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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 20/23 Penn State is back in Beaver Stadium this week, set to host Iowa Saturday in a primetime matchup under the lights.
The Nittany Lions (6-2, 4-1) and the Hawkeyes (5-3, 3-2) will meet at 7:30 p.m. on BTN. Penn State enters the matchup having won all five of its home outings this season, while Iowa will look to extend its nine-game wining streak in games played on the road.
Penn State head coach James Franklin met addressed the media Tuesday afternoon to recap the Nittany Lion 62-24 road win at Purdue, while also looking ahead to Iowa.
The Nittany Lions have won each of their last four games and Franklin quickly pointed out that execution across two areas has played a major role in increased success. Most notably, Franklin pointed out Penn State's ability to limit turnovers, while also creating opportunities to score points off of opponent miscues.
Penn State played its second turnover-free game of the season on the road at Purdue and its first since the win against Minnesota. The Nittany Lions have just two turnovers in their four-game winning streak.
"I think the turnovers jump-started us in the second half. Brandon Smith's interception, Jordan Smith's fumble recovery on the muffed punt," Franklin said, looking back at the Purdue win. "We had 28 points off of turnovers, which I think is more points than we had all year long off turnovers."
The next piece of recent success, has been the upward increase explosive plays. More on that here.
On the defensive side of things, Franklin noted that keys to success have come in the ability to effectively stop the run game, as well as eliminating opponents in their ability to make explosive plays.
Penn State held Purdue to just 46 yards on the ground, while also surrendering just five plays of 20-yards or more, the second-fewest for the Nittany Lions in a Big Ten game this season.
"Overall, I am really proud of how the guys played, how they competed when going on the road, winning a game against a team that had been playing with a lot of energy recently and with the confidence they had from what they had done against Nebraska the week before," Franklin said.
Looking toward Iowa, a methodical team with a veteran head coach in Kirk Ferentz, the Hawkeyes are coming off a bye week, having lost to then-No. 10/10 Wisconsin, 17-9, at home.
With Iowa ranked among the Big Ten's best defensively, Franklin also noted that the Hawkeyes are committing very few errors offensively, while also posing a threat in their return game.
"What's going to be an important part of the game, is the
turnover margin, improving on third down and limiting their big plays on
special teams," Franklin said. "Those are going to be a real focus all week
On The Quote Board -
- James Franklin on the correlation between success on the field and team chemistry.
"I think any successful team is really close. You have to have trust in any successful football team. You have to have love for one another. You have to have belief. Those are three things that you have to have: trust, love and belief in any successful team, organization, corporation for it to be successful. We have that right now."
- Brendan Mahon on why he chose to come to Penn State.
"Penn State, this place, this atmosphere, kind of speaks for itself. I remember my first visit here, driving over, coming from New Jersey. So Route 80. Coming over the hill, you see Beaver Stadium. It takes a moment to set in. I was like, Wow, that place is huge. That would be amazing to play in front of all those people."
- Andre Robinson on what happens when there's a fumble.
"Not good. Mentally and physically, it just messes your head up a little bit. Luckily we haven't had too many this year. That's definitely something we're trying to get down to zero, or as low as possible."
- James Franklin on two key areas to watch for in terms
of matchups against Iowa
"It's going to be our D-line against their O-line. I think it's going to be our O-line against their front seven. That's an area that we've been improving on since the beginning of the season. They're a veteran developmental program that does a great job year in and year out."
By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week nine has arrived and the Nittany Lions are set to return to Beaver Stadium for another primetime outing under the lights.
Having won each of the last four games, Penn State also enters the week with the second-longest winning streak in the Big Ten Conference.
"We keep growing and and maturing, finding ways to win," Franklin said Saturday following the 62-24 win on the road at Purdue.
Franklin also noted postgame the growth and maturity among the streaking Nittany Lions has been particularly present within the recent string of four consecutive victories. Beginning with a 29-26 overtime win against Minnesota, the Nittany Lions rolled past Maryland, 38-14, and upset the then-No. 2 team in the country Ohio State, 24-21, before earning the 62-24 win on the road against the Boilermakers.
"These are all different types of wins and I think that's what you have to do to develop into a good football team and a good football program," Franklin said. "You have to learn how to win all different ways."
Up to No. 20 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, Penn State also enters Saturday's matchup looking to defend its unblemished 5-0 record at home in Beaver Stadium this season. The Hawkeyes head to Happy Valley with wins in each of their last nine consecutive road games, including three in 2016.
