O'Brien says walk-on tryout may yield some players

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien says he and his staff found some players at an open tryout who may be able to help the football team.

Speaking Thursday night on his radio show, O’Brien estimated between 60 and 65 players showed up for the tryout on Wednesday and worked very hard to impress his staff.

“There were some guys in the group that can definitely help us in the future, and even right now,” he said.

O’Brien said he had to make sure the players were eligible to compete on the team, and that their academic schedule allowed them to do so.

“We’ll see where it goes when we tie up some of the loose ends and bring some of them on the football team,” he said.

During his weekly meeting with reporters Tuesday, O'Brien said he was interested to see if he could find some defensive backs to shore up an area that is not very deep. He did not say Thursday, however, if the players he'd like to add played there.

O’Brien said that third-string quarterback Paul Jones, who began working last week with the tight ends, continued to work hard and would see some action in Saturday’s game against Temple at Beaver Stadium.

“He’s working really hard at it,” he said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to reap the rewards of that soon.”

Speaking of quarterbacks, O’Brien said it’s difficult to get true freshman Steven Bench into the game because starter Matt McGloin is playing so well.

“Matt is having a solid year and getting better every week,” he said. “He’s the quarterback of our football team. I’m really happy with how he’s playing.

“As far as rotating (quarterbacks) and putting Steven into the game just to play him, right now that’s not in the plans.”

O’Brien also commented that he felt the perception of Penn State’s special teams “is not right.” Although Sam Ficken has missed four field goals and two extra points, he said the members of the Lions’ coverage teams “are playing with their hair on fire.”

“I’m confident Sam is working hard to improve and that our field goal team is working hard to improve,” he said. “But I’d rather score touchdowns than kick field goals, to be honest with you, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

--Joe Juliano