CHICAGO; July 26, 2012 - Coach Bill O'Brien, senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Steelton), senior linebacker Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) and junior guard John Urschel (Williamsville, N.Y.) met with members of the media on Thursday during the opening session of the 2011 Big Ten Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago.
O'Brien made his first Big Ten Media Days appearance during a 15-minute scheduled press conference in front of a record number of media, with more than 600 being credentialed. O'Brien spoke to a variety of topics, with the start of training camp less than two weeks away, on August 6.
"These kids have a lot of pride in Penn State and pride in the university," O'Brien stated. "And, most importantly, they have tremendous commitment to each other."
O'Brien spoke about all the team's units, starting with the offensive line, which returns one starter in senior center Matt Stankiewitch (Orwigsburg).
"We've got some guys there that had excellent spring practices," O'Brien said about the offensive line. "We've got good depth there. We've got athletic guys there. We've got smart, tough guys there. So I've been pleased with the offensive line and also obviously their development in the weight room hopefully will show up when we start practice in August.
On senior quarterback Matt McGloin (Scranton), O'Brien stated: "He's smart, tough, competitive; I'm proud to have him as the starting quarterback at Penn State."
Hill, Mauti and Urschel all spoke about the strong spirit, commitment and the bond the Nittany Lions have developed since O'Brien was named the head coach on January 6 and in recent days.
"These last four days have showed how strong we are as a team, and how close we are," stated Urschel, who graduated in three years with a 4.0 grade-point average.
"We're playing for our team, we're playing for our coaches and we're playing for Penn State," said Hill, a candidate for the Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award
"I really feel the support from our alumni and our Penn State community," stated Mauti, a candidate for the Butkus Award. "There's a lot of support out there. I've had emails from the department heads of some of our colleges and alumni from every decade."
Friday's events begin with a one-on-one session with print and radio reporters for coaches and players starting at 9 a.m. ET. Players will then take part in the annual autograph session with Kickoff Luncheon attendees from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET while the Big Ten Football Saturday crew of Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will sit down with conference coaches to get their thoughts just days ahead of preseason camp.
Friday's coaches interviews will be featured on a 90-minute Big Ten Kickoff Special that will air Friday at 8 p.m. ET and re-air at 11:30 p.m. The 41st Annual Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, emceed by ESPN's Chris Fowler, wraps up the two days of events.
The Nittany Lions will be playing their 20th season as members of the Big Ten and 126th year overall this fall.
O'Brien's squad returns 34 letterwinners and nine starters for the upcoming season, as well as 16 players that have starting experience.
Fans will have the opportunity to purchase public single game tickets for the upcoming season starting on Friday, July 27. The sale will begin at 10:00 a.m. with tickets available at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets. Fans can also purchase single game tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY (648-8269) beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday. All tickets made available to the public will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Season tickets are available for the 2012 season, with the Nittany Lions hosting five teams that played in a bowl game last year, starting with Ohio on Sept. 1 (12 p.m.). Penn State also will host Ohio State (Oct. 27), Wisconsin (Nov. 24-Senior Day), Northwestern (Oct. 6-Homecoming), Indiana (Nov. 17), Navy (Sept. 15-Military Appreciation Day) and Temple (Sept. 22-All-University Day) in Beaver Stadium this fall.