Penn State Players' Press Conference 11/5/19 vs. Minnesota
COURTESY OF PENN STATE'S ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
Journey Brown | Running Back
Q. I just want to ask about the bye week, how do you utilize that for rest and recovery and do you use it to see your family?
JB: We had practice and stuff the whole week. So I did a lot of regen and got in the tubs and got massages and stuff, took care of my body. Got in the sauna and sweated a little bit. I did a lot of preparing my body. Then yeah, I went home, saw my mom, my little sister and a lot of my friends and stuff. It was good. Got like re-booted physically and mentally.
Q. What makes you guys so successful in the red zone? The ability to run and pass the ball, how much confidence does that give?
JB: I feel like that gives a lot of confidence, because the defense is always guessing. You never know what we are going to do because we do really good. So just having the game plan and what Coach [Ricky] Rahne calls, what he feels comfortable with and just call in and we score like we have been, yeah.
Q. We were asking Coach Franklin about the whole 1-0 mantra and how it seems like now guys are not just repeating it, but embracing it. I guess for you, when did you kind of embrace that mindset, and how did you go about that?
JB: Me personally, it just takes a lot of stress off you. You don't have to worry about the future. You don't have to worry about what happened before. You focus on what's coming up, and what you've got to do, you know. That 1-0 mentality, I bought into that when I first got here. It just kind of is my own type of method, focus on the now, worry about the other stuff later.
Q. Talk about the challenges of Minnesota this weekend.
JB: Just how athletic they are and how they move, when they blitz, schemes and all that good stuff, they do everything really well. We've just got to be prepared for what they throw at us and just be ready.
Q. Do you look forward to playing in a place that you have never been before?
JB: Oh, yeah. You know, I never been to Minnesota. It's always fun to go travel and stuff and play. I'm like very excited to play in an environment like this.
Q. Game is technically at 11:00 a.m. locally. Is that a thing that actually makes a difference?
JB: No, I'm like a green light. I'm always on go, so I'm not worried about the time.
Q. I know none of you in the backfield are accustomed to being 25-carry guys over the course of your college career, but through eight games, do you get the sense that you're more healthy than the average running back in college football because you have shared the load?
JB: Yeah, I feel good. We all kind of feel good because how we share the load and how we do things here. But yeah, I guess could you say I feel better. I don't know how other guys feel, so I can't really speak on it. But I definitely feel good, fresh and always ready to go every week.
Q. It was a topic of conversation of who was going to be the lead back. How did it get to this point for it to feel natural?
JB: That was from the get-go. That started at camp. [Running backs] Coach [Ja’Juan] Seider told us it was going to be like this, and for me personally, I don't care if I get one yard, one carry. We have the mentality, if one of us eats, we all eat. So I'm comfortable for whoever starts or if it's me, it's me. If I get 30 carries a game, so be it. If I get one carry a game, as long as we win the game, it doesn't matter to me.
Q. It's been four years now since your 722-yard game. So I've got to ask prior to right now, when is the last time someone brought that up? Is that still kind of like a part that you have to deal with every now and then?
JB: Actually, when I was coming home this weekend, one of my mentors, Kyle and his dad, asked me how often do I get that question. So if that counts, probably this week. I get asked every time I meet somebody new, they are like, "Hey, man, great job, how is school -- just one question, how did you get" -- yeah, yeah, the whole spiel.
Q. Have you ever been more tired than you were that day? Has Penn State, I guess, kind of at a training or session where you've been more tired?
JB: I thought that was going to be the tiredest I've ever been until I got here and did the winter workout. That's the tiredest I've ever been in my life when we work out and stuff, for sure.
Q. Going back to high school, if you look on the all-time PIAA rushing list, one of your teammates has you beat by 52 yards, Lamont Wade. Curious if you hear from him about the fact that he's a little bit on you on the rush list.
JB: No, we don't really talk about like the high school stuff no more. Every once in a while -- he knows I'm a running back and he plays defense. I just let him know, if it really mattered, it came down to it, you see I play running back, buddy.
Yetur Gross-Matos | Defensive Tackle
Q. I just want to ask about the bye week. How was it, how did you use it, to rest and recover, and do you get a chance to go home and see family?
