Penn State Players Quotes Pregame vs. Maryland
Cam Brown | LB | Sr./Sr.
Q. What are tendencies? When you're watching film of an offense, people say you're looking for tendencies. What does that mean to you? CB: That can be from as little as the snap count, the cadence, if there's a hand twitch, anything like that, to something as what formation they are in and what are you getting, what percentage of throws are they throwing out of this formation and what percentage of runs and what are the runs. Those are the tendencies you look for. Q. Are there situations in your career where you know what they are about to do? CB: I feel like when you watch film and you practice, and the way Coach [Brent] Pry and the defensive staff gets us prepared, we play; we call it anticipated football. You look at the formation, you identify it and you know what's going to come at you and you can most of the time, if you see certain things, you can be like, okay, I know it's coming at me and you can get ready for that. Q. In terms of getting young guys to play consistently, a lot of that comes down to practice and things like that. How do you get them to practice well? It's a big shift going from high school to we've seen your practices. What that's like? CB: Honestly, that's about having good leadership. The leaders have to show the young guys what to do and how to do it and that's how they follow suit. That's how I learned how to practice here. That's how I learned how to lift. Everything that goes on in the program you pretty much have to sit back and watch. So your freshman year, you don't say or do too much, but when you sit back and you watch, you learn, if you're that type of guy, you learn how to practice and to be a complete player. Q. Brandon Smith is behind you on the depth chart, assuming you spend a lot of time with him and he picks your brain quite a bit. He's one of the freshmen that Franklin mentioned that he feels was flashing through the first few weeks. What have you seen? CB: Honestly, I've seen his development from winter when he enrolled. You see the difference in him playing. He's playing more confident. He's running around. He's flashing. He's showing that he can run to the ball and he's showing his athleticism and how he can hit and use his size. Honestly, he's grown as a player in general. He's becoming more confident and somebody you can almost depend on for certain things in the play. He still has a lot of room to grow. He's going to be a great player when he's done. Q. A couple big hits have gone viral on social media, but what are the nuanced things he's doing on the practice field or in games? CB: It's when you have that size and athleticism and you can use it. It makes the sky the limit for you. That's been the plus for me, my length and my athleticism. He's sitting at, probably 6-3 and he's 240 and he can run. I mean, you can't really argue too much about that, if you play fast and things like that. If you mess up and you’re going a hundred miles per hour, coach can't be mad at you when you're involved in plays and things like that. That's going to come in time with little steps every day, learning how to break down film and reading certain keys and diagnosing different plays. Q. What's the dynamic between you and Jan Johnson? CB: Well, I’ll tell you, Jan does not like to talk at all. Jan Johnson, he's come from a very humble position, coming from the walk-on position to going back to wrestling to coming back to scout team and getting a scholarship and being a starter. Jan still has that role of just doing what's right all the time and that's what he always does. That's the way Jan Johnson has always been. He won't say too much or get mad at you for anything, but you'll know when you not do what you're supposed to do. Q. How important, going into a hostile environment, is showing them what the atmosphere is going to be like? How important is the senior leadership? CB: Honestly, I feel like the senior leadership is key to getting the team ready for Saturdays. Well, Friday, for this case. I feel like the team's going to be prepared because we treat every game the same. Every week is the same preparation, same thing. Only difference is we might have a little louder music at practice. Every week is prepared the same and I feel like guys are going to embrace and feel like it's a regular week. Q. How many tickets were you able to round up for Friday? CB: Right now, I think I'm sitting at plus-nine or plus-10. I usually don't ask for tickets. Sometimes it's just stressful asking teammates and trying to barter with teammates for tickets and things like that. This is my last year, so I've been trying hard to try to get as many tickets as I can. I probably will need at the end of the day, probably plus-15 above my normal four. Q. Coach Franklin mentioned that stopping screens was a big point of emphasis for you during the