But like with the rest of the Nittany Lions, Bill O’Brien sees this week of practice as a major chance for the true freshman to get even better.
“He's a bright kid,” O’Brien says of his starting QB. “He's been able to pick up so many different things in our offense, so it's more me doing a better job with him than him doing a better job, to be honest with you.”
Trying to do a "better job" of coaching Hackenberg.
One of O’Brien's ways of saying he and his QB are still figuring each other out.
After all, Hackenberg and the head coach have only been able to work together since the start of camp last month.
“Now he knows what I'm like on game day and I know what he's like,” O’Brien says. “It's going to be interesting going forward.”
One place to build on is pushing the pace of play.
O’Brien was light on the gas pedal in the opener, barely revving the engine of the Nittany Lions' NASCAR no-huddle offense.
“We didn't do it that much, we did it some,” O’Brien says of pushing the tempo. “When we did do it, I thought he did a nice job of it. He's got good poise, he's a smart guy.”
Teammates say they too noticed Hackenberg's poise and confidence shining bright on the big stage of MetLife Stadium.
Senior center Ty Howle calls those intangibles half the battle when looking for a win.
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