April 22, 2017
April 22, 2017
Penn State coordinators Postgame Quotes
April 22, 2017
Brent Pry | Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Q: What did you see out of Cam Brown today?
A: Cam Brown is a heck of a player and has shown flashes throughout the fall and spring. I’m not surprised that he performed today because it was kind of the next step to take and to play fast. The great thing about the spring game is you get to simplify the calls and let those guys that are still growing into their position get a chance to play a little faster, which is a good example for Cam’s play today.
Q: What did you see from the defensive ends after losing Garrett [Sickels] and Evan [Schwan]?
A: There is a lot of potential there. We have a lot of good candidates, but there are big shoes to fill. Over the last three years we have had some pretty good end play, not just last year. There is a good group of guys at that position that are competing and battling, so I’m encouraged by the competition and depth we can have there. We still have some work to do to find two guys who can equal the production that Schwan and Sickels had; that [Carl] Nassib and Sickels had last year and even back to C.J. Aloniyan and Deon Barnes before that. Torrence Brown is a veteran guy that we’re very excited about.
Q: Can you talk about the spring that Brandon Smith had?
A: Brandon had a great spring. He became more vocal which was an area he needed to grow in, get better at and take charge of the defense. I think he took ownership in that and took command of the defense. He got some work at the Mike and Will and he’s obviously positioned himself to play a lot of football for us.
Q: What kind of growth have you seen in Nick Scott from the start of camp just out here today?
A: Nick is a very mature and very physical player. He’s still learning the position, coming over from tailback and understanding the defense and he grew a lot that way this spring. He developed in some areas that we hoped he would and Nick is a guy that is going to play a lot of football for us defensively.
Q: [Jason] Cabinda was guy where early in his career he was forced into reps maybe he wouldn’t have had because of injuries and now [Manny] Bowen and [Cam] Brown are kind of the same way for you guys. At what point is that a benefit?
A: Experience is invaluable. Take Cam Brown for example – whether it was special teams or the when he was on the defense, there is no replacing that. We can do all of the practice reps and scrimmage reps, but out there under the lights against an opponent, that’s where the guys really grow. We’ve played freshmen at linebacker every year starting with [Jason] Cabinda and I think you saw a very mature football player last year as a three-year player. A guy that in some programs would be a redshirt-sophomore is out there as a true junior and is a proven veteran. That’s kind of the value I see. We played Jake Cooper and Manny Bowen as freshmen and this year Cam Brown. I think it’s a testament to those guys and I’m excited about the experiences they have as it makes them better players.
Charles Huff | Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs Coach
Q: What did you learn about the early enrollees, Lamont [Wade], KJ [Hamler] and some of the other guys?
A: You always want to see if it translates from high school to the college level with Lamont [Wade] and KJ [Hamler] and it did. They weren’t able to get in any live work because we were trying to protect those guys, but what we were able to see after reps and charting every catch was who was able to make decisions. Obviously catching the ball is difficult, but these guys do a decent job of catching the ball. The issue is the decision making. When do I sprint? When to be a little more aggressive? When to make a guy miss or fair catch the ball? These are the things when going through practice we can evaluate, but you don’t really know until you get them into a game situation and we were able to find out a little bit this spring.
Q: What part of the scrimmage showcased what you preach over the other 14 practices? And what might have differed?
A: We only have 32 opportunities in your four-year span here to actually get into the stadium and play. Some schools practice inside of their stadium all of the time and that’s their philosophy, but we only try to get in a certain amount of times. Sometimes when guys get inside that stadium, their juices flow a little bit more, they’re a little more aggressive and a little bit faster so anytime we get into the stadium like today, it’s good. For the kickers and punters, it’s good for them to get in and kick some balls and then we have a new long snapper so it’s good for him to be in the stadium even with the young running backs. Getting those reps in the stadium caused a couple times for guys to be a little faster than they needed to be and we’ll go back in and look at the film and see, but anytime we can get in that arena and have to control the emotions and play with that noise, all of those things, it really helps.
Q: With all of the talent at the top of the depth chart, how do you keep guys like [Andre] Robinson and [Mark] Allen from getting discouraged?
A: Life is all about opportunities and the one thing we can’t control is when those opportunities come. I talk to those guys consistently about taking advantage of their opportunities and in order to do that you have to prepare every single day to be ready. The natural human instinct is ‘OK, I worked hard for three days, something good should happen,’ but you have to keep doing it over and over and over and over, and when your opportunity comes you’ll be prepared. It’s not the easiest thing, but I tell those guys that they have an opportunity to compete with some of the best players in the country on a daily basis and you have to eat that up as a competitor every day and get better.
Q: What did Saquon [Barkley] accomplish this spring to improve?
A: The big thing for him is patience. When you’re good or you have a fast horse, it’s hard for him not to come out of the gates at the derby and go win it, but for him patience not only on the field, but off the field. Knowing that he was going to get limited reps and limited situations and making the most out of them. Getting ready to move forward now, getting his body prepared with how he has to train and how he has to eat right, and obviously sometimes you learn the most when you watch and I’m sure for him, watching other guys and standing by me when live stuff was going on and being like ‘Oh I see now what you mean by being a step slower and being a little more patient.’ So we worked on some things from a defensive level and reading the defenses a little bit more and I think he made tremendous progress. You could say how many reps he took and how many times was he tackled, but that only makes up a small portion.
Q: The event today is two-fold as it’s a big recruiting deal as well. The comradery of 2017-18 guys getting on the field together and growing that rapport. What does that do moving forward for your staff?
A: I think any time with any family that you can bring them together and they can spend time together, laugh together and hang out together, especially young kids who are on social media together and know who each other are is always good. It allows them to be kids and build relationships so that now when they come in the summer it’s kind of like they’ve known each other for two years and know who each other are. It changed from when I was in college and my parents dropped me off and I didn’t know anybody, but it has changed which is good. So anytime we can get those guys on campus to continue to help us recruit and to build their bonds is always good.