bye week. How much was it emphasized in practice? What are some of the things that you guys think you can do differently to either identify or stop it when it happens? CB: It was a big emphasis last week. We went over and emphasized our third down stuff because we’ve struggled on third down. that's usually when screens come out. That's a big emphasis for us. We were looking at third down stuff and looking at the calls we made and how we broke them and messed them up and how we let them slide through our fingers. I feel like as a whole, the defense, we just need to recognize and be ready for it more often. Usually that relies on the linebackers making the plays, so we can take the blame for that. But we have to play more anticipated football and see that coming. It's always a recognition thing because with our linebackers, we have the athleticism to go make the play, but we just have to go see it before it happens. Q. Coach Franklin spoke very highly of the defense overall and the points you've allowed or not allowed but one thing he wanted to challenge going into the bye week was developing the pass rush and bringing the quarterback down more often. How have you seen them respond to that challenge that he put out there publicly? CB: I feel like they are going to take it as motivation. The D-Line as a whole and the front, we have to get back there and cause more pressure. I feel like they took it as a positive and yesterday in practice we saw more intensity from the D-Line and guys trying to make more splash plays. I feel like Maryland will feel it this weekend. Q. What challenges does Maryland's offense present to your defense? CB: They have a very strong run game. Anthony McFarland is running extremely hard right now. I wouldn't say it's a challenge because we have been playing really well on defense and stopping the run, like with Pitt last week. Their biggest challenge is going to be us recognizing all the formations because they run a lot of formations out of different packages. I feel like that's going to be the biggest challenge for us. I feel like, other than that, other than recognition and playing with them, I feel like we have the talent and coaching to do anything against them. Q. Is there an extra emphasis put on the fact that you are facing a mobile quarterback for the first time this season? CB: No, I do not think so honestly. I feel like Pitt's quarterback was very mobile. I feel like he's improved a lot. So I feel like going against Maryland's quarterback, who is now I guess considered as a dual-threat quarterback, should not be an issue for us. Q. Being one of the older guys, how many of the Maryland players do you still know? How many familiar faces over there? CB: Familiar faces, many. But personally, a lot of the guys I played with like Anthony McFarland, Lorenzo Harrison, D.J. Turner, guys that have been around. Players that are Maryland guys. Even their old linebacker, Durrell [Nchami], he got hurt, was going to be a redshirt sophomore. Guys like Keandre Jones, I was recruited with him when he went to Ohio State. I recognize a lot of names. Q. What stands out to you so far about Lance [Dixon]? CB: Honestly Lance has speed. Lance is a fast guy. He's fast. He's a converted DB. He's been growing and learning. Coach Pry has been trying to figure out and find a spot he feels most comfortable with him at, Sam or Will, where he's practicing at now. It's all relative to everybody around him really. It's about fitting the scheme and where Coach Pry can put him into the scheme. So, if Brandon looks good at Sam running out there, then maybe Lance will stay at Will. If it's flip-flopped, you'll never know. Just depends on who is playing better at which position. Q. Jordan Stout and the way he's come in and booted the ball, does that kind of help your defense in terms of just knowing they are going to get the ball at the 25 unless something unexpected happens? CB: We call him Sturdy Stout. He's very consistent and doing what he has to do and for our defense we're prepared for any defense and if it is a sudden chance situation where they are on our 20, I feel my defense will never be scared of anything like that but we do love and appreciate Stout for what he's doing back there. Q. Staying with Jordan Stout questions. Is there a most impressive thing you've seen him do? CB: Honestly, I can't say anything. He's not doing anything outside of the ordinary on Saturday. I feel like what we see at practice, his consistency is mirrored on game days. Q. Was there one in camp that he kicked that showed what he can do? CB: Yeah, I think the first time we had a field goal challenge and he was kicking. He was the one, his went over the net and everybody was like, who is this kid? It was kind of one of those, all right, I like him. So ever since then, he's been blowing it out of the water.
Tariq Castro-Fields | CB | Jr./Jr.
