Penn State football team begins practices

With a roster of 86 players, the Penn State football team began practicing this morning with coach Bill O'Brien continually saying he wanted to focus on the present group rather than the nine who have left.

"I felt good about our football team," he said. "I felt good about their commitment to themselves to each other, to our coaching staff and to this university. I know some guys left, but that's OK. That was their individual decision."

The offense was hit particularly hard by departures, losing top running back Silas Redd and top wide receiver Justin Brown.

But O'Brien said his offense would not change.

"You don't have to retool everything," he said. "You know the next man up."

At the running back position, that man is clearly Bill Belton. O'Brien said he was the team's No. 1 running back option. He carried the ball for the bulk of the practice that was open to reporters.

Aside from the secondary, O'Brien said he felt comfortable with the depth at every position.

No significant players, he said, had major injuries as camp began, although safety Jacob Fagnano and tackle Donovan Smith had hamstring issues today.

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Mark Dent:, 412-439-3791 and on Twitter @mdent05. First Published August 6, 2012 3:15 PM


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