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Kent State Week Q&A - QB Christian Hackenberg

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - True freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg spoke to the media on a conference call this week leading up to Penn State's week four contest against Kent State.  Take a look at a Q&A with Hackenberg on his first three weeks as a collegiate player.

9240740.jpegQ: When you got to Penn State in June, what types of things did you do to start the leadership process of being a quarterback?
"I just really worked hard in the weight room.  I tried to prove myself there.  When we went outside and started throwing, I just tried to prove myself there, as well.  I just tried to work as hard as I could in any situation that I was given."

Q: What is the most important thing your dad taught you about playing quarterback?
"The most important thing was probably the leadership aspect (of the position).  He taught me all the fundamentals.  He was my quarterback coach, and I can't thank him enough.  But it was probably just the leadership aspect.  You've got to be the guy that everyone looks to.  He instilled that in me, even when we were playing little league football."

Q: Coach O'Brien said earlier in the week that he gave you a 'B' thus far.  Do you agree with his evaluation and how would you evaluate your play?
"I would agree with whatever he had to say.  I feel like I did some good things, but I also did some things where I could have executed better that could have affected the outcome of the game (Saturday).  I'm just trying to improve on that every week, not make that mistake every week and continue building on it."

Q: When you were learning the offense, how important was if for you to take things one day at a time and focus on things that way?
"You just have to take it one day at a time.  Really, you just need to get focused on the basics of the offense.  Then once you get the basic understanding of it, then you can start going into more complex details of protections and things like that."

Q: Do you take the mindset on the field that you are sort of the extension of the head coach/offensive coordinator on the field?  And what kind of relationship do you have with Coach O'Brien?
"You are the extension (of the head coach) on the field.  You can sort of see things that he can't sometimes.  It's your job to get the team into the situation where we can succeed as a group and as an offense.  He and I have a great relationship.  We are just continuing to build that each week."

Q: How much different are things right now heading into week four of the season compared to heading into week one?
"There is definitely not as much anxiety.  I have experienced pretty much everything that I could at this point at this level.  Really, it just comes down to preparation and continuing to get better each week."

Q: What are film sessions with Coach O'Brien like and what is one thing you are really looking to improve on?
"It's actually fun.  I look forward to going in and learning what I can do better to help the team.  That's ultimately the goal for all of us.  It's not just the quarterback position.  It's not just the offensive line or the wide receivers and tight ends or the defense.  We are all just trying to better ourselves in order for the overall success of the team.  One of those things is probably understanding to check the ball down and not take as many sacks.  That's something I feel like I have slowly gotten better with.  But you have to continue getting better.  I had a couple bad ones this weekend, so you have to just continue to keep building on that."

Q: Coach O'Brien talks about the importance of having a silent alarm in your head when a quarterback is in the pocket.  Is there any way you can develop that other than just learning it from game experience?
"I really feel like it's just experience and doing it at this level is something that I'm going to have to develop.  I developed it in high school.  But then again, high school is two steps slower.  It's a totally different game.  Ultimately, every day at practice (you) just work on it.  Even during 7-on-7 drills, you just try to get the ball out and you understand that the ball has to come out in a certain time period."

Q: How beneficial is it for you to have a veteran group of players around you and guys like Allen Robinson who is one of the best receivers out there?
"I think that is huge.  Allen is a big asset.  I feel like the offensive line is a big asset.  They are all seasoned guys.  They have all played through tough Big Ten schedules.  Having those guys out there and understanding they have your back and that they support you 100 percent and you support them with the same type of attitude."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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