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Indiana Week Q&A with Asst. Coach John Strollo

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions return home to face Indiana on Saturday at noon (BTN) in Beaver Stadium.

As the team puts the final touches on the gameplan, take a look through some remarks from tight end coach John Strollo.

8316238.jpegQ: Knowing what Coach O'Brien did with the tight ends at New England, how much were you looking forward to coaching the tight ends in his offense?
: "It was a great honor to number one, be asked, and number two to be asked to come to Penn State.  I knew that it would be an exciting learning experience.  It was a great thing to walk into."

Q: How has Kyle Carter performed this season?
: "We knew Kyle was a pretty productive, exceptional kid.  You have seen him in games; you should see some of the catches he makes in practice.  He has to work on aspects of his game, and he knows that.  He is a young guy, who is a redshirt freshman, but we knew he was going to be productive...As far as his injury goes; Kyle has a tremendous attitude on life.  He is going to handle whatever hand he has been dealt."

Q: How did Garry Gilliam's previous experience help the younger tight ends heading into the season?
: "Garry is a really unique situation because his experience was limited on the football field, but his life experience was extremely valuable.  He has a very steadying influence on the room.  He's like the All-American kid.  He's a great student.  He is a great person.  He is a worker.  He is a talented football player.  If you really look at it, he is on par with a lot of the other guys experience-wise.  He is a great guy to have in the room, though."

Q: How much has football changed with the heavy use of the tight ends?
: "I don't know if you remember a guy named John Mackey, who played for the Baltimore Colts.  I don't think this is a big revelation.  What Coach O'Brien, the Patriots and now Penn State have done is using anybody who has unique talent.  He wants to use those talents.  Kyle Carter is an example.  He is a talented kid.  He knows how to do things.  He is a very instinctive football player.  I don't know if it is necessarily the tight ends.  If we had a bunch of running backs, Coach O'Brien would probably develop something along those lines.  I just happen to be the tight end coach, so I am a little biased."

Q: What are some characteristics you look for in a tight end?
: "The tight end, by definition is a guy who can block and catch.  Any football player needs to have an explosive component.  To be a tight end, you need to be tall enough and big enough to fit the position.  I think what you are really looking for is a guy who is productive."

Q: What has it been like working with Coach O'Brien?
: "The number one thing is that he is a fun guy to be around.  The second thing is, the minute we started working together, I saw him as an exceptional talent.  He is a quick-minded, quick-witted guy that sees things and makes quick decisions.  He is a very talented individual.  I feel lucky to be here with him.  He is going to do everything in his power to keep the Penn State winning tradition."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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