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Sept. 10, 2008
47 - Josh Gaines, Senior Defensive End
Q: It has been a rough week for the defensive line. What is the attitude you take to try and overcome that adversity as a line?
A: Just staying tight and close, as well as keeping everything together. We still have a lot of guys that can play. We started with 16 or 17 guys on the defensive line. A lot of guys can do different things and guys are going to step up and take on the challenge.
Q: Is there some anger amongst the guys on the defensive line?
A: No, not necessarily. We are just waiting to see what happens. We are still taking it one game and one practice at a time. The young guys are looking good right now in practice. We are going to take it and roll with it.
Q: The defensive line has had success in run defense. What would you attribute to that success?
A: We take a lot of pride in stopping the run. It has always been like that here at Penn State. You know us. We stop the run and then get after them on the pass. That is the Penn State defense. We teach the front seven to be very reliable because they play the run. Most teams know we play the run to stop it. We just keep doing what we are doing and keep working hard.
Q: Syracuse's offensive line struggled at the end of last year. Do you think this could be a good week to try different things on the defensive line?
A: Syracuse's offensive line actually has really good schemes. They have the same schemes as Minnesota. I think they have the same offensive coordinator (from Minnesota). Minnesota has been successful against us in the past when playing the run. Looking at their running back, the type of running back they have, we have to get ready to play. I do not think this is the time to try and run out and experiment with some things. If we are going to try something new, that is something we get done in practice.
Q: With a few guys out, who are the younger guys that you see that could step up?
A: Kevion Latham. He is looking good in practice. Jack Crawford is in and out. He provides some extra help. We have guys like ChimA Okoli who is stepping up and looking good right now. Across the board, we could even pull some guys off of the red shirt if we had to and it would happen.
Q: How do you keep Jerome Hayes' spirits up?
A: To tell you the truth, he is really positive right now. When it happened, he was down. As soon as it happened, he knew he tore his ACL right away. He has been really positive and he is going to work hard and get ready for next season.
Q: Is an ACL injury something that as a player you are always prepared to deal with?
A: I do not really like to think about injuries. I have been pretty successful here not getting hurt. If you think about it, it will most likely happen. I just go out and try and have fun and play the game.
Q: Can you talk about the play of Josh Hull?
A: He has stepped up a lot. He looks good right now. He is coming alive and he is more respected. We still have to get on him about his play calling a little bit (laughs), but he is playing well and I feel comfortable with him back there.
73 - Dennis Landolt, Junior Tackle
Q: Tell us about the experience and success of the offensive line.
A: I think having as much experience as we have now as a group is important because we know the basic layout of all the defenses we are going to see. So we can sort of know the blitzes they give us. I think that makes it easier for the coaches to call different plays that we use.
Q: You (O-Line) have not given up a sack yet and you're averaging 300 yards rushing a game. What do those statistics mean to you?
A: I think the no sacks is important to us because you never want to have any of those. It always feels good if you are able to run the ball. I think we owe a lot of that to the running backs because they have been great so far. Even when we are not perfect blocking-wise, they always find a way to get some yards. We owe a lot to them. Q: After two big wins where things seemingly came easy, how do Joe Paterno and the other coaches keep you level-headed?
A: I think just by approaching everything the same way. You have to take care of everything, make sure you are ready, anticipate everything, and approach everything the same way. You can't take anything lightly or worry too much about everything.
Q: This is your first road game. What are the main differences and what do you tell the younger guys about playing on the road?
A: Obviously, the crowd is a little bit of a factor. We practice with noise in practice and everything so we do not have to worry about that. There really is not too much different other than you just have to focus a little bit more because it is going to be noisy and you cannot simulate that perfectly in practice. You just have to concentrate and not make any mistakes. Those are the biggest things.
Q: What does it mean to be playing Syracuse from your perspective?
A: I know from being up there in Syracuse as a kid that it is a pretty intense environment there. The fans really get into it and the dome is one of the loudest places in the country. We know that it is going to be challenge to play in that place with that kind of environment.
Q: Is it any different from playing Michigan or Ohio State?
A: As a team, since we have not played them in so many years and we do not have a history with them, it is a little different approach because it is a team we have not seen before. I guess that is how it is different from the other Big Ten teams.
Q: Do you have a feel for what Syracuse can do defensively?
A: We have looked at them. They run a few things, but not too much that we have not seen yet. I have not seen too much film on them yet, but I am starting to get a feel. They run a lot of the basic stuff, but they also run some different stuff. They run kind of what our penny and nickel looks like.
Q: Does it matter to the players that you have a traditional rival?
A: I guess it could make a little bit of a difference but, I do not think it is that important. Every game you try to win because every game is important in college football since there are no playoffs or anything. I do not think it makes that much of a difference to not have a rival.