April 22, 2017
April 22, 2017
Penn State Postgame Player Quotes – OFFENSE
April 22, 2017
Mark Allen | RB | Jr. | #8
Q: If you had to pick one of your teammates this spring that might have stood out to you who do you think that would be?
A: The one that stood out to me the most would probably be Juwan Johnson. He is constantly in the weight room getting in extra work, on the field and off the field putting in extra work. He has improved tremendously in my perspective.
Q: Do you feel the competition to be the number two spot behind Saquon Barkley now?
A: It is always a competition between us. We have a great group of guys here and there are some things that Saquon can do but we need guys to compliment him. We have Miles Sanders, Andre Robinson, Zach McPhearson and a bunch of early guys that will be coming in during the season. It is obviously a competitive room and Coach Huff does a great job of keeping it competitive which makes us all better. Whoever gets the number two spot we are all going to support him just as much as we support Saquon.
Q: Coach Franklin said that you do not deal with preseason rankings, do you agree with him?
A: I try not to let preseason get to me. I try to focus on maintaining my craft and the things that I need to work on to better myself. I am not really focused on the rankings; I am more focused on working to get that number two spot.
Q: If you had to take a guess where Chris Godwin might get picked on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, what team do you think and what round?
A: I think he is going with the Washington Redskins. I haven’t really kept up too much with it but that would be my guess with some of the things that I was looking at. I am hoping that he gets picked in the second or third round, and whoever takes him I can assure that they are getting a great guy.
Jonathan Holland | TE/H | Jr. | #18
Q: How have you seen Tommy Stevens develop as a quarterback and as a leader?
A: I think Tommy has always been extremely talented. I think he is one of the best quarterbacks that I have ever been around. Just coming in as a freshman he showed a little bit with the offense and everything going on there, but I think that in the past and really last season he has matured so much and embraces his role on the team. He comes every day with a great attitude and a great work ethic. As you saw today he had a great day and will just continue to get better as time goes on.
Q: With there not being a big quarterback battle this year is there a difference?
A: No, I think Tommy along with Trace [McSorley] both matured from last season when it was a battle. I think Tommy takes advantage of all the reps he is given. He makes plays out there. He is a great leader, but that is the same with Trace also. Tommy is a very vocal leader and is there when people need to be picked up. If someone drops a pass he encourages them to get the next one.
Q: What is something unique about Tommy on and off the field?
A: On the filed Tommy is a jokester. He likes to cracks a lot of jokes not always at the best time. He is a very funny dude. Off the field him and Nick [Bowers] have an obsession with WWE. They are really into that. Tommy is just a great kid.
Juwan Johnson | WR | So. | #84
Q: How do you feel this went as the culmination of the spring that you had?
A: It was honestly a blessing. I wouldn’t be doing this without God, to say the least and going forward, just have to keep focusing and not let spring ball carry me into the season, but keep working on what I have to work on going into the season.
Q: Do you feel this was a pretty positive performance getting show to show this among the fans?
A: Yeah, I would say so. There’s just a lot of things I can work on. I feel like I can do a lot better in some aspects, but overall, I feel like I did pretty well today.
Q: In which capacity, do you feel more comfortable with how things have been going for you?
A: Just my confidence, I don’t lack confidence like I did last year and honestly, I think that just comes from repetition, practice, and working on the things we need to work on.
Q: How do you feel the depth looks at the wide receiver position going forward?
A: We’re still pretty deep to be honest with you. We really only lost Chris [Godwin] so going forward to this season, we have a lot of big things planned.
Q: Can you kind of evaluate yourself and your performance today?
A: I still have a lot of things to work on. Whether it’s route running or just catching the ball, I still have a lot of things to work on to get this offense going. I can be proud of what I did this spring, but I still have a lot to work on.
Q: What’s the extra stuff you did this spring to make yourself better?
A: A lot of it was just focus on a lot of details, little small details. That’s what it takes to be a wide receiver; little small details and focus to do what you need to do to help the team.
Connor McGovern | OL | So. | #66
Q: When you look at the freshmen that are here, #73 [Mike Miranda] what do you think about that? There’s a guy five months ago that was playing high school ball in November and now he looks like he belongs. How impressive is that to you?
A: Definitely. I can relate to that because last year I came in early so I know all the struggles he’s going through. It was very impressive to see what he’s going through and how well he stepped up.
Q: Can you tell me how Tommy [Stevens] has developed as a leader over training and everything?