Chunk Plays Paying Off
Key chunk plays have been a high point for the Nittany Lions all season long, as Penn State has logged at least 10 plays of 20 yard or more in four games this year, including three of its last four games. The Nittany Lions registered a season-high 12 long yardage plays against Purdue, highlighted by the 81-yard Barkley rushing touchdown.
Barkley has run for at least 20 yards on 14 occasions this season, which ranks second nationally, according to cfbstats.com. He posted five of his 14 long yardage plays against Purdue, grabbing a pair of passes for 21-plus yards and running for at least 20 yards three more times.
Quarterback Trace McSorley has tossed a total of 34 long yardage plays on the year, entering the week ranked second in the conference and sixth nationally, averaging 14.78 passing yards per completion.
Penn State saw six different players catch at least one long yardage play in the win against Purdue, with McSorley accounting for five of the six and back up quarterback Tommy Stevens recording his first with a 26-yard pass to Irvin Charles.
has Penn State's 51 combined long yardage plays (passing, rushing) as 11th
nationally and second among Big Ten teams.
All Kinds of Awards for Barkley
After totaling 277 all-purpose yards, including a career-high 207 yards on the ground, the awards have started piling up for Saquon Barkley this week.
Setting a sophomore single game record with 277 all-purpose yards, Barkley logged his second 200-yard rushing performance to become the first Nittany Lion to rush for 200 yards in a game twice in a season since Larry Johnson in 2002.
In addition to collecting his second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award of the season, he was also selected as one of 18 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, presented by the Maxwell Football Club to the National Player of the Year. He is one of five underclassmen (4 sophomores, 1 freshman) to be selected as semifinalists.
Barkley enters the week ranked first in the Big Ten and 16th nationally with 10 rushing touchdowns on the year, while his 11 total touchdowns on the year is atop the conference standings and 16th nationally.
Quick Look at Iowa
Penn State and Iowa are set to meet for the first time since 2012 and the first time in Beaver Stadium since the Hawkeyes visited in 2011.
Fresh off of a bye week, Iowa is led by head coach Kirk Ferentz, who has guided the Hawkeyes to a 5-3 record in 2016 including a 3-2 mark in Big Ten play.
On the defensive side of things, cornerback Desmond King was recently named a semifinalist for the 2016 Bednarik Award, in addition to finalist selections for the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award. The 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner has logged 41 tackles on the year and leads the team with six pass break-ups, having highlighted the year with a 41-yard interception at Purdue. The Hawkeyes are also led by 2016 Butkus Award semifinalist Josey Jewell, leading team and ranked second in the Big Ten with 77 tackles to date.
Penn State owns a slim advantage in the all-time series against the Hawkeyes, leading 13-12 all-time with wins in each of the last two meetings.
Seats for Servicemembers
Penn State will host its fifth annual "Seats for Servicemembers" game against the Hawkeyes. The yearly program honors all active and retired service members for their sacrifice and dedication with a ticket free of charge and a complementary pregame tailgate. A total of 7,500 tickets were available for service members and their families due to generous Penn State supporters.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a tale of two halves for Penn State football, as the Nittany Lions lit up the scoreboard in the second half to rebound from a closely contested opening frame at Ross-Ade Stadium.
With a BYOJ (bring your own juice) mentality, the Nittany Lions flipped a 17-17 halftime tally into its highest scoring outing in a Big Ten game since 2005 with a 45-point second half to secure the win.
Sparked by linebacker Brandon Smith's third quarter interception on third-and-3 for the Boilermakers that led to Chris Godwin's second touchdown catch of the day, Penn State took down Purdue, 62-24, for its fourth consecutive win.
Take a look at a few key takeaways from the Purdue victory.
Winning the Turnover Battle
Along with an advantage in explosive plays, Penn State head coach James Franklin has noted week after week, that eliminating turnovers would put the Nittany Lions in position for long term success.
Penn State also entered Saturday's matchup having converted 20 points off of just nine opponent turnovers on the year. The Nittany Lions scored 28 points off of four Purdue turnovers, all in the second half.
"When they were doing such a good job controlling the ball, the turnovers were huge," Franklin said.
The Nittany Lions converted with touchdowns on all four Boilermaker turnovers as Godwin and running backs Saquon Barkley, Mark Allen and Andre Robinson all scored on the ensuing drives.