YGM: No, I was actually here all weekend. I just spent a lot more time in the film room with my teammates and the recovery beds, taking advantage of having that chance to get some rest.
Q. What's the challenge this week facing a Minnesota offense that is really heavy on the round and focuses on dominating time of possession?
YGM: You know, like you said, dominating time of possession, try and get those guys off the field. Give our offense a chance to go out there and put up some points. With a team like that who run the ball as much as they do, and the consistency of their offense, not drawing a lot of penalties and stuff, you've just got to play disciplined. Everyone's got to do their job and just to keep that up for four quarters, you know, and give our offense a chance to do something.
Q. James [Franklin] had mentioned their success on third down is partly because of how good they are on first down. How much is your emphasis on putting them in second-and-long, third-and-long situations this week?
YGM: There's been a huge emphasis, [defensive coordinator Brent] Pry has said - they get in situations where it's second and three, third and one, and that could end up having us in a long game. Just getting after it on first and second down, we have to put those guys in negative yardage situations or no gain, we have a better chance of getting off the field, because they are great in those situations where is it's short.
Q. If you had to describe PJ Mustipher in one word, what would it be and where is the confidence in this defensive line, even with a quote, unquote, new guy starting this weekend?
YGM: Describe him in one word? I feel like it's hard. He's a huge personality. But I think probably like hard-working. He's always someone after practice, you could find him in the sled by himself or in a group. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, workdays, he's out there striking the sled getting extra work in. As a unit and as a defense, I think we have the utmost confidence in P.J., and with [Antonio Shelton] not being able to start for us this week, there's no doubt in my mind he's going to come in and do his part. Since he's been here, he comes into games, people see the flash. P.J. is a big playmaker, and it's going to be an opportunity for him to really step into that role.
Q. What time do you get up on a Saturday game day and you've got to get up in the morning for like a noon kick?
YGM: I'm usually up at 8:00 a.m.
Q. Does it make a difference the game is starting at 11:00 a.m.?
YGM: I don't think it's going to make much of a difference honestly. Going to go out and treat it the same way.
Q. Do you notice a difference in the size of the linemen you're going up against? A very large guy versus somebody in the non-conference who is not quite your size? Or do you just do your thing regardless?
YGM: More just going out and doing my thing regardless. The game plan, my job, none of it changes based on who we are playing.
Q. Had a chance to speak with [Jayson Oweh] after the Michigan State game and he said that he felt like he needed that game. He felt like he was pressing a little bit to that point, and to see that in the box score made a difference for him. Did you notice at all with Jason over the course of the year, could you tell like he needed that kind of a game? Was he acting like that at all?
YGM: I don't think he was acting like it. Maybe to himself, his personal goals or whatever. But he approached practice the same way in terms of how he came and worked out for the team. So you know, I know he was real excited, real happy that he was able to do what he did on Saturday and it was a great moment for all of us. I couldn't tell.
Q. When you go to the package where you slide inside and Jayson Oweh is opposite of Shaka Toney, what does that front present to an offensive line in terms of the difficulty?
YGM: It's just a lot of speed coming from a lot of different places. So I think a lot of offensive lines, they are real quick to point out the protections and identify who is where. So I'm not too sure.
Q. When you're inside, is it a comfortable thing for you? If, say, you know, knock-on-wood, there was some kind of injury and with Antonio already missing, is it a spot you could spend extended time in rather than a specialized package?
YGM: I spend time wherever Coach Spencer needs me to play. Doesn't matter where it is on the line.
Q. We were asking Coach Franklin about the 1-0 mantra and it seems like now you're not just repeating it, but living it and embracing it. Was there a point where you felt like you took it on and weren't reciting it?
YGM: I would say when I got back to school over the summer, going into camp. I felt like it's something that really resonated with me when he's talking about how teams, they try to prepare differently based on what week it is and the opponent.
You approach it all the same way, like this is our championship, like this is the week. With that mindset, I feel like creates a culture of winning.
