Recently in All-Sports Blog Category


By Jack Dougherty, Student Staff Writer



Translation: champion. That is how German-born Laura Freigang can describe herself and her Penn State teammates following their game Wednesday night at Jeffrey Field.


Freigang, a freshman from Oppenheim, Germany, led the charge for the Nittany Lions in route to their 2-0 victory over Ohio State on Wednesday. The win ensured Penn State its 18th regular season Big Ten title in the last 19 years.  The Nittany Lions will share the trophy with Minnesota and Northwestern.  


Freigang got the Lions on the board in the 51st minute by heading home a curling ball from Haleigh Echard for her second goal of the season. Her two goals came in the first and last regular season games of the year, and both came in the 51st minute.


"I was so happy when I scored the goal because last week against [Michigan State] we had a very frustrating game, and there was a similar situation where I hit the ball way over the goal," Freigang said. "I kind of saw it coming and I was like I need to score this one because it was 0-0. I felt it coming. Everybody felt it coming, the first goal."


Head coach Erica Dambach noted Tuesday how the experienced players needed to step up in this match for Penn State to walk away with the win. Instead, the freshman made the most crucial play of the game and possibly the entire season.


"That is Laura Freigang through and through, coming up in a moment like she started the season against West Virginia," Dambach said. "She's just as dangerous as they come in NCAA soccer, and she proved it tonight."


Freigang has mostly come off the bench this season, starting just two games all year, but she's been aggressive when her number is called.


She has played 769 minutes this season and scored her two goals on 29 shots. She said following the win that she wished she could've done more offensively in her first year, but that the season isn't over yet.


Although she hasn't filled the stat sheet as much as she hoped, Freigang came through for Penn State when it mattered most on the biggest stage.


"It's always great when the work you put in comes out in such a game," Freigang said. "Props to Haleigh. The cross was great, I just had to finish."


In the 73rd minute Charlotte Williams added the insurance goal off a pass from Megan Schafer to make it 2-0. It was her fourth goal of the season.


The back line held a potent Ohio State offense to 10 shots and only one on goal. The defense didn't allow the Buckeye forwards anywhere near goalkeeper Amanda Dennis.


The title marks Dambach's ninth conference championship in her 10 years at Penn State. One might think she'd be used to it by now, but Dambach said this one is extra special.


"That was the first time in 10 years that I shed tears after a Big Ten championship, and that's just out of pure pride for what they did all season long," Dambach said. "We had our ups and downs but they came out here tonight with a set of belief. I'm just incredibly proud of this group."


Senior midfielder Nickolette Driesse is no stranger to championships either. She's been to the national title in all three of her collegiate seasons, the first two with Florida State and last year with Penn State.


Driesse, who is the only senior and a true leader in the lineup, was also emotional after the win.


"I don't think I could be happier, especially because we haven't really been playing to our potential and tonight it really clicked," Driesse said. "We saw how good we could be and we all believed in each other and that's why we got the result we did."


On a night filled with jubilation, tears of joy, and trophy-lifting, Penn State did what some thought it couldn't. Despite their ups and downs, nothing could stop the Nittany Lions from achieving their season-long goal.

VIDEO: Practice Update - Purdue

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State running back Saquon Barkley met with members of the media following practice Wednesday at the Lasch Football facility to preview Purdue week. The Nittany Lions hit the road to travel to West Lafayette, Indiana for a Saturday matchup. 

Check out updates from the Q&A session below.

Saquon Barkley

VIDEO: Purdue Week Player Q&A

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State linebackers Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell sit down to recap last week's Ohio State victory, while also looking ahead toward the upcoming road trip to Purdue Saturday. 

Check out the Q&A video sessions below.

Jason Cabinda

Brandon Bell

Freshman Feature: Gobetz & Company Stay on Track

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a huge weekend at Notre Dame with Penn State coming out victorious on Saturday, the Nittany Lions went back to work Monday afternoon at Pegula Ice Arena. 

There was a lot of enthusiasm over the win, but for the Nittany Lions it's time to focus on the next game at hand. 

"I think we enjoyed it for a few days," freshman defenseman James Gobetz said. "Obviously it was a big weekend for us and a big weekend for Penn State, but when we got back to the rink for practice it was all business." 

