Steven Bench, LaRoy Reynolds

Forget wins, O’Brien’s biggest job is saving Penn State’s morale

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Support Penn State, or hate Penn State, everyone can agree they wouldn’t want to be Nittany Lions kicker Sam Ficken right now. Ficken, a sophomore, missed four field goals and had an extra point attempt blocked in a 17-16 loss to Virginia Saturday afternoon.

Penn State is now 0-2 on the season.

Bill O’Brien‘s team actually outgained Virginia in total yards and rushing yards — Virginia, for what it’s worth (nothing, obviously) had just 32 on the ground — but the most startling stat of all is the fact that the Nittany Lions could not do more with four Virginia turnovers.

Penn State’s defense is doing enough to put the team in a position to win, but things still aren’t clicking on offense the way they need to if this team is even going to get to six wins this year. The problem is Penn State just doesn’t have playmakers on offense. Or on special teams, apparently.

But what O’Brien needs to be concerned about is not who takes the field right now, but rather what goes on inside the heads of those who do. Against Ohio, there was an opening-weekend adrenaline mixed with the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky/NCAA mess that bred a mentality of “us against the world.”

Well, that didn’t work out too well. Now, the Nittany Lions are down two games that they very easily could have won. Don’t scoff, but Navy and Temple aren’t guaranteed W’s either — not now, anyway. And what about the Big Ten schedule? Teams are smelling the blood in the blood in the water.

So at what point do the players begin thinking to themselves maybe they can’t be successful this year? Maybe this is a lost cause? Don’t underestimate the amount of pressure placed on these players.

Perhaps two games is too soon to be talking about giving up, but O’Brien’s biggest job now becomes about keeping his players’ heads up before it’s too late.

Les Miles delivers an early contender for quote of the season

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers celebrates after defeating the Texas A&M Aggies 19-7 at Tiger Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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LSU coach Les Miles is one of the more interesting figures in college football, as you all know.

To that point: He’s had the market cornered on Australian punters for the last six seasons. First it was Brad Wing — who was awesome, unlike the officiating in that video — in 2010 and 2011, then it was Jamie Keehn, who punted for LSU from 2012-2015.

But fear not, LSU has another Aussie punter this year in redshirt freshman Josh Growden. Take it away, Les:

I can only imagine Miles is referring to this when he said “speak Australian:”

Ohio State WR Torrance Gibson suspended for 2016 season

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 19: Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes prior to the game Northern Illinois Huskies at Ohio Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)
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Ohio State suspended wide receiver Torrance Gibson for the season, but the decision to ban the redshirt freshman didn’t come from coach Urban Meyer or the athletic department.

Meyer made that distinction known on Monday, via ESPN.com:

“It was not from the athletic department or football,” Meyer said during his weekly news conference Monday. “I disagree with it.”

Meyer didn’t provide any details on what transpired or what, if anything, could be done about it given his opposition to the discipline. Ohio State has not commented on the nature of the violation.

Gibson was suspended for a violation of Ohio State’s student code of conduct. He was previously suspended for a game during the 2015 season, a year in which he redshirted.

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Georgia RB Nick Chubb won’t be on a ‘pitch count’ in opener

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Georgia coach Kirby Smart said running back Nick Chubb, who tore his PCL last year in a gruesome injury, is 100 percent ready to go for the Bulldogs’ opener Saturday against North Carolina.

Smart said Chubb won’t be on a “pitch count,” confirming that the star running back won’t be limited at all in Week 1. His availability will be key for a Georgia offense that hasn’t named a starter yet, though could very well go with true freshman Jacob Eason over senior Greyson Lambert.

Chubb, who was injured Oct. 10 last year in Georgia’s loss to Tennessee, carried 92 times for 747 yards with seven touchdowns in 2015. The junior has 2,294 yards and 21 touchdowns to his name since exploding onto the national scene as a freshman in 2014.

Kansas State will start Jesse Ertz at QB vs. Stanford

MANHATTAN, KS - SEPTEMBER 18:  Head coach Bill Snyder of the Kansas State Wildcats watches pre-game warm-ups prior to the game against the Auburn Tigers at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on September 18, 2014 in Manhattan, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Unlike his counterpart in Austin, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder revealed who his starting quarterback for Week 1 will be on today’s Big 12 teleconference.

Jesse Ertz, who started K-State’s season opener last year only to suffer a season-ending torn ACL on the first play of the game, will get the nod for the Wildcats’ opener at Stanford on Friday.

Ertz beat out Joe Huebner and Alex Denton to win the job back.

“In all reality, he’s been more consistent than the other two,” Snyder said.

K-State went 6-7 last year with Huebner as its quarterback and lost to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl. Huebner completed 47.6 percent of his passes for 1,837 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and also rushed 180 times for 613 yards with 13 touchdowns.

Ertz, a former two-star recruit from Burlington, Iowa, hadn’t appeared in a college game before suffering that season-ending injury against South Dakota State last year.