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Feb. 1, 2012
Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers Coach
Q: How involved has the coaching staff, especially Coach O'Brien, been just trying to keep things going?
A: He's been really involved. Each and every night as a staff we have our conference calls and also along the way emails and texts from him on certain players throughout our recruiting areas. So he's been really involved, as much as he can with the Super Bowl going on. Obviously the Super Bowl is daily and sometimes hourly and when he's free, we're free. We also have a guy there in New England that we can call and get a hold of if Coach O'Brien is busy.
Q: What was the perception like at Penn State from the people you've talked to and recruited?
A: The perception has really been good. Penn State is Penn State and the school will speak for itself. The winning tradition over the years and the job Coach Paterno did and obviously the players we've signed are the guys that want to be here and that want to continue the winning tradition here at Penn State.
Q: On Coach Vanderlinden and Coach Johnson.
A: They've been an outstanding help. I thought Larry did an excellent job handling the recruiting and keeping it going, both him and Ron. It's been a Godsend. I'm glad Coach O'Brien kept those two coaches, the other ones I really didn't know, but I thought he did a good job keeping those two.
Q: With several guys on the staff having NFL experience or an NFL background, how are you able to use that as a benefit as far as recruiting is concerned?
A: With my situation of being in the NFL for the last eight years, a lot of these players have aspirations, but we also want to make sure that we're here to get an education. We can give them the highs and lows about the NFL, but it's really about education. I think it helps that we've been there and know what it takes and we can have a player we're looking for at that level. If they're good enough, the NFL will find you.
Q: What are your thoughts on the current wide receivers group? Is this a good group?
A: I think so. In the past it has not been a big passing team, I think Coach O'Brien and the offense we're bring in will probably throw a little more, but at the same time we're going to run it too. He referred to it as a game plan offense, so whatever the game plan says that we should do that's what we're going to do.
Q: What did you have to learn about Penn State before you could sell it to these guys?
A: I didn't have to learn that much. Once I got here, on the inside it was a lot more detailed that I was thought to believe. It was bigger than when I was recruiting against Penn State all my years when I was in college. Obviously Coach Paterno was a key figure there. The program sells itself: the graduation rate, the winning traditions, doing it the right way with integrity, character and honor. It's a bigger emphasis on those types of things, where as when I was at another school... that really wasn't the case.
Q: What are some of the traits of the guys your bringing in?
A: We've got some speed at receiver. The one running back we signed is pretty good. He's a good skill player there. The quarterback we got out of Georgia is a good athlete that can run and throw. He went to a new school his senior year to get a chance to throw the ball, but also he can run it in.
Q: Can you tell us a little about Eugene Lewis?
A: Eugene Lewis is a great, great athlete. I went to see him play basketball last week and a couple times before. He's 6'2 already, probably in the 200s. I think that he has the body size right now and the quickness and athletic ability. You can really see it on the basketball court how it transfers to the football field and I think he has a chance to help us out. Sometimes you'll have a freshman come in who's skinny and needs the weight room and that type of thing, but his body and his athletic ability- he's ready to go right now.
Q: What did you see in Curt Warner's son?
A: What I saw is that he's an athlete and a player that has good size on him. He has pretty good speed. I wouldn't say he is a burner, but he has good speed, carries himself really well and he makes plays. He came here on his own merit, not just because his father. Obviously people on that side of the country knew about him, but on this side of the country they might not know much about him. Normally you wouldn't recruit a guy from Washington in Pennsylvania but there's a history, a family background and a tie there that makes you want to check in to it. You check into it... you see what you like... you go for it. You check in to it... you don't like it... you keep going.