Gobetz, a native of St. James, New York, is no stranger to hard work. He spent three seasons at Salisbury School between 2012 and 2015, where during the same time the Crimson Knights won three New England Prep School Championships. 

Gobetz said his time at Salisbury really changed him and made him more mature, but also taught him valuable lessons about hockey that still apply today. 

"The mental aspect of the game," Gobetz said. "Your mental preparation on and off the ice, they go hand in hand. Your on ice performance is going to be affected by how you get ready for the game." 

He explained that learning how to balance the demands of hockey while at Salisbury prepared him to be a student-athlete in college, especially after spending the 2015-16 season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL.

"Some of us didn't go to school when we were there so we had a lot of free time to hang out," Gobetz said. "Being around the guys all the time, it's really like a brotherhood, and I'm thankful for that experience." 

The transition from Salisbury to the UHSL was a unique one, and Gobetz had to adjust to the quicker speed of play in the USHL.

"Once I got a little experience in the first two weeks I got used to it," Gobetz said.

Gobetz appeared in 52 games for Des Moines, where he had five goals and five assists. 

Now at Penn State, Gobetz has learned a lot in just the few months he's been in Hockey Valley. 

Playing with fellow freshman Kris Myllari on defense has allowed Gobetz to develop alongside another classmate, which had helped both players.

"I think we move the puck pretty well together," Gobetz said.  "We try to play solid defense on our end and try to get the puck up to the forwards and let them do what they do."

Gobetz also noted that head coach Guy Gadowsky keeps the team focused on performing it's best, but he also creates an environment conducive to success off the ice. 

"[Gadowsky has] taught us a lot about being where you're at and loving what you do," Gobetz said. "You have to love being with the guys and working hard and enjoying every minute."

Wednesday Round Up - Purdue

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Transcript: James Franklin Transcript: Players VIDEO: One-on-One with Jason Cabinda & Brandon Bell VIDEO: Saquon Barkley Post-Practice Update

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 24 Penn State football hits the road for the first time all month, traveling to Purdue for noon matchup in West Lafayette, Indiana Saturday.

The Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-1 East) enter the week on a three-game winning streak on the heels of a comeback victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State last week.

"It's going to be a good challenge," Franklin said. "It's going to be a different environment than the one we played in last week and that's what we are preparing for all week long."

Penn State has not played a game outside Beaver Stadium since meeting then-No. 4/5 Michigan, Sept. 24, 2016, as the trip to Purdue opens a series of three of the next four games in a true road game setting.

As he does every week, Franklin took a few moments to highlight the historic Ohio State victory, thanking the fans for filling Beaver Stadium and making a difference, before turning the focus toward the upcoming trip to Purdue.

Franklin noted that the return of Nittany Lion linebackers Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda from injury made tremendous difference to only in terms of their combined 31 tackles, but in their leadership as well.

"There's a lot of confidence with those guys on the field because we're able to lean on their experience," Franklin said. 

While Penn State knocked off its first top-2 team since winning at then-No. 1 Notre Dame in 1990, the Nittany Lions were quick to get back to work, making corrections, learning from the tape and focusing in on the Boilermakers. 

"I think that's something that gets lost in big wins," Cabinda said.  "Mistakes were made and there were a lot made during that game and we got better off that film. We put the Purdue film on and we're on to Purdue and our goal is just to be 1-0 this week."

On The Quote Board -
- Quarterback Trace McSorley's mother provides snacks for the offensive line every week.

"At our snack every Friday before the hotel, whether we're on the road or at home she finds some local establishment like bakery or something in town and she brings something different each week for those guys and there's always a little note in there," Franklin said. 

- Brandon Bell and DaeSean Hamilton both addressed the team in the hotel prior to Saturday's game, something a little unfamiliar to Bell.

"I've always had things that I wanted to express to the team, things like that," Bell said. "This year I am kind of in more of a leadership role; I felt more comfortable doing it. I expressed that to them and making sure our minds are right before the game and continue to do that in practice and on Saturdays." 

- Franklin said he has been most impressed with the way defensive coordinator Brent Pry has persevered in the wake of challenging situations throughout his tenure, specifically noting the recent injuries to the Nittany Lion linebacker unit.

