UNIVERSITY PARK - Bill O'Brien walked into his postgame press conference and immediately set a lighter tone by cracking a joke to reporters, "Everybody looks so serious again now."
The first question he was asked was whether he had fun or not.
"Sometimes," he said. "Nah, it was fun. It was a good day."
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Quarterback Shane McGregor, a Central Cambria High School graduate, looks for an open receiver. McGregor, fourth on the depth chart at QB for Penn State, was 4-of-4 for 47 yards on Saturday.
O'Brien showed the same type of composure and mix of humor and seriousness as in many of his public appearances. He was asked about his emotions on such a memorable day and replied, "I was very excited."
"It was really pretty neat for me to run out with the team," he added.
The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator later showed more of his down-to-earth personality when he was asked a question by a reporter wearing a Boston Red Sox hat.
"I love your hat. I love it," O'Brien said.
Boston is off to a 4-9 start, and the reporter mentioned the team is "having a hard time right now."
"We'll be all right," O'Brien said. "It's a 162-game season. Typical Red Sox fan."
Redd says health is good
Running back Silas Redd said last week he has been battling some tendinitis in his right knee, but he noted that had nothing to do with him seeing very little action Saturday.
"My rehab has been going pretty well, and it hasn't been giving me any problems lately," said Redd, who carried three times for 12 yards, with a long of 8.
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Sophomore cornerback Jesse Della Valle had an interception Saturday, while one of the best women's college basketball players in the country is Delaware's Elena Della Donne. That led to perhaps the best tweet of the day, by veteran PSU writer Gordie Jones: "If Elena Delle Donne married Jesse Della Valle, would she then become Elena Delle Donne-Della Valle?"
McGregor turns in solid game
Fourth-string quarterback Shane McGregor, from Central Cambria, made the most of his limited playing time as he was 4-for-4 for 47 yards, including a 27-yard pass to Justin Brown. McGregor came on for the third offensive series and led his unit to a touchdown, completing a 17-yard pass to Jesse James and then the big strike to Brown.
McGregor said he didn't get many reps this spring but added, "I knew that coming in" with Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones competing for the starting job.
"I like to say I probably lead the team in mental reps taken," McGregor said with a laugh.
He was asked about the complexity of the new offense, since he was able to play in it and observe it, and said, "Football is still football. There's only so many difference concepts you can do. It's all in the terminology. It's like if you speak French your whole life, then all of a sudden you're speaking Spanish. So that's been an adjustment."
If you're keeping score at home ...
The new scoring system for the Blue-White Game led to a humorous moment in the press box in the second half as the official scorers got into a debate over whether or not points should have been awarded following back-to-back first downs.
With a final score of 77-65, it's a wonder they were able to keep up with all the nuances of the system, which awarded points to the offense and defense for making big plays.
Center Matt Stankiewitch received the Red Worrell award, given to an offensive player for exemplary conduct, loyalty, interest, attitude and improvement during spring practice.
"I had no idea it was coming until like a couple seconds before that," Stankiewitch said. "It means a lot that my parents were there able to see it."
Cornerback Stephon Morris received the Jim O'Hora award, given to a defensive player for the same characteristics.
"That was probably my main goal coming into this spring, to be honest," Morris said. "I walk past that wall every time, and I said, 'I want to be on that wall.' I wanted to get better each and every day. ... I always believed in my ability, but I feel like I'm going to take my game to a whole different level this upcoming season."
Guard John Urschel received the Frank Patrick award, given to a junior who consistently follows through with his responsibility in all facets of the program in an exemplary manner. Urschel, a math major, has a 4.0 GPA.
Redshirt freshman walk-on linebacker T.J. Rhattigan injured his left knee early in the scrimmage. His status was unclear afterward.
Senior linebacker James Van Fleet suffered a knee injury in practice this past week, and several media outlets reported it was a torn ACL. That would prevent Van Fleet from playing this fall and likely will end his career.
News and notes
Donovan Smith and Mike Farrell have been splitting reps at right tackle this spring, and Smith got the nod with the first-team offense. ... Chicago Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher was on hand for the game as a guest of head trainer Tim Bream, who once worked for the Bears. He was asked about O'Brien by the AP and said, "I know a good football coach when I see one, and that man knows how to win." ... The game pitted offense versus defense, so members of the special teams units had to wear red caps on top of their helmets. ... The Penn State Lionettes dance team, which performs at all home football games, won a national championship competition last week and was recognized after the third quarter. The team is coached by Sue (Cacciotti) Sherburne, an Altoona native.