Penn State coach Bill O'Brien reiterated earlier this week that he doesn't pay much attention to awards or accolades -- especially those handed out in the middle of the season.
"I'm trying to figure it all out, like shouldn't the award lists come out when the season is over and we compile the whole 12‑game season?" O'Brien said Tuesday. "I don't know."
O'Brien may be unsure, but the national pundits are -- and many of them have honored the first-year coach and two of his senior leaders for an impressive four-game stretch.
Senior linebacker Mike Mauti was named second-team midseason All-American by SI.Com and Phil Steele's College Football. He is also ESPN.com's Big Ten Defensive MVP. Mauti leads the Nittany Lions and is fourth in the Big Ten with 57 tackles (32 solo).
Paulsboro native Gerald Hodges was named to Phil Steele's College Football's fourth-team midseason All-American team. The senior linebacker ranks second on Penn State and 10th in the Big Ten with 50 tackles.
And for O'Brien? He's leading in Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year's fan voting contest. He was also named the midseason coach of the year by several media outlets, including selections by columnists from ESPN.com (Gene Wojciechowski) and CBSSports.com (Dennis Dodd).
"I don't think any of these guys here really care about individual awards," O'Brien said Tuesday. "These are a bunch of competitive guys that love being a part of a team. They're team players. So I'm sure that they would tell you we just want to win because that's what they're all about."
Penn State (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten), coming off its bye week, travels to Iowa (4-2, 2-0) on Saturday.