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LIVE -- O'Brien spring news conference updates

  • A few minutes from getting started here in the Beaver Stadium media room.

    I'll post as fast as my fingers can type.

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  • Here we go ...

    First question (starting in the media room today): Concerns about replacing leadership..

    "I wouldn't say it's a concern, it's more that eery year's different. There's a group of guys from last yeaer's team -- Urschel, Carson, Amos -- that certainly have leadership ability and were part of that leadership last year. ... This year is a different year and we've got some good guys coming back that were leaders last year."

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  • What has you most excited going into spring practice and biggest concerns?

    "I'm excited to be off the banquet circuit and back on the field coaching. What we all love to do is coach and be on the field and watch these guys improve from day to day. We work with a bunch of really good kids ... looking forward to how the quarterbacks progress every day, watching the defense and how they progress, the position battles at running back and tight end and defensive line ..."

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  • On linebackers:

    "We don't have a lot of depth at linebacker. That's for sure. We have guys there that plyaed a lot of ball for us last year -- Carson, Hull. Wartman we think has a bright future. Kline won't be there in teh spring.

    "I'm looking forward to watching Hull, Carson and Wartman play together, because they didn't play together much last year. All three of those guys have had excellent offseasons. Carson and Hull have worked hard, they're leaders on this football team. ... It's going to be imperative for myself to monitor that and make sure we're not giving those guys too many reps."

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  • Tony Mancuso ‏@GoPSUTony

    Watch the press conference here LIVE: http://bit.ly/147kLhe

  • On QB competition:

    "It's fun when you're working wiht the type of guys we're working with right now. We have a smart room, a hungry room. They ask great questions and they want to be coached. ... With this position battle we're going to let it play out. At the end of the day we'll obviously have to name a starter. I'm not a big fan of alternating quarterbacks; I'm not saying we'll never do that but I'm really not into that."

    "Kline out, Carter non-contact, Obeng non-contact. Breneman will be full-go but we're really going to monitor him. Basically everybody else is going to be out there."

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  • On Butler:

    "The foundation, the terms, the language of the defense will stay the same. John is an excellent football coach. He's very detailed, intense, a quick thinker, he's done it before. He's a very bright guy. I enjoy coaching with him and he's going to do a great job for us."

    On running backs:

    "I think all three of those guys can catch the ball. You've got three very different skill sets. Zwinak 235-240 pounds -- tough, strong guy. A guy like Belton not as big as Zwinak, got good quickness, lost some weight, in better condition. Theny you've got Akeel Lynch had a tremendous offseason in the weight room. Somewhere in between size-wise, all the things I talked about with Zwinak and Belton. I'll have to do a good job of putting them in the right spot to take advantage of what they do best."

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  • On DTs:

    "We'll have to monitor Jones' reps. We have high expectations for him going into nexdt year. WE've got Baublitz, he'll play a lot this spring, play a lot next year. Austin Johnson we think has a chance to be a really good player, hopefully sooner than later. Then we've got Derek Dowrey and Brian Gaia. Two tough guys who gave us a lot of problems on the scout team last year. ... We feel good about what's there. There's not a lot there, but there's enough there, have to do a good job rotating those guys in and out."

    On center:

    "Ty Howle will be the starter gonig into the spring. We've got Wendy Laurent who will play there too and Angelo Mangiro -- he's got a little bit of a hamstring issue right now, so he won't be there initially. ... We teach just about everybody to be a center. Some guys play all five positions, which is really extraordinary."

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  • On comfort level after a year:

    "I understand the players better, I believe they understand us better. The staff really understands how we work, when we meet, expectations. I know how to get around better from point A to point B. I know people better. Maybe they're starting to figure out my sense of humor, though I don't know."

    On punters:

    "We have a number of guys that will help us in the kicking department. Sam and Alex will be our kicker and punter. Skinner ... came over and tried out, we thought there was some potential there that's why he's over here."

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  • On Hackenberg:

    "Certainly he'll be in the mix (come August). At every single position, we're going to play the best players. Christian will come in and we'll teach him the offense and give him some reps and see how he does."

    On depth issues:

    "There are some depth issues just strictly numbers. It's not because of lack of talent. But just based on numbers there are some depth issues, so a guy like Bell or Issah, we'll be looking for those guys to come in in the summer and see what they can do. Can they help us on special teams? As we look at the offensive line position, we think we have three guys coming in there that can add depth, defensive line the same way, secondary the same way. ... I think we're still dealing with a little bit of the same situation we dealt with in 12. I think where it gets difficult is 14, 15, 16."

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  • On Baublitz:

    "I see him as a really good guy. A smart guy off the field that's a good player and tough player. He'll play for us next year and we rotate a lot of guys in and out of that position. He'll be in that rotation as long as he continues to improve and stays healthy."

    On would he like to redshirt Hack:

    "That is not necessarily the case. ... You would like to play the best players. You want to go out on Aug. 31 with the best players. WE're a long way from that. WE don't look at anybody and say we're definitely going to redshirt you. The further you get away from the ball, it's a little easier to play as a freshman. All those freshmen will come in and have a chance to compete."

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  • On personnel moves:

    "We moved Gilliam from TE to tackle. So far that's been a really good move just from what he's done in the weight room ... how he's adapted from that positon. Then we have Golden ... we may work half the practices with him on defense and half on offense. We also moved Cadogan from offensive tackle to defensive tackle we're going to maybe look at him half and half too."

    On Bench and Ferguson:

    "There are some similarities. They're two different people. I would say Steven probably knows it a little better than Tyler righ tnow, just because he's been here for a year. They both want to be coached, both on time, sit in the front row and take notes. It's a fun group to be around. We have Whipple and Crook in that room, too."

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  • On being in the area a year:

    "When you're a coach and it's a coaching family. Chuck Pagano said when we move, we just stuff our things in a box and go to the next stop. Our wives are in charge of selling the house and finding a school and all the new things. Colleen has done a great job of acclimating to the area. We love going to those sporting events, especially my son Michael. I've been to a bunch of events and I really enjoy it."

    On Zwinak having a leg up:

    "He'll go in as the starter. It's a new year. He knows that. Billy knows that. We're going to do a better job of putting those guys in spots that take advantage of their skill sets. That running back position will always be competitive."

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  • On Wartman:

    He impressed me last year just picking up the system. Just like all young players he had to get in better condition. Get stronger. He's a bright student off the field. He's done well in school. He's a high character guy. In the offseason he's had a good time in the weight room."

    On Ficken and Butterworth:

    "Butterworth won specialist of the year. Had a really good training session. I just want those guys to be more consistent. Want them to do it confidently. Sam Ficken should be confident -- he's made some big kicks for us. ... I want Butters to be more consistent. Want to see the improvement and strenght on the field. He's a good plus 50 punter. Dropping it inside the 10 yard line. Now we gotta see if he can do it when we're back further."

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