Open mic day at PSU spring game for O'Brien
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State coach Bill O'Brien offered insight into the passing game and a little levity at the Nittany Lions spring game after calling plays over the stadium loudspeakers.
"Don't make me yell at you,'' he yelled jokingly at a player before calling one play.
Another time, he encouraged fans to start a wave. They made a half-hearted attempt before it fizzled.
Otherwise, the starting quarterback race has been the highlight of spring drills that ended Saturday with the Blue-White scrimmage.
Steven Bench and Tyler Ferguson had their moments and mistakes. O'Brien has said he won't pick a starter until preseason camp in August, after incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg joins the competition.
The spring game has a different scoring system, with the defense beating the offense 67-47.
Bench started and finished 9 of 15 for 99 yards and a touchdown, while Ferguson was 9 of 15 for 90 yards and two scores. They operated a scaled-down playbook Saturday, though O'Brien has said he has installed more plays this spring to build on last year's success.
Otherwise, the offensive highlights were provided mainly in the running game, even with returning 1,000-yard rusher Zach Zwinak sitting out most of the afternoon after hurting his left wrist or hand on the opening drive. Backup Akeel Lynch ran for 83 yards on 13 carries, while Deron Thompson had 97 yards on 12 carries.
The pass rush looked good, registering nine sacks, including two from tackle Austin Johnson, who could replace standout Jordan Hill in the starting lineup come fall. Ends Brad Bars and Evan Schwan also had two sacks each.
Still, it's just spring practice, so players weren't hitting like they would be for hard-fought Big Ten contest.
It felt like early November on Saturday though, with intermittent snow showers interrupting brief bursts of sunshine. The wind whipped up hot dog wrappers in the air.
O'Brien praised the hearty crowd before turning off the microphone.
"OK, thank you fans,'' he said after the drive ended with a touchdown. "We'll see you in the fall.''