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Spring Q&A: Anthony Midget Talks New Role, Spring Drills & Safeties

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With six practices in the books for the spring season, the Nittany Lion football team is nearing the mid-point of spring practice period.

The Lions will practice two more times this week, on Wednesday and Friday.  Before returning to the practice field this week, new safeties coach Anthony Midget took some time to address the media on a conference call.  Take a look through a Q&A with Coach Midget to see how his first spring in Happy Valley is going and see an update on safeties.

8791147.jpegQ: Was there any hesitation accepting the job to coach at Penn State?
"Not at all.  It was an opportunity to come and be a part of Penn State.  Yes, I understand what I was getting in to, but there was never a doubt in my mind with Coach O'Brien and what the guys did last year that I wanted to be a part of this staff and to be a part of getting this thing turned around and taking this thing to the next level."

Q: You did a little bit of everything when you were at Georgia State; how different has it been for you to be able to just focus on one group?
"It has been great.  When I first got to Georgia State, I was the special teams coordinator and coaching all four in the secondary.  And then when I got promoted to defensive coordinator, I still had all four (in the secondary).  And now here being able to focus on one position has been great.  I think the game has changed so much, and I think it is a benefit to have two secondary coaches and split it up so that guys are able to work with just the safeties and corners.  It has been truly a blessing being at practice.  Coach Butler and I work well together.  We meet together, and we work together, but to be at practice and just work with the safeties has been very good."

Q: What has been the learning curve for you during spring practice?
"Well, it was actually good for me to be here a couple weeks before we started practice.  I had an opportunity to sit through all of the cut-ups and basically learn the defense while we were sitting in there watching cut-ups.  It was beneficial.  And then to have Coach Butler working with me in the secondary to help the transition, it made it that much smoother.  Actually, it has been an easy transition picking up on things and fitting in with the defensive staff and picking up on terminology."

Q: How have the veteran safeties - Malcolm Willis and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong - helped your transition here?
"That has been a key.  To have two seniors that have played a lot of football makes it a lot easier to come in as opposed to if I was dealing with a lot of freshmen or guys that didn't have a lot of playing experience.  To have two seniors back there - Malcolm Willis has been great, especially as a tremendous leader, and also Obeng; he has been a great leader.  Those guys are basically coaches on the field who understand the defense and understand what we want, and they can help us with the younger guys and their understanding of the system."

Q: Can you describe the way you perceive yourself as a coach?
"I am energetic.  I coach with a lot of passion.  If you come watch me coach, that is probably what you will see.  Coach Butler is the same way.  It is just a great fit for both of us back there.  I think the guys feed off of it.  We coach them hard.  You have to be demanding to get what you want, but at the end of the day we are able to take that and turn the switch off and be a mentor or whatever we need to be to the players. On the field, we are very energetic and very demanding and high energy coaches that just love the game, and it shows the way we coach."

Q: What do you see as Adrian Amos' role with the defense this year? And can you talk about some of the younger safeties and some of their strengths and weaknesses?
"Adrian Amos is a guy who played many roles for us last year.  He will probably do the same thing this year.  He is a guy that we can move around to play safety, to play corner, to play nickel and can do many different things for us.  It's guys like that who help us out because of his versatility.  Some young guys, we have moved Malik Golden to safety.  He is a guy who is very talented that has done some good things that I am very excited about.  Take a guy like (Ryan) Keiser that had a great offseason and it is translating to the practice field.  So, I am excited about Keiser and Golden moving forward at the safety spot, and I am excited about the playmaking abilities they can bring to the position."

Q: What is one characteristic Coach O'Brien has that sticks out to you?
"How passionate he is for the game.  He is a great offensive mind, but one thing that stands out is how great of relationship he has with the players and he can really relate to the players.  But his overall passion for the game and his leadership is unbelievable.  It has been great.  I am blessed to be able to sit in the staff meetings and learn from him and continue to grow.  But he has been just great.  But I would say the one thing is that the way he interacts with the guys and his leadership ability."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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