"I've been a lot of place where that has happened and there has been a 'woe is me' by the coach and if you do that, the players take on that identity and he hasn't been like that. It's been next man up and what a great opportunity we have to go out and do something really special," Franklin said.

- Following the win on Saturday, Jason Cabinda located his mother in the front of the stands and went over to give her a hug.

"I had been out for a month and you can be down because you're not playing and stuff like that and then being able to finally be back on the field and being that she saw me through it all and that injury and that process of sitting out, it was just so great to have that kind of experience."

- Coach Franklin reflects on punter Blake Gillikin, with specific regard to the high snap on a punt attempt that he chased own to recover for a safety against Ohio State.

"We believe in recruiting athletes who happen to kick and that's what he is. He's been in competitive environments his entire life. You know, you could make a decision there to either fall on the ball and scoop it up or kick it out the back of the end zone, and I thought he showed great poise and athleticism to go get that ball."


By Jack Dougherty, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One win and the Big Ten title is theirs.


That's the case for the Nittany Lions Wednesday night as they face off against Ohio State in the regular season finale at Jeffrey Field. A win will ensure at least a share of the Big Ten regular season championship.


As it stands now, Penn State is tied at the top of the conference standings with Minnesota and Northwestern at 21 points each.


All three teams finish the season Wednesday night. Minnesota faces Maryland and Northwestern will be home in Evanston, Ill. to battle Illinois.


If all three teams take care of business, they will share the Big Ten regular season title. Penn State needs a win Wednesday and either a tie or loss by both the Gophers and Wildcats for sole possession of the championship and home field advantage throughout the Big Ten tournament.


The Lions secured home field advantage last season and ran the table in the conference tournament. It's called an advantage for a reason, and Penn State knows how important it is in the postseason.


"Not having to travel is huge," junior forward Megan Schafer said. "It just puts a lot on your body and everything. Being able to sleep in your own bed, it's just a very big advantage."


It all starts Wednesday, where Penn State will be on its own stomping grounds in the first legitimate do-or-die game of the year.


"We get to be on our home field, and we just get another shot," Schafer said. "We kind of talk about the beginning before conference play is its own little season, and then the Big Ten is another season, so to finish out the season, we just want to finish out on a high note. To be able to do it at home, got a lot of excitement for it."


"Going into this season, our first main goal was to win the Big Ten, and to get a chance to do that at home is really exciting and I think we'll be ready," redshirt junior defender Brittany Basinger said.


The forecast calls for low-forties temperature and possible winds, which for most would be a daunting setting. For the Lions, it's just another fall night.


"It's awesome soccer weather," head coach Erica Dambach said. "This is fall for us. This is what we love to play in, and this is Jeffrey Field."


The combination of the freezing setting and a rousing home crowd will be key factors in Wednesday night's match and every match moving forward.


As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes possess a dangerous and aggressive offensive unit that can strike at any moment. Ohio State ranks second in the Big Ten in goals (32) and points (92) this year.


Lindsay Agnew leads the charge up top with 27 points, which is tied for the Big Ten lead, on 10 goals and seven assists. She will be the focus of the Lions' defensive game plan.


Dambach stressed Tuesday at practice that Penn State needs to be able to thwart off seven and eight attackers and be able to counter quickly. She acknowledged Ohio State's personality players must be shut down, and that starts with Agnew.


For the home team, the players who have been in these situations before will be called upon to seize the moment.


Last year it was Raquel Rodriguez. This year it has largely been Frannie Crouse, but Dambach believes this is Schafer's time to get hot. Schafer has a five goals this season after netting 13 last year. This may just be the time she breaks out of her offensive slump, and what a time it would be to do so.


"Now that we've gotten to this point, we've got to see our big players step up now," Dambach said. "We've got to see Megan Schafer put one in the back of the net, and this is what big moments are all about."


Schafer herself is ready for that big moment. Nervousness is not a factor, for she's been here before and performed admirably. She's ready to go.

"I think when we have that pressure, I think we come out better and more prepared just because everything's on that line," Schafer said. "So it's all in our hands and it's our control. I'm just really excited to finish out the Big Ten season tomorrow night and start on the postseason."