Running Back U?
For the first time since 2007, four different Nittany Lion running backs scored a touchdown with Barkley, Allen, Robinson and true freshman Miles Sanders logging touchdowns in the win over Purdue. They are the first four to do so since Rodney Kinlaw (1 rushing), Evan Royster (1 rushing), Austin Scott (2 rushing), Dan Lawlor (1 rushing) and Matt Hahn (1 receiving) all scored in a 59-0 win against Florida International, Sept. 1, 2007.
Barkley led the group with a career outing, combining for 277 all purpose yards, including personal-best 207 rushing yards. Registering the most rushing yards since Larry Johnson had 289 against Michigan State in 2002, Barkley dazzled through the Boilermaker defense for a career-long 81-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Check out Barkley's 81-yard rushing touchdown that sent Penn State surging ahead 48-24 early in the fourth quarter.
Six Scoring Drives in Less Than Two Minutes
Penn State put together six scoring drives all spanning less than two minutes in the win against the Boilermakers for the first time since doing so in a 61-7 win against Michigan State in 2002.
Penn State moved the ball 82 yards in just five plays in 1:59 in the second quarter to tie the score 14 in the first of the Nittany Lions' six scoring drives taking fewer than two minutes. Quarterback Trace McSorley found Barkley for a 21-yard completion before targeting the ever-consistent Godwin, crossing for the 38-yard touchdown pass.
The remaining five scoring drives in less than two minutes all came in the second half, with Godwin's 1-yard touchdown catch helped out by Smith's interception and Robinson's 4-yard touchdown run helped out by Jordan Smith's fumble recovery on Purdue's muffed punt midway through the third quarter.
Penn State's shortest scoring drive of the day, came by way of Barkley's fourth-quarter 81-yard touchdown run, which took just 13 seconds. Among the Nittany Lions' scoring drives executed in less than two minutes, Barkley made one play for at least 17 yards in five of the six.
Franklin also noted postgame that offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead fully anticipated that Barkley would go the distance for the 81-yard score.
"Before that drive started, Joe goes, 'coach after this 81-yard touchdown do you want to go for two or kick the extra point' and everyone kind of looked at him like he was crazy and then there goes Saquon jump over three people and score a touchdown," Franklin said.
With the sixth win of the season, the Nittany Lions are now bowl eligible. Penn State has appeared in 46 bowl games in program history, which is tied for the ninth-highest total among FBS program at the start of the season.
Penn State head coach James Franklin has guided his teams to a bowl appearance in each of his six seasons as a head coach, including three at Vanderbilt and three at Penn State. Franklin is one of 12 active FBS coaches to accomplish the feat and one of eight coaches to do so while at an FBS program.
Listen in as Franklin addresses the team after the win, sharing the news.
Gameday Central | Gameday Blog | Game Notes | Press Conference Roundup | Wednesday Practice Update | Coach Pry Q&A | Big Ten Coaches Teleconference - Terry Smith | Monday Notebook | Nittany Lions in the NFL
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in more than a month, Penn State football will hit the road, traveling to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers Saturday.
The Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-1 East) and the Boilermakers (3-4, 1-3 West) are set to meet for the first time since 2013 as Penn State makes its first trip to Ross-Ade Stadium since 2012 for a noon kickoff on ABC/ESPN2. Network TV coverage map available HERE.
Penn State highlighted the final outing of a three-game homestand with a historic 24-21 victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State. Junior cornerback Grant Haley capped off a 17-point fourth-quarter comeback with a 60-yard touchdown return off a blocked Ohio State field goal attempt by junior safety Marcus Allen to secure the upset.
The accolades piled up for the Nittany Lions following the win, as Haley and Allen split Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors, while linebacker Brandon Bell earned the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week nod. Leading the team with 18 tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss, Bell also picked up Bednarik Award Player of the Week honors. Haley also earned the Big Ten Rose Bowl Player of the Week award, while Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin was selected as the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.
Among all the weekly individual awards, Penn State's victory also vaulted the Nittany Lions into the Associated Press poll.
Now on a three-game winning streak, it's a business-as-usual approach as Penn State has put Ohio State in the past, quickly turning the focus toward preparing for the trip to Purdue, which presents a much different atmosphere than the friendly surroundings at Beaver Stadium.
