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Sept. 23, 2008
Q: What kind of challenges does a quarterback like Juice Williams present with the ability to both pass and run?
It's going to be a big challenge because he's a dual threat and I think over the past year he's really worked on his passing game and he's pretty much perfected both passing and running, so it's going to be a big challenge.
Q: You guys gave up a couple long kickoff returns last week. What do you think went wrong there and what is the challenge with facing a guy like Arrellious Benn?
Well they had a pretty good returner, Temple did. They had some great blocks out there and you know you're not going to recover every kickoff and we've had a lot kickoffs since the beginning of season since the offense has been scoring a lot of touchdowns. So they had a lot of time to game plan against us and everything. We'll bounce back.
Q: Is kickoff coverage more of when you go down the field to make the tackle or is there a scheme or something you can do differently?
It's a little bit of both. You have to want to make the tackle and you have to follow the scheme as well, because you know you have to play together out there. One person can't just run out there after the returner.
Q: Arrellous Benn is one of the best receivers in the conference. What can you do to try to stop him?
We are just going to keep with our same game plan. He is a great receiver and we are just going to keep it all the same and do what we have to do.
Q: You and Lydell (Sargeant) I guess, what would you guys call in the huddle to try to adjust coverage on a guy like Arrellous Benn or anybody else you guys might have trouble with?
Well, we don't really ever double team anyone, but we always talk after every other play and we let each other know what he's seeing and I let him know what I'm seeing on each side of the field.
Q: Do you have any concerns with the kickoff coverage problems you had a year ago
It's not really a big concern for me, because as I just said, our offense has been scoring a lot of points and it's a lot of kickoffs and it's the same guys running down there each kickoff. You know, it just comes from wear and tear, but we'll bounce back.
Q: You guys go up against Darryl (Clark) in practice everyday. He's a similar type of quarterback as (Juice) Williams. Does that help or does that give you much to scout for a quarterback like Juice?
Oh yeah, definitely. Darryll Clark (and Williams), they are almost one in the same, but I think Darryl might be a little bit bigger than Juice. He's a runner and a passer so it gives us a great comparison.
Q: How much do you think you guys will practice this week against the option, specifically you corners being able to turn the quarterback inside?
Well, we will practice a great amount on it, a little more than we usually do.
Q: What quarterback on the scout team will help you prepare for the option?
I think they are still going over that right now. They have a couple of guys in line and are just trying to figure it out.
Q: Being a senior, is there a tangible difference between this team as opposed to the last two?
Well, I think we have really come together now. We've been around each other a long time now, four or five years all with the same group and there's a lot of gelling we've got together.
Q: As far as the adversity (the team has faced), did it make you guys tighter?
Yes, much better.
Q: A lot of people are wondering is Penn State the real deal, especially after the non-conference schedule. Do you guys view it the same way, this upcoming game?
Well, you know we keep every game the same, one game at a time. Any team can beat any team on any given day.
Q: Just talk about the atmosphere with the White Out and everything. What is that like for you?
Oh, it's exciting just to have the fans out there and it's night game and the White Out and everything. It's a big atmosphere and it's just great.
Stefen Wisniewski, Soph., Guard
Q: Coach Paterno just said that you're basically the backup center. What do you have to do to get ready in case something happens to A.Q. (Shipley)?
They've been giving me a good number of reps at center during practice. They'll rotate us and I know scheme-wise what to do. I know who I'm blocking. To be ready at center, it's just a matter of trying to get the footwork right and getting good reps in practice, last week and even before that. This week I'll be putting a little more emphasis on it; getting the footwork down and make sure I'm comfortable there at center.
Q: Concerning Paternoville, what do you guys think about that as a team? Do players walk by and say hi to the kids at all?
Yeah, we'll definitely stop over there once or twice during the week. We think that's awesome that kids are willing to sleep out there for a week to get the best seats. That really speaks as to how dedicated our students are and we love that, we love seeing that. We will go over there and support them and thank them for being such a great student section.
Q: Stefen, have you ever been part of a line like this that's putting up 250 yards rushing a game? What is it that makes you blend so well?
Well, I think just knowing what to do. Since we've been playing with each other for a while now, we all know that we've been working in combination for a while and with offensive lineman that's huge, because you get so many blitzes, so many schemes. To know that if I do this when the defense goes here this guy is going to pick him up and we can go on, it's huge. I think that continuity is really what does it and being able to trust the guy next to you.
To be honest, when I'm blocking I don't really pay attention to who's at tight end. Quarless, is definitely, I would think, would be a little bit more of a deep threat because he's so athletic, but both are pretty solid blockers in there.
Q: It's still early in the week, but what do you think of the Illinois defense?
I've gotten to watch a little bit of tape. They definitely have some good players and they'll be the best defense we've seen so far, so we're excited for the challenge of playing them and opening Big Ten play here. They're solid but I think we should definitely be able to put up some points on them.
Q: What are the big differences between playing guard and center? Is there that big of a difference?
Yeah, center is a little bit tougher. I mean, when you're center the nose guard is right there in your face. When you're a guard, you're off the ball a little bit and you get a little bit more separation. Just the fact that the lineman is going to be on you that much quicker, makes center a little bit tougher and the fact that you have to snap it and move. It's a little challenging but once you get enough reps out of it, it gets to become natural.
Q: A.Q. makes the line calls. When you play center, are you the one making the calls?
Yeah, whomever is the center is making the calls and both guards know the calls anyway, so moving to center isn't too big of a change.
Q: You talked about Paternoville. Do you wonder what it's going to be like with the game being in prime time, a white out and all of those things?
Oh, I can't wait. It's going to be awesome. I remember Notre Dame last year, the night game white out. It was just unbelievable and I'm really looking forward to it. The crowd intensity for night games up here is pretty awesome and you're on national TV, being the Big Ten opener, playing against a solid football team. It should be a really special night.
Q: Are you being groomed to be the center of the future or is this just something you do in case there's an emergency?
The coaches haven't said anything to me as far as next year and who's going to be the center. I don't think they are thinking that far ahead. It's certainly a possibility and getting reps at center now is only going to help me in the future if I have to play that position. If I end up staying at guard, I'm comfortable there, but getting reps now will definitely be beneficial as far as getting ready in case that's the route the coaches choose to go next year.
Q: You're kind of the new kid on the block. How have the upperclassmen helped you in the maturation process?
They've helped a ton, technique-wise especially, talking about, "how do I do this block?" A.Q. (Shipley) and Rich (Ohrnberger) have really helped me a lot in the things they've done, things they've tried in games because they've been starting for so long now, they really have a lot experience. So, they help a ton there, especially since they're so confident and so comfortable in there it really helps me feel comfortable just playing with those guys who are so relaxed.
Q: I know every loss is difficult, but looking at last year's loss to Illinois. The way that game unfolded with all the turnovers, how much of a sting was that, looking at the game?
Yeah, that was a tough one. Especially since it made two in a row after Michigan, especially with losing right at the end comes with a big sting and we're hoping that's not going to happen again this year.