Q. Going way back, we were sitting in here when you committed to Penn State and the coaching staff was up top going crazy. What do you remember about that day? How down to the wire did it come to you? They were telling us that you made them wait it out a little bit. TCF: I know it was a stressful day. A lot of things went into it. I think I didn't make the decision until about, I don't know, 2:30. I went back and talked to my coach about it, and I finally knew and I decided when I picked up the hat. Q. So you had a pretty good poker face throughout the whole thing? TCF: Yeah, I think my coach kind of made me have that poker face. Q. What does it mean to you to go back to your home state? How many tickets are you giving out to friends and family? TCF: It means a whole lot. I remember going back as a freshman when my role wasn't that big and how much meant to me. Now being a starter and being out there with my brothers, in a state where I grew up and I have the most family at, means the world to me. I have a lot of tickets. I have a lot of family coming, coming from Canada, coming from everywhere trying to see me play. Q. Who has more friends and family? Is it you and Rasheed [Walker] trying to get all the tickets? TCF: Me, Rasheed, Cam Brown, Cam Sullivan-Brown, you name it. We've got a lot of Maryland guys on the team. Q. How much familiarity do you have with these Maryland guys? TCF: A whole lot. The whole 2017 class, I know all of them boys. Isaiah Hazel, I knew him as a young pup, so I'm familiar with a lot of them guys. Q. Any contact with them this week? TCF: Not a lot. Isaiah called me. That's about it. Q. Did you talk football? TCF: Just see how he was doing. I don't really like talking football during this week. I’ll just see him on the field. Q. It's been the mission for them to keep Maryland players home. You have a few good ones here at Penn State. What's your sales pitch to a kid on why you should leave home and take a chance on somewhere new? TCF: I would just tell them, go with your heart and go with your gut. I chose this place because it was the best fit for me. Academically, the coaches, the players, I fit in here the best. I would just tell them, go through the process, really understand what schools have to offer you, what schools will do for you after football. So those would be the main things that I would tell them. Q. There’s some heat involved, whether social media or family, friends, when you do leave home. You're not the only guy to do it. Do you get some kind of feedback that still sticks with you when you go back down for a game like this? TCF: I would say no, just because I played high school there and I'm familiar. I think you can't really overlook you leaving a state. I mean, when I go back, there's a lot of love from everyone, even the Maryland players show love as well. Q. What's the key to becoming consistent? TCF: I would say doing all the little things correctly. Not overlooking any small detail, whether that be scooping and scoring, running to the ball. Just always giving 100 percent. I think once you do those things, being consistent naturally just comes with that. Q. Do you mean it's harder for younger players to learn how to be that way? TCF: Yeah, because practice is kind of different. In high school, you kind of just do whatever, but here, every minute is kind of structured and you're always running around. So you kind of get tired from running from the offensive field to the defensive field. You really have to learn how to practice and once you learn how to practice you can become way more consistent. Q. Is it better for them to learn on their own or do you try to help them in ways that accelerates that process? TCF: It's something that you have to go through. Obviously, I'm there. We're over here for daily skill or we're over here for team one, but it's just something that you have to get used to. Q. How long did it take you to figure out how to practice? TCF: Probably like two weeks, maybe, just getting used to everything. The flow of practice and the timing of everything and just never being able to just walk around. You're always running around. Q. James was mentioning how difficult it is for you guys to stay busy waiting for a Friday night game, as opposed to a Saturday night game where there's games throughout the day. How difficult is it for you guys to stay active and not lay around all day doing nothing? TCF: The coaches and people that make the schedule do a great job of giving us rest but also having us in meetings. They just take care of it and we just show up where we need to be. Q. I'm not sure how many opportunities you get to go against KJ Hamler in practice, but when you guys are repping and things like that, what kind of challenge does he pose that's different than other receivers you've faced this season? What makes him a little bit special for you guys? TCF: He's definitely a special dude. His quickness put together with his speed is dangerous. You know, if you don't get hands on him, he'll just run by you. You have to do a good job of staying patient, using your hands when you need to and taking all the proper cutoff angles and stuff like that. What he does presents a real problem. Q. It was made a big deal, a year ago, about his nickname being “the human joystick”. Do you still playfully call him that? TCF: I think some people jokingly call him that, but I call him KJ. I don't call him anything special. Q. How much do you feel like you've changed as a football player just from a confidence standpoint? TCF: I've grown up a lot from going back to my freshman year, period. I'm more mature. I attack practice differently. I'm excited to go back. Q. Where in your game from a year ago have you seen the