts.
"I think I've got to do a better job there," said O'Brien, who calls the offensive plays. "I think we need to be more balanced. We can run the football. We've got a tough offensive line. I think probably one of the units that played the best on Saturday was our offensive line."
Later, O'Brien was asked if he thought his defense got tired in the second half. He said he believed the effort was there, just not the playmaking Penn State needed to hold off Ohio's comeback.
"I think our team is in pretty good condition, and I think it's more just making sure that we go out there and show the guys that, that it's a very fine line between winning and losing," O'Brien said. "It's the team that doesn't turn it over, it's the team that makes plays in critical situations that usually wins the game."
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