O'Brien again called for fans to be in the stands early because he said it pumps up his players. Penn State has had attendances of 97,186; 98,792; 93,680 and 95,769 for its four games in Beaver Stadium this season. Given the excitement in town for the Ohio State contest, it should top 100,000 fans on Saturday.
After being sanctioned in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case this summer, the Nits are unable to play in a bowl game. So, a win against Ohio State could mean more than just the continuation of an undefeated Big Ten record - it could help recruiting in the future.
But O'Brien says he's not focused on that.
"Recruiting at the end of the day, to me, is more about a fit. It's not about winning a game and you're going to beat them in recruiting," O'Brien said. "To me, that's not what it's all about. As far as playing football goes, this is a great college football game in what will be a great college football atmosphere against a team that has the same type of tradition and history as Penn State.
"To me, this is what college football is all about, the game itself."
Tuesday was also Bill O'Brien's 43rd birthday.
Little did he know.
"I found out it was my birthday when my older brother texted me. He said happy birthday, so that's when I figured it was my birthday," O'Brien said.
But O'Brien isn't really a fan of the day.
"I'm not a big birthday guy," he said. "My wife will list all the things I really don't enjoy: birthdays, weddings, theme parks, the beach."
Special teams woes
There is no question that special teams have been the greatest weakness of Penn State's three units this season. Sam Ficken's poor kicking was a huge reason the Lions lost to Virginia in Week 2, and Northwestern and Iowa returned a punt and a kickoff, respectively, for touchdowns in the last two games.
O'Brien noted the special teams need to get better.
"That wasn't very good football. I believe we're better than that," O'Brien said. "I think in the Iowa game, we somewhat relaxed on that play, and we've spent the last day-and-a-half correcting that."
O'Brien did make a point to say that his kickoff coverage has been sound all season. Ohio State is in the middle of the Big Ten pack in kickoff returns, sixth with 20.9 yards per return. The Buckeyes are fourth in average punt return yardage with 9.2, and have two touchdowns in that category.
McGloin the speedster
When a reporter began a question by saying quarterback Matt McGloin is not a dual-threat quarterback, O'Brien said, "What are you talkin' about? Did you see the Northwestern game?"
Later in the news conference, fullback Mike Zordich would also joke about McGloin, saying McGloin's status as a dual-threat option is "debatable."
But although his teammates love to make light of it, McGloin has certainly been elusive this season. The redshirt senior has only been sacked seven times in seven games this season, and has been able to avoid pressure.
"We mess around with him, because we always say he's not that athletic," Zordich said. "But he's very good at getting away from the pocket and evading pressure. It's very exciting.
" . . . I wouldn't go as far as calling him an athlete, but I'll give him credit for that."
Contact Tim Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org