A: Tommy has definitely stepped up a lot. He’s a lot more vocal out there, he’s confident in his calls so we’re a lot more confident in him back there, protecting him.
Q: Did you see anything from Tommy today that surprised you? If there ever arises the need for Tommy to come in what should fans expect from him?
A: I was a little, well not really surprised at all, that he came out and played really well from the beginning. He wasn’t slow at all to start off and just came out and hit the ground running. They should be very comfortable with him back there because we are up front.
Q: What was the transition like going from a guard to now playing center?
A: It wasn’t really a big transition for me because I’ve played center most of my life and all that. I was very comfortable going back so it’s almost like natural for me to go back.
Q: From getting reps last year, how has that prepared you to possibly step into this role? Is there anything else you can think of that would help you out with anything specific?
A: It definitely, like especially last spring, I got here early I was thrown around in all different positions: tackle, guard, left tackle. That just taught me a lot about how everyone else is thinking on the field so it helps me a lot more with my calls too at center. I need to come out a leader every single day and be more vocal and try to be more confident and make sure everyone else knows what’s going on.
Q: How do you feel compared to last year at this time as far as confidence on the line, your confidence in yourself?
A: Our confidence has definitely grown a lot since last year. Like last year we were literally iffy about all that and ourselves. This year we’re determined to be the leaders of the offense.
Q: Is there a difference when Tommy and Trace [McSorley] are back there? For you especially when you’re snapping and how they play and how you guys approach things? What would Tommy strengths be?
A: Definitely there’s no real difference between the snap and all that. I feel very comfortable with both of them back there so I’m fine with either one and I know that’s how the offensive line feels too. Tommy and Trace are both good leaders out there, vocal. Tommy is getting a lot more vocal and a lot more comfortable back there and they’re definitely leaders.
Josh McPhearson | RB | Sr. | #39
Q: [Coach Franklin] said a couple of weeks ago to go where we want to go, we have to practice better, we have to get more intense, we have to practice like it’s never been seen around here before. Has it been different this year? More intense?
A: Last season we had to really prove ourselves to everyone who was against us, who didn’t believe in us, ya know. So we used that to catapult us this spring. Older guys, we stick to a standard as a team and that’s to just be the best group of guys we can be. The practices they have been the same. The guys, they just want to get better. Everyone wants to get better as a whole.
Q: Josh, could you just tell me if you had to pick any of your teammates here who stood out to ya, who do you think that might be and why?
A: I think the guy that’s stood out the most is Juwan Johnson. He really is a guy who worked day in and day out in the offseason and all his teammates; everyone on the team saw his work ethic. It’s just good to see him produce like that; he sort of just had a kick-start in the spring. He’s elevated now and you should be expecting a lot of really good things from him next season. As well as Jon Holland had a really good spring as well. He’s really developed himself as a tight end, a full tight end, and a complete tight end. Definitely those two guys.
Q: Did you return kicks in high school? Do you feel like you’re well suited to that and are you a better kick or punt? Did you work at that at all before this year because [Coach Franklin] talked about McPhearson doing kick returns, did you do that before in college practices?
A: Yes I did and punts. I can do both. I came here and I redshirted. Last year I got hurt and while I was in that process I’ve been just practicing, you know. So I’m really prepared for the job of both of them. Whatever I need to do to help the team. No I’ve never done that. I worked on them in practice; I worked on both of them with the scout team or just giving a look for the guys that are on a punt coverage or kickoff coverage. I’ll be back deep in practice catching balls. In this spring I’ve done more punt, mainly punts in spring so that’s where my main focus has been.
Q: Coach [Franklin] has talked about your versatility mainly punt returning and some other things. What has it taken from you to be that versatile? What challenges does that make for your preparation for game day?
A: I really try to work on my shiftiness because I feel like that’s really a big part of my game. So I do a lot of speed work in the offseason and during the season. I think the versatility aspect of my game can really help this team out in a lot of different ways. In punt return, in running back, whatever this team needs. It drives me to just work harder. I can never be good enough; I can be as good as I want to be. That’s a term by the way I work so that’s what really drives me and really pushes me.
Q: Can you talk about the competition going on for the number two running back position behind [Saquon] Barkley and getting the most reps?
