PSU's Hull working way back to full strength
College Football Videos
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — After a long offseason of anticipation, the widely projected breakout season of Mike Hull was halted abruptly after all of one quarter.
One month and five days later, Hull finally made it through a full game as a starting Penn State outside linebacker during his redshirt junior season.
“For the last five weeks I've been kind of frustrated not being out there with the guys,” Hull said shortly after the Nittany Lions' 44-24 loss Saturday at Indiana. “So it was good being out there.”
Hull sustained a right- knee injury early in the season-opening win against Syracuse. The injury did not appear serious. Hull came back and played a limited number of snaps that day at muggy MetLife Stadium. Also, coach Bill O'Brien told the Big Ten Network two days later that Hull was “probable” for Penn State's next game.
But Hull didn't play in that Sept. 7 contest. Nor did he play in the Sept. 21 home game against Kent State. Hull was in uniform for a loss against Central Florida on Sept. 14, but it was clear he was not his athletic, playmaking self.
Hull still wasn't completely back Saturday at Indiana — he termed himself at 90-95 percent — but he was much better than he was against UCF.
“It was like night and day,” Hull said. “I tried to give it a go during the (UCF) game because it just tore me up not playing. But it was a lot better (Saturday).”
Hull, a Canon-McMillan graduate, had a half-sack among his 10 total tackles, which tied for the team lead against the Hoosiers. Hull's six solo tackles were tied for second behind linebacker Glenn Carson.
Hull didn't suffer a setback during the loss to the Knights. “I just needed more time,” he said.
Hull endured a pair of two-hour rehab sessions per day. The only reward he had during a five-week span was being relegated to watching his teammates play to a 3-1 nonconference record. The payoff came after the Lions' bye week, which coincided with the start of Big Ten play.
“It doesn't really bother me too much when I'm out there,” Hull said after a game in which Indiana had 486 yards of offense.
“I'm expected to make plays, and I've just got to step up and make plays. Today I hurt my team some. So I've just got to step up.”
Hull's teammates refute his assertion that he was a liability, implying it's purely coincidental that the two games this season in which Hull played the most just happen to be Penn State's only defeats.
“I'm sure that's really just the competitiveness in Mike Hull, trying to take the personal blame,” Carson said. “The bottom line is the kid's gonna play his heart out for us every snap. He's someone who's a real pleasure to play with.”
Penn State's next two games are against conference powers Michigan and Ohio State. The Lions figure to need a full-strength Hull to have a chance against the Big Ten's remaining unbeatens.
“He's playing hurt — he's all wrapped up and got a knee brace all over it — but he's playing tough,” O'Brien said. “He's a fantastic kid, a great example of what we're all about. And I think he'll continue to play hurt. That's just the kind of kid he is.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Some White Oak students arrive home an hour late
- West Mifflin mayor names business, citizen of the year
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- Bryant suspension opens doors for other Steelers’ receivers
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Starkey: The kick returner and the grizzly bear
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison believes Goodell will prevail in Brady ruling
- Suspect in 2 bank robberies arrested
- Plan to air Tuesday in McKeesport
- Wilmerding moves to fix Ice Plant
- Gorman: East Allegheny’s Edwards performs juggling act