The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

November 27, 2013

College football: Final game of year two of O'Brien era

By Tim Owen

For The Daily Item

STATE COLLEGE -- Year two of the Bill O'Brien era at Penn State is one game from its conclusion.

After an 8-4 inaugural season, which was bookended by several coach of the year honors, O'Brien and his Nittany Lions sit at 6-5 heading into their 2013 season finale at No. 14 Wisconsin (9-2, 7-1 Big Ten). A win grants Penn State a formidable 7-5 record, something O'Brien acknowledges as a morale boost heading into off-season workouts and recruiting trips.

"Obviously you are what your record says you are," O'Brien said at his final regular-season press conference Tuesday. "So we're a 6"'5 team, barely above .500 with a chance to be 7"'5 or 6"'6. Certainly the season has had its ups and downs. It hasn't been a consistent season, but I do think there's been a lot of positives."

A win at Camp Randall Stadium could be the biggest positive. O'Brien said he and his assistants will hit the road next Monday to recruit. Most recently Penn State landed a verbal commitment from junior college defensive lineman Tarow Barney after his official visit last weekend, according to Blue White Illustrated's Ryan Snyder.

Barney, a Class of 2014 prospect who will have three years to play two, fills an immediate need since both of Penn State's starting defensive tackles will play their final game Saturday.

O'Brien said he is pleased with the current state of his football program, but he said the future should be even brighter. He hopes to secure more prospects on the recruiting trail. A win against the Badgers should only help that cause.

"We feel good about the '14 class, and we feel good about the '15 class," O'Brien explained. "You're always trying to stay one step ahead, so we're recruiting hard with the 2015 class."

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