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Penn State LB Kline Out For Season

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Bill OBriens mid-November concern is more about how his Penn State team will play down the stretch not whether it has something to play for.

The second-year coach has been able to motivate his Nittany Lions time and again after facing adversity. And now as that has happened again this is just the way hes going to handle it.

Like it or not.

People question, What is there to play for? Theres a lot to play for, OBrien said Tuesday. Theres the respect of your opponent, theres your teammates, theres the tradition of Penn State football.

At Penn State, there will never be a question of what is there to play for.

OBrien stressed that team morale is not an issue. Instead, inconsistent play throughout a 5-4 season tops his checklist heading into Saturdays home game against Purdue (1-8).

Season-opening victories over Syracuse and Eastern Michigan have been followed by a weekly dose of losing a game and winning the next.

Penn State yielded 24 first-half points to Minnesota, then held the Gophers scoreless in a 24-10 loss last week. The Nittany Lions are 0-3 in road games.

Were coming off a loss, OBrien said. We need to come out and play well. Weve had an up-and-down year.

Obviously, we havent always coached the best, we havent always played the best, but weve done some good things, too. The four teams weve lost to have a (28-8) record. When we play teams like that, we dont have a lot of margin for error.

We have to come out ready to go and try to play mistake-free football and play as well as we can.

Turnovers have plagued Penn State throughout the season and the Minnesota game was no different.

Running back Bill Belton fumbled on Penn States first offensive play, and quarterback Christian Hackenberg mishandled a snap late in the fourth quarter at Minnesotas 1-yard line.

We tell them, when youre a ball carrier on this team, youre carrying the hopes and dreams of this football team, and thats what you try to relay to those guys, OBrien said. And the guys ... they dont mean to fumble. Its just something that happens and you have to try to correct it and you have to stop doing it.

The Lions are last in the Big Ten in turnover margin at minus-7, one behind Purdue (minus-6).

We dont yell and scream at them, OBrien said. We teach them, we love teaching them, we really enjoy coaching these kids and we just continue to teach them and figure out better ways to coach them.

Its a little bit of up and down. We have to try to smooth it out over the next few weeks.


Linebacker Ben Kline is out for the season. OBrien said Kline will undergo surgery for a torn pectoral muscle which he injured on the second play vs. Minnesota. Kline also must have shoulder surgery, but OBrien expects him to return for his junior season. ... OBrien also said Allen Robinson, the countrys fourth-leading receiver with 1,106 yards on 73 catches, has a shoulder issue but is expected to play against Purdue. ... OBrien said Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton will continue to rotate at the running back position. Zwinak rushed for 150 yards against Minnesota; Belton ran for 201 against Illinois the week prior. ... Third-team running back Akeel Lynch sprained a knee against Ohio State but is back in the practice rotation, OBrien said.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times