Q. Was that difficult to do when you were younger, and maybe you wanted to look ahead a little bit?
YGM: Yeah, you know, like at first, you get to a place like this, you know, you're playing like the big-name schools versus some of other opponents, I feel like it's more difficult then. But as you grow and as you fall into like just the awareness, like this is it, you know, this is what we're doing, and you just trust and believe in the coaches. I think that's where it really did.
Q. Will you look at the college football rankings tonight when they come out?
Q. I wanted to ask you about kind of building off of a question from earlier. So Minnesota's right tackle weighs 136 pounds more than you and 157 pounds more than Shaka Toney. Have you ever faced a weight disparity like that in your career, and how do you go about beating someone on the line who is almost, you know, like essentially more than 50 percent of your body weight?
YGM: I don't think I have honestly, but it will be a great task. They have got some pretty good players on that side. But I don't think the approach is going to be any different. You know, his job is to block me and my job is to get around him, so we'll figure something out.
Q. How have you seen Rasheed Walker develop in the last year?
YGM: I think the big thing was over spring ball. At first, it was obvious, he was learning things and stepping into like a new role. But I think his confidence from that point to the beginning of the season and the beginning of the season now, has just grown so much. I think he's grown into one of the better players on this team. He's done a great job.
Q. I can't remember if it was you or Shaka Toney in the one clip in the spring that they tweeted out, and you guys, somebody beat him pretty bad. Did you razz him about that? He's obviously held his own this year.
YGM: I didn't say a word to him about it. I think everybody loses reps. No one is going to win every single rep. I don't think it really bothered him that much or any of us. You know, he's going to win his battles sometimes and sometimes not.
Q. Are there ways you think maybe you guys have helped [Rasheed Walker] or can help him, maybe pointing out specific things that other ends might try to do to him or anything like that?
YGM: Anything he's got a question on, we've been pretty good about answering him. Just going against him sometimes, like, oh, this works, this works and now it's more like, okay, now what works because he's developed a lot.
Q. Last one from me, I promise. What do you think the ceiling looks like for Micah Parsons, because we're seeing more and more from him every week.
YGM: The ceiling. I don't know. I don't know what that would look like for him. Every day he goes out there, you know, I feel like he surprises me more and more. He's just someone who just keeps growing. You know, I think he's going to end up having a phenomenal career.
Q. Do you remember the Nike camp in New Jersey, you were there and Micah [Parsons] was there and Damion [Barber], he was talking trash about how he was the best D-end? Do you recall that?
Q. What was going through your head when you see this kid? Because he's a little bit younger than you.
YGM: Actually P.J. Mustipher was there, too. It's just kids having fun. It's hard to imagine we would all be in this place at the same time on a team like this. Just to see the dream come to fruition is incredible. Q. How vocal has he become in the huddle the last couple years? YGM: Yeah, I think he's definitely grown more and more as the year has gone on. You know, in the beginning, he was a vocal leader still, but as the year has gone on, he's really become more of a voice.
Q. Last winter, Terry Smith compared [Adisa] Isaac to you, and he's a guy that we have quickly gotten to see play and burn his redshirt. What stands out about it and do you see any similarities from maybe where you were as a freshman to where he is right now?
YGM: Yeah, I'd say his motor is the thing that I see like from myself to him. He's someone, even in practice, the play is across the field and he's still running. He's running past linebackers and DBs, whoever is in the way. And he brings that in the game, too. He goes out there with a level of intensity. You know, it's going to be really important for him in his career and stuff. He's extremely hard-working, too. He's quiet sometimes, but he's always doing his job, always where he needs to be. I think he's like one of the people I notice since I've been here is like an incredibly high ceiling. I think he's going to be phenomenal.
Q. One of your teammates, Fred Hansard with Antonio Shelton out for this game, I think maybe he is surprising people how he came back from injury and really been the No. 2 tackle for you guys for a while? What does he do that doesn't show up in the box score.
YGM: Can't move that man. That dude is unmovable. You know, he comes off the ball, and sometimes he's getting double-teamed and you can see they are fighting as hard as they can, but Fred is not going anywhere. He doesn't jump out in the box score but he's always helping out the linebackers, not letting the guards get second level. He eats up his space for sure.