"We know what kind of situation we're going into," senior center Brian Gaia said earlier this week. "It doesn't matter where we're at, whether it's home or away we're going to try to bring our own energy so that way we don't have to rely on something else." Gaia said.
Led by interim head coach Gerad Parker, the Boilermakers are coming off of an inspired outing at then-No. 8 Nebraska last week. Purdue led the Cornhuskers at the half, 14-10, before falling short in a 27-14 decision. The Boilermakers' lone conference win this year came on the road at Illinois, as Purdue rallied to top the Illini, 34-31 in overtime. Penn State is up 13-3 in the all-time series against Purdue, with wins in each of the last seven games dating back to 2005.
What to Watch For - Penn State
- Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley has settled into his role within the new offense, combining his effective passing with his developing ability to become another dimension in the Nittany Lion run game. Despite just eight completions against Ohio State, McSorley engineered key scoring drives for the Nittany Lions, tossing four receptions for at least 20 yards, including the a 20-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin at the end of the first half.
"With each game and each rep, he continues to gain confidence," Franklin said earlier this week. "I've been pleased with him but he's been pretty much steady Eddie. He hasn't changed. His approach has been really good. His practice habits have been really good. His questions have been really good. His leadership has been really good."
- Penn State's defensive line shined in the Nittany Lion victory against the Buckeyes, but this week there will be an added emphasis on the secondary unit as cornerbacks coach Terry Smith noted Purdue's athletic receivers present a challenge on the perimeter. With Haley and Allen coming off of stellar performances against the Buckeyes, Penn State's secondary group also features another experienced veteran in Malik Golden, who has registered at least six tackles in the last five games he has played in.
- Entering an entirely different environment on the road this week, Franklin has stressed throughout the week that there's an added importance surrounding Penn State's ability to continue its intensity on the road this week, especially as it pertains to helping the Nittany Lions get out to a strong start early in the game.
"Our two losses this year so far have been on the road," running back Saquon Barkley said. "We try to create our our juice because we don't have that energy from Beaver Stadium."
What to Watch For - Purdue
- Purdue's passing offense is atop the Big Ten standings this week, led by redshirt sophomore quarterback David Blough. Averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game, Blough's thrown for at least 300 yards in each of the last two outings, completing 25-of-43 passes for 309 yards last week at Nebraska. His 2,065 passing yards on the year are also ranked first in the Big Ten and 18th nationally in the FBS rankings.
- The Boilermakers are averaging 306 yards per game in their passing attack this year, which is tops in the Big Ten and ranks 16th nationally in the FBS standings. Wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey is leading the team with five touchdown catches on the year, averaging 70.1 yards per game, which ranks seventh in the league. Yancey highlighted the most recent outing on the road in Nebraska, grabbing an 88-yard touchdown pass from Blough, marking the longest completion in the Big Ten this year.
- Matching up against its second consecutive ranked opponent, Boilermaker head coach Gerad Parker will lead Purdue on to the field at home in Ross-Ade Stadium for the first time at the helm of the program. Franklin noted that with the change in Parker stepping in as interim head coach, the Boilermakers have reacted well and could be poised to present a challenge to the Nittany Lions in unfamiliar territory.
"Their team responded to [Parker] really well last week," Franklin said. "New coach, new style. Nebraska is ranked in the Top 10, on the road and they were winning at halftime against them, so it's going to be challenge. There's no doubt about it and our guys are going to have to be ready."
The Final Word -
The Nittany Lions have played each of their last three games at home in Beaver Stadium putting together a winning streak that features victories against Minnesota (29-26-OT), Maryland (38-14) and of course, Ohio State (24-21). Heading out on the road to Purdue, Penn State will now play three of its final five games of the season on the road. Maintaining momentum and intensity will be key, along with the ability to create and sustain energy in a somewhat new environment, with trips to Indiana and Rutgers for the first time since 2014 quickly approaching.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry took time to talk with members of the media Thursday afternoon.
Check out updates from the Q&A session below.
Could you reflect on
the season and how its been so far with everything you've went through with the
defense and just where things are for you heading into Purdue?