By Zach Reagan, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In the final regular season home match of the season, Penn State men's soccer sent its seniors out in with a 1-0 non-conference victory over Wright State Tuesday night at Jeffrey Field.

Malik Cameron, Evan Finney, Riley Grant, Mason Klerks, Connor Maloney and Robby Sagel were honored after the match with their individual framed jerseys and action photos from their Nittany Lion careers. Penn State head coach Bob Warming applauded this senior class as a group of mature young men that represented Penn State on and off the field tremendously

"I'm going to miss everything about them (the seniors)," said Warming. "I've been coaching for five decades and I can tell you this generation of students is the best to be around out of any of them. They are so wired to what's going on in the world. We go on the road and we can talk about anything. They are global human beings. What I'm going to miss about them are the relationships."

As for the match itself, the lone goal of the match came in the eighth minute when the Nittany Lions (8-6-2) were on the attack against Wright State (9-5-2). Speedy Dayonn Harris sprinted down the sideline. He stopped then passed it off to Connor Maloney at the top of the box, then Maloney passed to a streaking Pierre Reedy charging at the top of the box. Reedy dribbled for a few seconds, hesitated to shoot instantly because of defender traffic in the box, but then sent a world-class left-footed shot into the left side of the net from 19 yards out to register his first career goal as a Nittany Lion.

"It felt good," said Reedy. "It was a long time coming so to finally get it, it was a good break for me."

On a night that celebrated the careers of seniors, Reedy, a freshman stood out. Fittingly enough, Maloney, a team captain and phenomenal player in Penn State history was credited with the assist. Maloney to Reedy was the passing of the torch in a sense.

"Look at the youth on this team; there's a lot to be hopeful for," said Warming. "There's a big, bright future for the team going ahead."

Reedy's goal put Penn State up 1-0 and the score didn't change the rest of the match. The Kutztown, Pa. native showed flashes of quickness down the wing all season but had no goals or assists to show for it.

"He's worked so hard all year long," said Warming. "He couldn't get an assist. He couldn't buy one then he gets two the last game in front of half of his high school then tonight to get a spectacular goal for first collegiate goal."

After Reedy's game-winning goal, Penn State continued offensive pressure throughout the first half with a few more scoring chances among their 12 shots. Most notably Sam Bollinger took a shot that hit the crossbar in the 43rd minute.

Coming out of halftime, the Nittany Lions sat back in defensive mode and the Raiders played most the last 45 minutes in Penn State's defensive end. The Raiders didn't have great chances to score but had a bunch of plays in the box in the latter stages of the match the Penn State held off. The game featured 26 shots in all, only three of them were on goal including Reedy's goal.

Warming preaches that the most common score line of college soccer games is 1-0 and Penn State found itself on the winning side of that score. Reedy's goal was enough as Penn State's senior goalkeeper Finney and the defense led by seniors held strong to post the team's fifth shutout of the season.

The Nittany Lions will look to continue to play their best soccer down the stretch as they travel to Northwestern Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. to conclude their Big Ten regular season. Depending on the result and the results of the other games, Penn State could host a Big Ten Tournament game at Jeffrey Field.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

History of Blocked Kicks For Touchdowns at Penn State

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

9519170.jpegBy Lou Prato, noted Penn State football historian and former director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - If anyone should know the last time Penn State scored a touchdown on a blocked punt or field goal, it should be someone like me who has written a few books and many articles about the history of the Nittany Lions football team, right?

Based on my near octogenarian memory and much research, which continues to this day, I'm not sure Penn State returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown had ever been done until Grant Haley did it last Saturday night late in the fourth quarter to upset No. 2 Ohio State. No Penn State player has ever done it inside Beaver Stadium, which opened in 1960.

You don't have to go too far back to find the last time Penn State blocked a punt for a touchdown, which also came against Ohio State. In the 2012 Penn State White Out clash in Beaver Stadium, Mike Hull blocked a Buckeye punt that fellow linebacker Michael Yancich recovered in the end zone for the score.

For the last 20 years, I have been researching Penn State football, studiously reading about every game. I have been at many of those games since my first one in 1955, either as a member of the media or simply a fan. I remember seeing only one other blocked kick run in for a touchdown and it was by Penn State's opponent, UCLA, in 1967 at Beaver Stadium. From my research, I found just one other game where a blocked kick resulted in an immediate touchdown, and that also was by an opponent, Penn, in 1908. 