A: We have a lot of talented backs that are with us. Ya know, Mark Allen, Andre [Robinson], Miles [Sanders], and myself and we really push ourselves to be the greatest. The greatest backs we can be, the best backs that we can be. I haven’t really been paying attention much to the competition. We have Johnny Thomas as a backer to two of the running backs, but our guys are just working hard. Whatever is needed to help the team that’s what we’re doing. But the competition is going to pick up a lot during the fall.
Q: After the Blue-White Game, you still have a lot of time to make a statement when camp opens up in summer. What are you going to do now, between now and then to try and improve your chances of getting more reps?
A: I definitely need to work on my speed and versatility if I want to keep the job as a punt returner and help the team out. So in the summer time I’m just going to work out with the guys and just try to get as best and as fast and the strongest as we can be.
Tommy Stevens | QB | So. | #2
Q: How hard will it be to forget last year and get focused on this year?
A: I don’t think it will be too hard to do. Obviously, it was a great year and great to experience that and accomplish those goals from last year, but it’s over. There’s no going back and reliving it so I feel that we are going to do the things that we can this year and working as hard as we can. The ultimate goal is to get back to where we were and keep this thing rolling in the right direction.
Q: What sticks out in your mind from the scrimmage itself to rate your performance today?
A: I think, not just necessarily me, but collectively as an offense, during the time that I was in it was just great execution within the scheme. Not just me, but all the guys around me doing the things that we had to do and just taking what we have from the system and applying it to a game situation and I think we did a pretty good job of that.
Q: Who should we be looking out for from this spring?
A: I think you have probably already heard the person that’s creating the most buzz in the program is Juwan Johnson. He’s doing a fantastic job and it’s just another example of a guy that came to work every day prepared, like he was a starter and he’s getting his opportunity to shine. He’s showing that he can play at the highest level and he’s doing a great job and lucky for me, he’s one of my best friends and he’s an even better person than he is a football player so I’m glad to have that guy on my team.
Q: When did you see Juwan Johnson take that next step?
A: It’s hard to say because this isn’t different for Juwan. Since I’ve met Juwan, Juwan’s been one of the hardest working guys that I’ve ever met. It’s hard to say when it clicked for him, but it’s easy to say when people noticed that it started to click for him.
Q: What makes Juwan Johnson a different target than other receivers?
A: Obviously looking at Juwan, he’s just an impressive looking human. Since I met Juwan, I remember meeting him on my official visit and just thinking, “Man, this guy is a freak.” I remember meeting him with Irvin Charles, and Brandon Polk and looking at these guys like, “Man!” I know Brandon ran whatever he ran in the 100 (meter sprint), like 10.4 or something incredible, so this guy can run and I’ve got these guys who are massive. So I knew that I was going to grow with those guys and work with them. I think all three of those guys are doing a great job and we’ve got a bunch of guys who’ve got interesting body types, interesting skill sets, and ultimately they’re all helping us move towards the right direction.
DeAndre Thompkins | WR | Sr. | #3
Q: What does the Blue-White game mean to you? What opportunities as a player in front of the fans?
A: It is a great opportunity to get back out in front of the fans. We practice 14 to 15 practices throughout the week and the last month of the semester. It is a great time and always different when you go into Beaver Stadium with the fans. It is an exciting time to show what you have been working on the whole semester and go out there and perform.
Q: I am sure you guys miss Chris Godwin, but that is a lot of numbers to fill. Someone has to catch all those balls from Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens. How did you feel about your performance today?
A: We all play receiver. We are all stepping up as group and not individually right now. That is our goal until the next season to attack it as a group. Chris was a big guy on our offense. He is gone now and doing better things so we have to step up. I am happy with my performance today, but I am always expecting to do more.
Q: What is it like going up against the secondary guys on your team?
A: It is always a good time going against the people that you compete with. They watch film, but they don’t go out against you every day of the season and train with us. To go up against those guys you have to come up with something more, something you don’t normally do. It is a good challenge.
Q: We got a brief glimpse of you guys in one day. You got to see all the spring practices. Who should the fans keep an eye on? Who impresses you the most this spring?
A: I have to go with Juwan Johnson. His attention to detail is on another level. He is stepping up from what he did last year.
Q: DeAndre, what is the biggest difference you have seen in Trace McSorley this spring?
A: His competitiveness. This whole spring he has been asking a lot about himself and necessary stresses on himself to make a perfect play and that is all you can ask from the quarterback. You expect for things to go perfect and if they don’t just be ready for something that does happened. Be prepared to make it a better play. That is something he has done is taking a bigger role and asking more of himself eliminate mistakes.