Big Ten: Zac Dysert

New Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has finalized his staff with one of his most important hires.

O'Brien has tabbed Miami (Ohio) assistant Charlie Fisher to be Penn State's new quarterbacks coach. Although the team hasn't made an official announcement, O'Brien confirmed Fisher's hiring Friday to reporters.
"I've known him for a long time," O'Brien said. "[He's a] bright guy, sharp guy. He's had a lot of success and worked with some good quarterbacks. He worked with Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt and Zac Dysert last year. We're lucky to get him, and he'll start on Saturday."

Fisher spent just one season with Miami as the RedHawks' quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Miami ranked 14th nationally in pass offense (299.1 ypg) and 29th in pass efficiency (143.7 rating) last fall. Dysert ranked 14th nationally in total offense and 32nd in pass efficiency under Fisher's watch.

Fisher was one of few FBS assistants to coach two position groups. He spent the previous nine season at Vanderbilt, coaching wide receivers and running backs, and serving as the team's passing game coordinator. He also has served as Temple's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

O'Brien hired most of his staff weeks ago, and there were reports he would bring New England Patriots assistant George Godsey with him to State College to coach Penn State's quarterbacks. But Godsey is staying with the Pats.

Fisher has a major task ahead of him as he'll work with a quarterback group that has underperformed the past two seasons. Both Matthew McGloin and Rob Bolden boast starting experience but need to upgrade their play significantly for the 2012 season. Paul Jones, a promising player who hasn't been a factor because of academics, also is in the mix.

Penn State ranked 96th nationally in pass offense and 112th in pass efficiency this past season.

O'Brien won't have an offensive coordinator on his staff, and he'll be heavily involved with the team's offensive play calls this season. But Fisher also figures to have an important role in the team's offensive game plan, and the fact he has coordinator experience is key.

Penn State also on Friday announced Tim Bream as its new head athletic trainer for football. Bream spent the past 19 seasons in the Chicago Bears organization.

Here's Penn State's complete coaching staff for 2012:
  • Bill O'Brien, head coach
  • Stan Hixon, assistant head coach/wide receivers
  • Ted Roof, defensive coordinator
  • John Butler, secondary
  • Charlie Fisher, quarterbacks
  • Larry Johnson, defensive line
  • Charles London, running backs
  • Mac McWhorter , offensive line
  • John Strollo, tight ends
  • Ron Vanderlinden, linebackers

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Northwestern's defense has carried over its momentum from last week's win against Purdue, but the Wildcats once again can't put away an inferior team.

Miami (Ohio) is hanging around in the third quarter, trailing just 10-0 in the third quarter. Northwestern's defense has kept the RedHawks off the scoreboard, but the Wildcats once again can't run the football (54 yards). The offensive line has really underachieved this season for Northwestern, which needs to get quarterback Mike Kafka more involved in the run game.

The longer Northwestern lets this go, the better chance Miami makes it real interesting at the end. Zac Dysert is making plays with his feet.

Big Ten picks: Week 6

October, 8, 2009
10/08/09
9:00
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

A 4-2 record last week with some in-the-ballpark score predictions. As the coaches say, let's try to get one week better.

Minnesota 28, Purdue 24 -- The Gophers know what happens when they let emotions linger after dropping their last five games in 2008. The Big Ten's most experienced team bounces back and limits mistakes on its home turf. Eric Decker goes for 120 receiving yards and DeLeon Eskridge rushes for a pair of touchdowns against Purdue, which drops another close one.

Northwestern 31, Miami (Ohio) 17 -- After generating six takeaways last week, Northwestern faces a Miami team that leads the nation in giveaways with 18. RedHawks freshman quarterback Zac Dysert makes plays early on, but NU cornerback Sherrick McManis and safety Brad Phillips force some mistakes. The Wildcats also get their running game on track.

Penn State 41, Eastern Illinois 10 -- Last week's win at Illinois gave Penn State some much-needed confidence in the run game, and the Lions will continue their momentum against Eastern Illinois. Running back Stephfon Green turns in another big performance, and defensive tackle Jared Odrick steps up for the line. Former Iowa quarterback Jake Christensen connects on a touchdown pass, but Penn State rolls.

Michigan State 31, Illinois 23 -- Eddie McGee gives a desperate Illini team an early spark, but Illinois reverts to form in the second half. Kirk Cousins tosses two touchdown passes and Larry Caper adds two more on the ground as the Spartans continue their momentum and avoid a letdown in Champaign.

Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 17 -- John Clay and an opportunistic Badgers defense gives Wisconsin a chance at The Shoe. Clay starts to produce in the second half, but Ohio State gets a big game from its own running back, Brandon Saine, while safety Kurt Coleman forces at least one turnover in his return as the Buckeyes hold on.

Indiana 20, Virginia 17 -- Tough one to call, but I like Indiana's chances because defensive ends Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton face a Virginia team that ranks last nationally in sacks allowed. The Hoosiers rack up five sacks and Kirlew forces a key fourth-quarter fumble that leads to the game-winning field goal.

Iowa 26, Michigan 21 -- Something tells me Iowa's streak of 33 consecutive quarters without a rushing touchdown allowed ends against the Wolverines, but the Hawkeyes' defense still stands strong in the end. Tate Forcier makes some plays for Michigan, but his counterpart Ricky Stanzi turns in a big second half as Iowa stays unbeaten at home.

Week 5 record: 4-2

Season record: 31-13 (.705)

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