There was a blocked kick by Penn State in 1906 that should have been a touchdown but wasn't because the player who recovered it ran the wrong way, in what is one of the more bizarre moments in college football history. Also, in 1974, Penn State had a field goal attempt blocked by West Virginia, but amazingly scored on the play.

I covered the 1967 UCLA game for Pittsburgh's Channel 11 television station. UCLA was No. 3 in the nation, led by quarterback Gary Beban, who would go on that season to win the Heisman and Maxwell trophies. Coach Joe Paterno was in his second year as head coach, and despite a surprising 17-8 win over favored Miami in the Orange Bowl the week before UCLA's visit, Paterno was still feeling the heat from his 5-5 finish in 1966 and a season opening 23-22 loss at Navy.

With six minutes left in the third quarter, and Penn State holding a surprising 7-3 lead over the Bruins, star running back Bobby Campbell went back to punt with the Lions at their own 25-yard line. UCLA's Vic Lepisto blocked the punt and it bounced into the end zone where tackle Hal Griffiths recovered. The game went down to the last minute with Penn State scoring and trying an onside kick that failed and UCLA escaped with a 17-15 victory. 

The narrow setback to UCLA would be the last loss for Penn State until 1970 as the Nittany Lions went on to set a team record that still stands of 31consecutive games without a defeat. 

The blocked kick in 1908 against the Quakers cost Penn State the game. It was on Oct. 10 in Philadelphia, with 7,000 fans watching at legendary Franklin Field and once again Penn State was surprising the heavily favored opponent. With the game still scoreless and about five minutes left, freshman Vic Ballou dropped back to punt from inside the Penn State 10-yard line. Penn's Fred Gaston recovered the blocked kick for the touchdown and Penn stopped a last minute Penn State drive near its 20-yard line to win, 6-0. Penn didn't lose a game that season, winning 11 and tying one. Meanwhile Penn State would finish 5-5 and in the next four years would become one of the best teams in the country, with the undefeated in 1911 and 1912 teams now recognized by some historians as national champions.

What happened on Oct. 20, 1906 against Yale in New Haven was almost unbelievable. Although both teams were undefeated, Penn State was again a big underdog. The rain started before the opening kickoff and with just five minutes into the game, Penn scored on a 39-yard run off a fumbled Penn State punt return to take a 6-0 lead.  A short time later, Penn State's veteran center-linebacker William "Mother" Dunn broke through and blocked a Yale punt at its 40-yard line. Sophomore guard Cy Cyphers scooped up the ball as it bounced into the air and ran towards the goal line. All at once he was in the clear and goal line was getting closer. Then he looked back and saw his teammates waving their arms and screaming something at him. Suddenly, he realized he was running the wrong way!

Cyphers turned and started going back but it was too late. He was smothered by several Yale tacklers at about the Penn State 20-yard line. Yale took advantage of Cyphers faux pas and kicked a field goal (worth four points then) and that would end the scoring for the day. Yale's 10 points would be the only ones scored on Penn State that season and the team finished with an 8-1-1 record, best in Penn State football's short 20-year history to that point. Yale wound up undefeated and unscored upon but tied in nine games and is considered at least the co-national champions of the season.

However, it was the Penn game that made Dunn Penn State's original first-team All-American. Walter Camp, the former Yale coach and patriarch of college football, was there, but he was more than a spectator. Since 1889 (and for years after) Camp had selected the bonafide All-American team. After the season, Camp chose Dunn as his center, writing in Collier's Magazine, " was he who led his team to such a remarkable record, a good deal of it depending on Dunn himself."  Of course, Dunn became a Penn State legend while "Wrong-way Cyphers" disappeared into Penn State history. 

In the Nittany Lions' 1974 game at West Virginia, the Mountaineers blocked John Reihner's field goal attempt from the 17-yard-line in the third quarter. West Virginia's John Eastwood tried to pick up the ball, but it bounced into the end zone, where Eastwood again tried to corral it. Penn State's Ron Coder pounced on the loose ball for the bizarre touchdown en route to a 21-12 Nittany Lion win on October 26, 1974.

