By Tim Owen
For The Daily Item
Bill O'Brien picked up his first win as a head coach last Saturday, but at his weekly press conference Tuesday, he didn't want to dwell -- not on the 34-7 win over Navy, not on the previous two losses, and most certainly not on Penn State's 71-year dominance over Temple, the next opponent on his schedule.
When Temple (1-1) visits Penn State (1-2) Saturday in Beaver Stadium for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff, the Owls will be riding a 36-game losing streak to the Nittany Lions. (Temple hasn't beaten Penn State since 1941.) But O'Brien, who is in his first year in Happy Valley, doesn't care about the past.
"I don't know what they were like in 1940," O'Brien said as he sat at the dais in the Beaver Stadium press room, "but in 2012 this is an excellent Temple team with a bunch of good players. It started when Al Golden was there, and Steve Addazio has done a great job of keeping it going. This is a good football team. These guys had, what five or six guys off last year's team drafted? It looks like they've got a bunch of draft picks on this football team right now. So I don't know about series or win streaks or anything. All I know is that this is going to be a very, very tough football game on Saturday."
Addazio, Temple's second-year head coach, echoed a similar comment to his counterpart O'Brien, a longtime friend and fellow New England native. He's not focused on the history, either, even if a win marks just the fourth for Temple in the 41-game series.
"We approach this game just like every other game," Addazio said. "You're going in there, going into a hornet's nest. You're playing a really good football team. Their defense is real strong, every bit as strong as it was a year ago. They're still Penn State."
INJURY REPORT: Penn State was without its two starting running backs for its win against Navy, and it seems likely that they will be out again versus Temple. O'Brien said Bill Belton (ankle) and Derek Day (shoulder) are still recovering, and per the Penn State press release, their status is possible.
"I would say that Day's probably a little bit ahead of Belton as far as where they are injury"'wise," O'Brien said. "But they're both, no pun intended, day-to-day. We will just continue to monitor that."
According to the press release, defensive end Pete Massaro and freshman linebacker Nyeem Wartman, both with knee injuries, are out for Saturday's game. Donovan Smith (knee/ankle), the standout redshirt freshman offensive tackle, is also day-to-day, per O'Brien.
"I know you guys hate that answer, but it's the truth," he said. "If (Smith) comes out (Tuesday) and he can move around, then maybe he's got a better chance to play. If he comes out and he's gimpy, then he probably won't play."
BLUE OUT: Saturday's game is scheduled to be a Blue Out, in which the fans are being asked to wear blue in support of child sexual abuse victims.
"I believe it's going to be a great day for the Penn State community," he said. "I think it's going to be a very, very tough football game, but I believe there will be another great crowd. The crowds have been really awesome, the student body, the crowds. Now to have the crowd dressed in blue t-shirts for the Blue Out game, and helping … to have awareness of the child abuse problem in this country and everywhere, I think it's going to be a great day. I can't say enough about (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape) and what they do in Pennsylvania. We're just a small part of PCAR, just trying to help them put an end to child abuse."