O'Brien drops a few hints on Penn State pre-game routine

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien gives instruction to Penn State cornerback Stephon Morris. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien gave a few more clues on what fans can expect when he begins his tenure Saturday against Ohio at Beaver Stadium, particularly before the game.

Speaking for the first time Thursday night on his weekly radio show, O’Brien said he planned to run out on the field with the team before kickoff.

“My wife told me if I decide to do that, don’t trip,” he joked.

He also said the buses would arrive at Beaver Stadium between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, more than an hour earlier than the schedule under Joe Paterno, so fans “will have to get their mimosas a little earlier,” he said.

O’Brien will name captains for every game, and he said the identities of the captains for the opener will be revealed when they accompany him off the first bus at the stadium.

Just before the Lions take the field, O’Brien said his message to his team “won’t be a lot of rah-rah.

“It’s just about going out there and doing what you were coached to do,” he said. “I’ll tell them to be alert on the sidelines for substitutions, especially on special teams. Just do what we’ve been doing in practice, making good decisions and go out and play the ballgame.”

O’Brien will call the plays on Saturday and he said a big challenge will be getting them to starting quarterback Matt McGloin in a timely manner. It is a difference from O’Brien’s role last year as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, where he could communicate directly with quarterback Tom Brady.

“That’s been a big adjustment,” he said. “We have a couple of different ways of getting the plays into Matt. We’ve worked on that every day in training camp. We want to get the play in the huddle as fast as we can so he can break the huddle with 17 or 18 seconds left on the play clock.”

He said the difference from training camp is that he will be calling plays with around 108,000 people in the seats.

“It’s going to be loud,” he said. “So we’re going to have to do a great job of getting the plays in and communicating our personnel changes.”

O’Brien also said he will look for what he considers the three signs of having a tough football team: “Your ability to run the football, your ability to stop the run, and your ability to cover on kickoffs and punts where you make the tackle and try to force a turnover.”

--Joe Juliano