In one play against Ohio State, Grant Haley has become a Penn State luminary and a unique one in school history. Now the question is, will fans remember Marcus Allen, who blocked that Buckeye kick? 


By Zach Reagan, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Six Penn State men's soccer seniors will take to the pitch for their home finale at Jeffrey Field Tuesday night.

Penn State faces Wright State as the Nittany Lions look to notch their eighth home victory of the season and conclude yet another successful home slate of games. For the seniors, this game means extra given the sentimental nature of Senior Night. Senior Night honors all the hard work on and off the field, the memories, and the progression throughout their own individual collegiate careers.

"It's great to recognize that we appreciate their efforts," said Penn State head coach Bob Warming.

The six seniors on the team came from very different walks of life, and different locations throughout the country. Seniors Connor Maloney, Mason Klerks and Evan Finney call themselves "The Big Three," since they're the three remaining from their original recruiting class. Seniors Robby Sagel, Riley Grant and Malik Cameron joined the Nittany Lions differently, as transfers.

They've all come together to gel as a giant family and see each other as brothers, according to Finney. Most importantly the senior class is made up of young men who have grown athletically, academically and socially during time at Penn State.

Warming calls the group of seniors a great representative of Penn State on the field, off the field, and in the classroom. On the field, they've taken their soccer skills and fitness levels to new heights with a high work ethic and with the support of outstanding coaches and athletic trainers within the program.

"Each one of the seniors has brought something tremendous to the program in their own way," said Warming. "They've taken advantage of everything Penn State has to offer."

Team captain Maloney has taken advantage of everything Penn State has to offer and more. Maloney is a special talent evolved his game from being a right back as a freshman to an attacking forward as a senior. He has scored seven goals and added four assists in his final season wearing the blue and white. The Harrisburg, Pa. native has been a vital player for Penn State, scoring 26 goals and adding 16 assists for a total of 68 points in his career. Maloney is a two-time All-Big Ten First Team honoree and 2014 Big Ten Player of the Year.

"He's improved his passing, shooting, dribbling and fitness remarkably," said Warming.

Since Maloney came on campus in the summer of the freshman year, he's been building upon his social skills which has led to him being named team captain. He credits former player (now assistant coach) Owen Griffith and former player Mikey Minutillo for showing him what makes it takes to be a standout leader.

"I've taken more responsibility as a leader on and off the field," said Maloney.

The second member of "The Big Three," Finney has been strong in goal throughout his career for "Goalkeeper U." The San Francisco, Calif. native earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice in his senior season and has posted three shutouts, with two of those have come after bouncing back from an injury.

He looks to build upon his favorite memories with a postseason run this season. He remembers vividly in 2013 when the Nittany Lions beat Northwestern in double overtime for the Big Ten regular season championship then later in the year upset UC Santa Barbara in front of a huge crowd at Santa Barbara in the NCAA Tournament to send the Nittany Lions to the Sweet 16. With another semester remaining, Finney is excited to treasure even more moments.

"I have another semester left and I'm going to take full advantage of it," Finney said. "I love Penn State."

Sagel, a transfer defender and Las Vegas, Nev. native has played in 31 matches with 30 starts on the backline for the Blue and White. His two career goals came in crucial moments against then-No. 10 Indiana in 2015 and then-No. 19 Michigan State this year. Sagel has been a pillar for the defense which has posted 10 shutouts in his two years at Penn State.

He faces offensive challenges from forwards on the field but he's also been challenged in the classroom. He said it's better prepared him for the future. As for Senior Night, he said he's going to be emotional but it's not going to distract from the game at stake.

"It's sad to think about," said Sagel. "I think those feelings will come in the moment. Instead of it being the end for the seniors, I think it's the start of a run."

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

Big Ten Coaches Teleconference - Terry Smith

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach Terry M. Smith joined the Big Ten Head Coaches Teleconference in place of Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin this afternoon.

Smith took questions from members of the media, recapping Penn State's victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State last weekend, while also looking ahead to the trip to Purdue Saturday.

Check out updates from the Q&A session below.

