It very well could have been one of his most recent boss postgame news conferences.
Bill OBrien spent a terse 8 1/2 minutes with reporters after a 24-14 loss against Ohio in his debut and he sounded a lot more like Bill Belichick than the man who has been so eloquent since taking over the embattled Penn State football program in January. The honeymoon is definitely over.
Honestly, you couldnt blame OBrien for being a little edgy. He had just watched his team blow a 14-3 halftime lead, getting outgained by nearly 200 yards in the second half by a team albeit a good one from the Mid-American Conference.
You got the feeling that OBrien would have rather bolted immediately to the film room to try to find out why the Bobcats converted on 11 of 12 third downs and racked up 301 yards in the second half against a defense that was supposed to be the Nittany Lions strength. Maybe he could find an answer to why his NFL-style offense netted just 115 yards and no points after the halftime break and got outrushed 175-92 for the game.
Instead, he faced a packed house that was looking for answers.
While there were multiple candidates to throw under a blue bus, OBrien fell on his sword.
We didnt win the game, OBrien said. It comes down to me being the head football coach. I have to get this team ready to play.
For the first 30 minutes, he and his staff appeared to have done just that. The Nittany Lions, under quarterback Matt McGloin, moved the ball, though thanks to a fumble, they had just seven points to show for it until freshman Nyeem Wartman blocked a punt late in the half. Wartmans block led to a short 18-yard touchdown drive.
OBrien even showed some guts, going on fourth-and-2 and making it from near midfield on the Nittany Lions first series.
But, everything fell apart in the final 30 minutes. Maybe it started with a deflected pass a quacker from Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton that should have been picked off by Stephen Obeng-Agyapong that went for a 43-yard touchdown, but it ended with a Penn State defense that couldnt get off the field and a Nittany Lions offense that couldnt keep its defense off the field.
While OBriens postgame gesture was noble, his troops knew that coaching wasnt the only problem this warm Saturday afternoon before 97,186 fans.
I think its very admirable for him to say that, said guard John Urschel. I think we all need to do better individually and we need to do better as a football team.
He did a great job today, said McGloin, who was 27-of-48 for 260 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. Its on us. We just didnt make the plays when we needed to.
Safety Malcolm Willis spoke at length after the contest about how the game comes down to just that making plays.
Tettleton (31-for-41 for 324 yards) and tailback Beau Blankenship (31 carries, 119 yards) made the difference for Ohio.
When it comes down to it, a football player has to make plays, Willis said.
Part of the problem, Willis said was confusion and maybe that was part of what OBrien was alluding to about the coaching.
People had mental busts sometimes, Willis said.
And some people just didnt play well and they know it.
I think its very important that were all accountable for what we didnt do or our shortcomings individually as units, Urschel said. (OBrien) might say he needs to do better as a coach, we certainly need to improve as players.
The good news for OBrien is that this one loss one that would have been considered devastating by Nittany Nation several years ago didnt dampen his players enthusiasm to improve.
Given what theyve gone through since the Sandusky child-sex scandal rocked the program last November, one loss even to a MAC team doesnt seem like the end of the world.
It seems like we are always trying to fight something and things arent going our way, McGloin said. Thats life and thats football. We have to keep fighting and keep trying to stay positive.
Of course, youre devastated after a loss, Willis said. If youre not upset that you lost, then you shouldnt be on this team, but weve got to move on.
Were not deflated at all, center Matt Stankiewitch added. Were going to stay very strong. Hiccups are going to happen. Speedbumps in the road are going to occur. What we have to do now is focus on what we did right and what we did wrong. Get better at the things we did wrong and make them right and get ready for the next game.
Maybe that readiness will put OBrien in a better mood. Next up is a trip south to Virginia and Scott Stadium isnt an easy environment to play in and win.
Weve got 11 games to go and were not packing it in, Urschel said. Were not giving up by any means. Were coming out on every Saturday with the intentions to win. Thats the expectation.
Their coach made that pretty clear.