O'Brien: Paul Jones wants to be a quarterback somewhere

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien said Thursday night that Paul Jones will transfer at the end of the semester with the hopes of becoming a starting quarterback somewhere.

Jones, who had dropped to third-team quarterback and hoped to get some playing time by shifting to tight end, left the team this week for personal reasons.

“Obviously it was a tough decision for Paul and for us,” O’Brien said on his weekly radio show. “Paul felt at the end of the day that he wanted a fresh start. He has decided to stay in school for this semester but he will transfer at the end of the semester, from what he told me.

“I wish Paul the best. I have a lot of great feelings for Paul. He’s a great kid. His dream is to be a starting quarterback somewhere and that’s what he’s going to try to do.”

O’Brien, whose team opens its Big Ten schedule on Saturday at Illinois, commented on the nine penalties that the Nittany Lions were assessed in last week’s 24-13 win over Temple, and implied that he didn’t agree with all of them.

“We had holding calls so one of the things we stressed this week was hands inside,” he said. “We had movement drills this week where players had to move their feet while blocking and keep their hands inside. We had alignment penalties; we should never have alignment penalties, and we worked on formations."

O’Brien then added, “We had some penalties where we didn’t do too much work, if you know what I mean.”

O’Brien said Bill Belton will be back at tailback for the Nittany Lions after sitting out the previous three games with a left ankle injury.

“We feel pretty good about the run game,” he said. “It’s good to have Belton back because he brings a different skill set to the running game with how he runs. We’ll rotate our running backs. It’ll be running back by committee again. We feel good about those guys. We’ll see how it goes Saturday. It’s a very tough Illinois team and we’ll have to run the football.”

--Joe Juliano