Pry: Obviously there has been a lot of adversity. The plan was to have some veteran linebackers and a veteran back end to help bring the young front along. We got thrown a curve ball early with the injuries to [Brandon] Bell and Jason [Cabinda] and then [Nyeem] Wartman-White. So some guys had to grow up fast and it put a little more onus on the front. Week-by-week, I think they've improved. Coach [Sean] Spencer has done a great job just getting those guys experience, rolling them and playing a lot of guys. We've seen the maturity increase each week and I think that's been an important part to get us to this point. I also think that the adversity we faced and the way the kids handled it became a positive. That thing had a chance to slip sideways with a couple of tough losses where you didn't play well and you have your new guys playing. The guys really set their jaw, persevered, worked hard and kept seeking results. Ultimately it gave us the chance to get better each week.
How does having
Brandon [Bell] and Jason [Cabinda] back help you from a play-calling standpoint
and how much flexibility does it allow you?
Pry: Against Ohio State, we were able to do some things that we hadn't done previously. Many offenses now, including Ohio State, are check with me, where they are getting a call on the sideline after the coaches in the box take a look at the defense. Against Minnesota, against Maryland, we kind of rode out what we had. We checked a few times against Maryland, we didn't check at all against Minnesota. So when somebody would ID a pressure or ID a defense, we had to kind of ride it out and with those experienced guys in there, particularly the two of them together, you feel like you can change a call and make an adjustment out there on the field that's going to get communicated and get executed. That was really big for us and obviously just the leadership and the confidence that the rest of the kids have in those two guys, I think it's uplifting to everybody.
If someone told you
before the Ohio State game that Bell and Cabinda would have played the entire
duration, what would you have said and what makes those two so effective as
Pry: I'll say this, I think the plan was - I felt a little bit better about Cabinda playing a fair amount of snaps, but I wasn't sure if Bell would be able to. That's something you evaluate and you have to do a good job of evaluating that early on guys who are coming back from injuries and how much they should play.
To be honest, we were able to kind of control some of those reps and Manny Bowen slid over to Will [linebacker], but I wouldn't have thought they would have played that number of snaps. In a big game like that, those are your big dogs and they want to be out there. That's kind of the type of guys they are. Again, those two guys are so mature and so smart - they are great students of the game, they get it. As the play is turning over and the ball is snapped, they have great recognition of what's going on. That comes from experience, those guys have played a lot of football and they're students of the game.
It's kind of two-fold, it allows them to see things quickly and react quickly. I think that they both have good skill sets, each of them are strong in certain traits that allow them to physically be what you need to beat a team like Ohio State. They both tackled very well, particularly Brandon in the game, on some very good athletes. They both play with a lot of confidence and a big chip on their shoulder and they played very hard. They are definitely two guys who I would consider to be well rounded linebackers.
It looks like things did
go a little sideways in the second half of the Michigan game. How did you get
everybody to reset and not let that game beat you two or three times?
Pry: I think to me, the expectations are the same, it doesn't matter who is out there. You can say that or you can live that and we live that. Particularly in my room where the injuries were mounting up. Jan Johnson didn't feel any less accountable than Jason Cabinda. Brandon Smith didn't feel any less accountable than Nyeem Wartman-White. Those guys felt like everybody was counting on them and it was their responsibility to prepare each week. We had a third team Mike [linebacker] against Michigan who gets thrown out on a targeting call and then his back up, Jan Johnson, the fourth team guy comes in and plays pretty good and gets injured in the second quarter. At that point, it becomes, ok you're going to play somebody at a spot and he hasn't played at all fall and hasn't practiced there and that's where it gets dicey because you're just not familiar with what's going to happen to him at that spot. The preparation is not the same. We had a similar situation against Minnesota at the end of the game. Brandon Smith and Jake Cooper go down with injuries, those were your two Mike's in the game and then Manny Bowen, who has never played a snap of Mike in his life, has to line up at the end of regulation and in overtime and play Mike linebacker. You can help them with some calls that are a little easier. Manny got a quick lesson in three calls at Mike linebacker on the sideline and went out there and did pretty well. I think the guys have to adapt and adjust, but it does come to a certain point where you think, alright now we have to really dumb it down because we have some guys who are playing out of position and haven't had any practice at it.
When you look back at
the season to date, what to you, as the leader of the defense are you proudest
of so far?