most growth and development? TCF: I think two things. My confidence. Coach T [Terry Smith] just does a great job of building confidence in his players. And then my tackling. Each year I've improved and this year I'm doing a great job of tackling. Q. Has it been an adjustment in terms of leadership? How have you stepped up in that regard and become a leader of other corners? TCF: I think last year I tried to do a good job of trying to be a leader to the freshmen but now it's just trying to be a leader for everyone in that room. Whether it be a freshman or I help John Reid and John Reid helps me. No matter if you're a fifth-year guy. You're trying to get coached up and things like that. Q. When you see a guy one-on-one, is there no doubt at this point that you're going to be able to make that tackle? It seems like that is rare for people on the perimeter. How much is that a point of pride for you? TCF: Yeah, it's definitely a point of pride. Coach T says if you touch him, you have to get him to the ground. Then we do new drills in practice. I'm super proud of how all the corners have been tackling. Hope we keep it up. Q. James mentioned after the Pitt game how much he was pleased with you and John as a duo on the outside. Is there another duo in the country that you think is more confident, playing better than you guys are right now? TCF: I don't think I can name any other duos in the country. But I think me and John have been playing well. I think we feed off each other. He works hard. I try to emulate how he works hard and approaches practice. I think he's been still helping me along the way, too. Q. When you watch film, how much of it is trying to identify what you think the play is? What are you doing when you watch film and then take it on the field? TCF: Looking at down and distances, whether I should press, play man, things like that. Just putting myself in the shoes of if I had that route combination come to me, what would I do in this coverage versus this coverage. I think that's a lot of the process through my mind as I watch film. Q. The Kobe [Bryant] documentary where he breaks down one of his games, he says that by the time you get through most of the season, there's so much film on you that really it's about execution, it's not about trying to fool anyone. Do you feel like football is the same way? Is it just a matter of out-executing the other guy? TCF: As far as film study, it's just a matter of finding like tendencies and as a receiver, looking at the splits, where he runs this route versus another route. I think it's a lot of anticipation once you watch the film and you're out there. That's how John Reid was able to get a pick-six on the out route. We saw it a lot of times. Q. Going up against a guy like [Josh] Jackson, how important is it to you as corners to have that ability to recognize when a guy like Jackson moves outside the pocket? TCF: I think that's very important, just to be able to get off blocks. Also staying on your man for scramble rules because he is going to scramble. You just have to make sure your eyes are always at the right spot. Q. You say you're pretty confident now. Going back a year or two years, when did you find that confidence? TCF: I don't remember the exact moment, but I think kind of just kept building and building. Now we're here. I don't think it was one particular game but each year I just started trusting, trusting, trusting it, and me lifting weights and knowing that I'm capable of keeping up with these guys. Q. Coach Franklin mentioned stopping screens and getting off the field was a big point of emphasis within the past week. How did you emphasize it? hat are maybe some of the things you think you'll be able to do better after focusing on that? TCF I think we just went over how you fit the screen. We just repped that a lot of times and recognizing when the screen is coming, what down and distance it's going to come. I think that's some of the things we worked on. Q. What's one of the hardest things about that? TCF: I would say a person being hesitant when they approach a screen, that's how it kind of gets started. The first person who is responsible to force it has to go and then everybody else has to make them right. Q. Coach Franklin spent some time talking about the redshirt rule. Your class was the last class that doesn't have that. You played with Lamont and Yetur. How do you see it helping with the development of last year's class and this year's class? TCF: I'm just glad I played early, and Yetur. I think we were ready. I'm glad how Coach Franklin handled that whole thing and put me in when I was ready and then just threw me in the fire but kind of eased me along. I do think the four games help a whole lot because you can kind of get your feet wet and see what it's like and then if you're ready, you're going to play and if you're not, you're just going to have to wait until the next year and keep building your body and things like that. It's how you approach it, if you redshirt, if you attack it or not. And you do get the four-game experience for the next year, which I think is really good versus not playing at all and just redshirting. Q. C.J. Holmes made his first appearance on the depth chart. How have you seen the transition go for him? TCF: I think he's a great athlete. He's done everything that Coach has asked him on the field. Whether it be special teams, defense or whatever, you name it. I think he's given 100 percent with whatever they asked him. I'm proud of him. Q. How have you seen [Joey] Porter [Jr.] develop as one of those young guys? TCF: He's developed a whole lot. He has 34-inch arms. I'm trying to teach him how to practice still. That's one of my favorite freshmen. He's blossoming.