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Penn State football notebook: O'Brien has pitch for recruits

| Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

• Coach Bill O'Brien provided insight into the pitch he has been making to prospective recruits when he expressed optimism over Penn State's ability to recruit despite severe NCAA sanctions. “This is a place where you can play great football with great kids as teammates and get a fantastic degree,” O'Brien said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “You can play in front of 100,000 people. You can play on national TV. Every NFL team has been in here to scout our players already this year. So you're going to have exposure to that. You are going to play for a coaching staff that has NFL experience, national championship experience.” O'Brien said Penn State has hosted between 40 and 50 high school players at all three home games. “I've been very, very impressed with the fact that people really, really enjoy being recruited by us, coming to the games here,” O'Brien said.

• O'Brien made a plea to Penn State's students in regard to the noon game Saturday against visiting and unbeaten Northwestern. “I just need them in the stands at noon going nuts for this football team because we have got to have a great home-field advantage, and these guys really feed off of that,” O'Brien said.

• O'Brien plans to stay with a running back by committee approach even with starter Bill Belton, who missed three games because of a sprained ankle, back in the rotation. “Nobody is going to carry it 30 times for us,” O'Brien said. “It's more about that 10- to 15-carry range probably right now. Things change as the season goes on.”

• Defensive end Pete Massaro will play against Northwestern barring a setback this week in practice, O'Brien said. Massaro has missed the past three games because of shoulder and knee injuries.

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