Being ranked for the first time in five seasons, is there any change in terms of your game week strategy?
Smith: No, we're going to approach it as business as usual. We work under the belief that the next game is the most important game, no matter who your opponent is. I think there is just a little bit more excitement. Our kids, have bought into the process the entire year and after a game like this past weekend, the process becomes - I don't want to say easier, but the buy in is even greater. Our kids are excited for this week.  For us personally, we haven't won a game on the road so it will be a good test for us to get our first road victory.

What are your impressions of Purdue's David Blough, as he has led the Big Ten in passing yards at 306 per game?
Smith: He can throw the ball, he has some very good receivers on the perimeter, some guys who are fast and athletic, who create challenges for us out on the perimeter. When you watch him play the last few weeks, I think he has thrown for over 300 yards the last two games. He is very accurate, he throws a good ball - a catchable ball, and you can see him directing the offense. He got off to a pretty good start after the first play last week, but after that they got it together. We have our work cut out for us and we're going to figure out how to slow him down and keep the pass game to a minimum.

How critical has Marcus Allen been over the last few weeks with his ability as you have waited to get healthy at linebacker?Smith: He has been huge.  A few weeks ago he had 22 tackles in the ball game and then obviously blocking the kick and making a lot of tackles this past weekend. He is doing what we would expect of him. We knew he was a special player for us a few years ago when he started midway through his freshman season. He has taken on a leadership role on our team and he is doing a lot of leading by example and producing pretty good results for us.

How much more versatile can this defense be moving forward, considering a guy like Koa Farmer has kind of gotten involved while waiting for [Brandon] Bell and Jason [Cabinda] to get back?
Smith: The one good thing is that we've built some depth through the injury situation, so we have some guys who have good, viable playing experience, that can come off the bench and keep guys fresh. The guys who have come off the bench are probably a little bit more athletic, just not as much playing experience. It gives us some options and it gives us the ability to change our scheme slightly, depending on who our opponent is.  The last few weeks we've started to jell a little bit. Each week we're playing a little bit better and better.

With the return of Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda, how crucial were they in the win Saturday and how much of a boost do they give the defense moving forward?
Smith: They give us a tremendous boost, when you talk about two veteran players who have played a lot of football for Penn State. Their leadership, most importantly, they are getting guys lined up and making sure there's the right calls, the right checks. Then for the two of them to go out there and have 31 tackles, we've missed that. We've missed their direction and their leadership. We just want to try to make sure those guys stay healthy and stay active and try to continue to lead us in a good direction.

On Jordan Smith, what does his experience mean to the team and your secondary group and what are your thoughts on his play down the stretch against Ohio State?
Smith: Jordan has played a huge role for us, coming off the bench in certain roles. He has made tremendous plays for us the last few weeks, including the pass breakup on the last series of our defense. His veteran savviness, he's a great leader in the cornerback room. All the other corners look to him. He is kind of that wise, older spokesman. He has been around the block, he doesn't get too high and doesn't get too low. He understands what his role on our football team is and when he's asked to contribute, he is contributing greatly for us. He has had some good success for us here in the last few weeks and we hope for that to continue here in the last few weeks.

Coming off of a big win that coincided with 75 prospects in attendance, how do you think that showcased Penn State?
Smith: The greatest thing is that we defended our home turf. We always want to win games at home. It was a pretty electric atmosphere. We hope that we impacted one or two recruits for the future, but all we can do is try to take care of business on the football field. We're just worried about one more game and that's Purdue this week. We're trying to keep our focus right on those guys because if we turn around and lay an egg against Purdue, then what good is that victory last weekend?

How many times since Saturday have you watched Grant Haley's touchdown off of the blocked field goal and how have to seen him develop as a corner this year?
Smith: I watched it probably two times through film study, just when I'm grading the film. Once the game is over and we review the film, it's time to move on. Purdue is our next test so that's for the fans to continue to watch and to continue to Tweet and those things. Our mission and purpose right now is 100 percent Purdue.

Obviously the play on Saturday was a huge play for Penn State football this year and maybe one of the biggest plays in the history of Penn State football. He [Haley] has developed into a great corner, he competes at a high level and he covered exceptionally well against arguably some of the best receivers in the nation and he has done that all year. He competes at a high level. He is a smart kid. He is fundamentally sound and he makes very few mistakes. He is just developing into a great leader, player and person for us here at Penn State.


  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago