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Senior fullback was up next. Here's what he had to say:
Being one of the senior leaders, what kind of leadership have you gotten from underclassmen?
"There have been lot of young guys that have stepped up and made a lot of great plays and just kind of labeled themselves as playmakers."
Can you give us some perspective on how tricky offense has been to pick up?
"We just started learning it in the spring and it was very basic with what we learned. There's a lot of different formations, sets and a lot of different personnel. You have to learn new spots and which way to line up."
How much pride do you guys take in helping everyone move forward?
"We take a lot of pride in that. We played for such a great guy in Joe Paterno and this place means a lot to us, more than just football. We know what we're going through is tough and the times that Penn State has are very hard but we also know the power football has to bring people together. You look at New Orleans back at Katrina when they were down and out and the Saints won the Super Bowl and that city's been improving ever since. We know it can't heal everything but we know it can help."
Has McGloin displayed more confidence since being named starter?
"You can definitely see a whole lot more confidence. He knows what he's doing in his throws and decisions and it shows on the field. It helps a lot when you're not in the middle of a quarterback controversy. You can miss a throw and know you're not going to get pulled."
How have senior leaders worked with each other to keep offense grounded?
"We all have our own personalities and relationships with the guys on offense. We just have fun and joke around with each other. We're all friends at the end of the day. We're teammates, we have fun together. There's no secret to it. You just be yourself, work hard, concentrate on keeping guys motivated and making sure guys know their assignments, then go have fun.
On team bonding activities
"The team's very close, the paintball, the bowling, it's fun. It's a way for us to go out and have a good time together."
Talk about O'Brien's coaching style and what was it about him that made players stick around?
"Coach has a lot of fun with this guys but at the same time guys are a little scared. They listen to everything he says and make sure they do what we says. There's a method to every little bit of his madness that he goes through. He's always got things under control. One of the main things that made a lot of the guys stay, he's also hit his trust. They trust the guy, and they should. We're very happy that they made those decisions."
Have you allowed yourself to think of scene at opener?
"I think it's going to be a very emotional day. It's going to mean a lot personally for me, with my family and everything that's been through here. It's going to mean a whole lot for me personally who could be a part of this new era and be remembered for playing for Coach Paterno. After all we've been through, we're all just really ready to get out there and go play and get after it."
What are you scared of with O'Brien and what's the quality of Mike Mauti's hitting now compared to after his last ACL injury?
"He's really the same player he's always been. Always fast physical and knows how to hit. Don't think injury's affected him much at all. Coach O'Brien … his demeanor is very strong, just people listen when he talks."
How have ones vs. ones drills helped prepare you for the season?
"We pretty much do that in every practice. It just helps with the speed of the game. You get used to tacking and hitting and blocking guys that are moving at your pace, at your skill level. It just helps with the overall intensity of practice."
How will you be used in this offense? Fullbacks didn't get much love in New England.
"They didn't use it too much in New England, but I basically play one of those F spots, fullback, H-back, kind of do a little bit of everything. I have fun with it."
What did Navy SEAL Rick Slater tell you during his speech?
"He said a lot of things and was inspirational and motivating. It was awesome. He just said everything's riding on this season. The future of the program, the past, all the guys who used to play here. Everything's riding on this season and it's very important for us to go out and make things happen for the university."
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