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Penn State Football: Bill O’Brien Downplays Coach of the Year Talk

by on October 09, 2012 1:50 PM

The farthest thing from Bill O’Brien’s mind nowadays is whether or not he’s worthy of being national or Big Ten Coach of the Year.

He’s led Penn State to four straight victories after an 0-2 start, all amid crushing NCAA sanctions in conjunction with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

“We’re 4-2 and we have murderer’s row coming up here starting with Iowa,” O’Brien said Tuesday afternoon on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. “There’s a lot of great coaches in this country. I’ve only coached six games in my whole career.

“That’s the farthest thing from my mind.”

Saturday’s 39-28 victory against Northwestern prompted several national media heads to take to Twitter to voice their opinion that O’Brien deserved coach of the year consideration. Among them:

Dennis Dodd, "Going to go ahead and say it since PSU is off next week. Halfway through the season, Bill O'Brien. Coach. Of. The. Year."

ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit: "Bill O'Brien early front runner for Big 10 coach of the year with all that he and his team have had to overcome!"

Penn State, off this week, visits Iowa on Oct. 20 (8 p.m., Big Ten Network).

Belton Probably Not 100 percent

O’Brien didn’t exactly make waves when he said Tuesday that sophomore running back Bill Belton is probably not 100 percent. That seemed likely judging by his limited play Saturday against Northwestern, receiving just five touches.

Belton suffered a high ankle sprain in the Sept. 1 season opener and only returned to action Sept. 29 at Illinois. Belton was moved from wide receiver to running back in the offseason.

“It’s a new offense. He’s out for a few weeks, now he’s back and trying to get back in the groove of things,” O’Brien said. “I do think this bye week will help him heal up but also get in the rhythm of the offense.”

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Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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