UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith joined this week's assistant coaches conference call to talk Penn State football during Georgia State week.
Listen in and catch up on a few notes from Smith's Q&A session.
Update on the Newcomers
Penn State true freshmen corner backs Tariq Castro-Fields and Lamont Wade are two of three true freshmen to make their collegiate debut in 2017. With both developing well, Smith is confident in where their development is at in week three.
"They have played a decent amount of minutes and plays for the first two games and as the season grows on, we want to have those guys ready so that when we get into conference play - you just never know when injuries are going to set in," Smith said. "We want to have those guys ready so they can step into full time roles as needed."The Grandpa of The Cornerback Room
When Penn State is recruiting its corners, Smith noted that the type of recruit they are seeking is one who resembles what Haley has done for the Nittany Lions. With an even-keel personality, it's Haley who sets the tone in the room, with his consistency on the field backing up his leadership and accountability, often called the grandpa of the cornerback room as Smith notes.
"His leadership in our room is why we are playing at a high level right now," Smith said. "A lot that is going on, on the back end is attributed to Grant Haley."
More on the Stripes
Yesterday, Penn State head coach James Franklin mentioned the newest Nittany Lion tradition, where newcomers have to earn the stripes on their practice helmets. Smith noted today that Castro-Fields was actually the first freshman to earn a helmet stripe.
"Tariq came in really, really prepared," Smith said. "He's a mature kid, he's big, he's strong, he's fast. It was a few weeks, but he has had an instant impact. He has done a really nice job and he continues to get better for us."
Two Week Evaluation
Smith was asked to evaluate the state of the cornerback unit through two weeks, already nearly to the conclusion of week three.
"I think we're playing at an elite level," Smith said. "I think we're making plays on the football better than we have in the last three years here. I have a great group of guys who are dialed in, they are locked in and they prepare really, really well. They work really hard during the week to perfect their craft."