Pry: I think fighting through adversity. There was a lot on these guys. You come out of Pitt and you rebound and play pretty good against Temple and you feel better about things. You know you have your hands full going on the road at Michigan and you have a couple of injuries that hurt you. You have a couple of busts early in the game, you have a missed sack opportunity, you have a sudden change. Things kind of mounted up and we cut through all of that and come back after the game and say, look, this is where we're at with this thing. We can be this type of defense and we can be very good and here's why. Here's the positives that we did against Temple, here's the positives we had against Kent State, here's the positive things we did against Michigan and Pitt. Here's why we didn't play things so well against Michigan and Pitt, here's the things that happened. It's not about who is out there, it's about us and what we did as coaches or players where we can be better. Let's learn from that and put it away and let's be better for it. I think that's what we were able to do to be quite honest.
We went into the Minnesota game against a very good team that was very challenging offensively and we didn't play great, but we played well enough in spots and took away the things we felt we needed to take away and it gave us a chance to win. We grew from there. Maryland presented some new challenges and some differences and I think the guys have gained confidence in their own ability and their own play. They have found their identity. It's been fun watching their growth.
I think the adversity that those guys had to work through - I've been too many times, too many places where the adversity has you and it's going the other direction. I think the staff did a tremendous job from Coach Franklin on down and from the defense on down, just hammering away. Even the injured guys, just watching those guys be involved with the guys who had to step up. It's such an inspiration. Those guys never turned it down a notch - Cabinda and Bell and Nyeem, when [Evan] Schwan was hurt and Malik [Golden] was out, they really stepped up their game when they had to be on the sideline having to help those guys get prepared and giving them confidence.
Two season ending injuries
in back-to-back years, how has Nyeem Wartman-White handled this past month and
is a return for him possible?
Pry: I'm never going to say never. I don't know the answer to that totally. I'd say it looks doubtful, Nyeem's looking to the future. His attitude has been outstanding. I don't know if I could handle it the same way. He comes in with a big smile and he's coaching these guys up and he's an inspiration to everybody. He is refreshing that way and it makes everybody smack themselves and say hey, look how fortunate I am, this guy has this great attitude and he is on his second ACL, what do I have to complain about? Nyeem has a bright future, whether it's in football or coaching or something outside of athletics. He is an outstanding young man and we're going to be with him every step of the way.
James Franklin this
week has been told praise for you and what you've been able to do leading the
defense through the adversity. What is your relationship like with him in terms
of your history together?
Pry: Let me tell you, when we give up too many points or too many plays, I don't know that we're buddies because he's ripping my tail. There is mutual respect and I think he has never waned. He has had the utmost confidence. We're very like minded so when something's not right, generally we're on the same page with it. We recognize and ID things from the same vantage point. We're pretty like-minded and it's been good that way. I certainly trust him and he trusts me. He is the leader and we go the way he goes, I believe. We couldn't have worked through the adversity we did - that starts at the top and that's kind of how we've built this program and one of the reasons why I love working with him. We're going to approach things the right way with these kids with the game, our preparation, our off season, and I believe in how we do things and I think we both stick to that when tough times happen.
Franklin said one of the things he likes about you is that you're very
demanding but in a very positive way. What are the sources of that in your
history and how important has that been since you've been working through the
Pry: I do think there is a way and if you know my background, my father has been a coach for 40-some years. When you grow up around it, you see what guys respond to. What they respond to in a positive way and in a negative way. Your comments, when you're the leader, really have a lot of influence on these young men and I think you have to be careful how you present things and you have to be careful how you approach it.
I think that's the key to this. We're trying to teach young guys to kind of ultimately be their best, to reach their potential, whether its playing in that individual game or over the course of their career here. I think there's constructive criticism, there is a way for them to understand that this isn't going to get it done or this isn't how we want to do it.
You teach them through it, you coach them through it and you make sure they see the positives on the other end of things and on the other side of it. Then most importantly, it goes back to our program philosophy. You can't coach guys hard and you can't work through those situations if you don't have a lot of trust and respect, if there's not a mutual relationship that has a lot of trust, care and concern. I think these players, they know that about me, and they know that about our staff. We're not in this just to win football games, we're in this to help them achieve and reach their ultimate goals as a student and as a player.
I think when you go through these things it's just the bigger picture and you stay grounded to that and grounded to what's right and we have that. That's the foundation of our program. We went through tough times at Vanderbilt and could prosper through and I think we have a good plan for those kinds of things. I think years of watching my father do things and learning his mistakes and his accomplishments and talking with him. I have two brothers who played ball and you're just around it all the time and you see what's effective and what's not. Ultimately, when you care about somebody you want to be careful because you don't want to hurt them. You want them to hear your criticism in a way that they're going to want to take it and want to do something good with it.
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