Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien and his staff opened up workouts to the media early on Friday morning, and spoke to a group of reporters before departing.
The biggest news item out of the session came when O'Brien confirmed the hiring of the final member of his staff.
"We've hired Charlie Fisher, he'll be the quarterbacks coach," said O'Brien. "He's coming to us from Miami of Ohio. I've known him for a long time, he's a bright guy, sharp guy, has had a lot of success and has coached a lot of good quarterbacks. He worked with Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt and just had Zac Dysert last year at Miami of Ohio. So we're lucky to get him, he'll start on Saturday."
Opening the workouts was an unprecedented happening in a program that has been clouded by secrecy for a long time. O'Brien said that being transparent is one thing that his staff has emphasized.
"I think it's really important for people to see that these guys are working really hard," said O'Brien. "We've got a great staff here, we've got a bunch of junior prospects coming in on Saturday, and we feel that we're building something here, we're just starting. There's no light at the end of the tunnel right now, we've got a long way to go, I just wanted to give you guys a chance to see how hard these guys are working."
The morning workouts are also vital to the team's success next fall.
"It's really important. It's important for these guys to understand that when you walk off this field, there's a winner and a loser," he said. "That's what we're doing right now, so as soon as they understand that, when we're out here, that's what it's all about. You either win or you lose, there's really no gray area in football. We try to make it fun, but at the same time we make them understand who's won and who's lost.
"We want guys that are moving, we want guys that play fast, we want guys that are in great condition, we're going to try to play at a high tempo next year and we want guys that are trying to get stronger every day. We want to move weight, and that's what's really important."
The new coaching staff has been able to observe the players that they have inherited on the current roster, and have noted who has stepped to the front of the pack.
"It's always important to come out here and see the guys that are pushing each other and the guys that kind of stand out, the guys that get to the front of the line," said O'Brien. "That's always important. The coaches being out here is really good because we can observe. We're new and we're trying to evaluate the roster at the same time. You're looking at skill set, but you're also looking at leadership qualities. So this is good for that, too."
O'Brien said that he is hoping a change in the outlook of the strength and conditioning program, featuring new assistant Craig Fitzgerald, will take the team to the next level.
"I just mean that, in the Penn State tradition, there's obviously been a lot of great teams and hard working teams," he said. "We've got a long way to go, but we've got a great group of guys here that are working hard and we'll show up next year."
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