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Oct. 17, 2012
No. 87 - Kyle Carter, Redshirt Freshman, Tight End
Q: When you watch the Patriots on TV, do you watch them differently than you did last year?
A: Yeah, I watch them a lot differently. Every time Tom Brady does a call or runs a no-huddle, I understand what's about to happen or know what's going on. It's a lot more in-depth this year. Of course, I watch (Rob) Gronkowski and (Aaron) Hernandez, just because they're doing a lot of what we're doing here.
Q: Does Bill (O'Brien) talk a lot about his days with the Patriots?
A: He recalls some things, but nothing really major.
Q: Last year when you were redshirting, was there any tight end that you looked to for guidance or learned from the most?
A: For sure. Andrew Szczerba, he went to high school in Delaware, too. He was my roommate in training camp and at Toftrees (night before home games). Me and Szczerba knew each other from high school. It was good to know someone who lived near my hometown and could help me out. All summer, he would help me with the route tree and everything. Szczerba was definitely who I looked up to.
Q: You and Allen (Robinson) have been the top two receivers on this team. Do you feel that he takes some extra defenders with him and helps you and vice versa?
A: We work hard to help get each other open. He had a great start to the season, so other teams might start doubling him. For him to get his numbers up, I have to be able to do something and the other receivers have to do something, so that he can get less doubles. We work together on that.
Q: Talk about how much you enjoy the emphasis on the tight end with this coaching staff.
A: Ever since Coach O'Brien was named head coach, I knew the tight end position was going to be an integral part of this offense. He puts us in the situations that we need to be in and it's all about making the plays in those situations. It's great to be in this offense, but you still have to be able to make the plays.
Q: You were recently named to the Mackey Award Watch List. Before the season, did something like that even cross your mind? How nice is it to get some recognition like that?
A: I definitely had some big goals for this year. That wasn't particularly one of my goals, but I still wanted to have a great year. It's nice to get some recognition, but right now it's all about beating Iowa.
Q: What's your relationship between you and Coach O'Brien and John Strollo? How much does Strollo work with you vs. O'Brien?
A: Strollo, mostly. Maybe two or three times a week, all of the skill position players meet with Coach O'Brien. We go over different third down plays, red zone plays, and the game plan. He's definitely there because he knows the offense a lot better than Strollo would. It's more (meeting) time with Strollo, of course.
Q: How important is the tempo against Iowa this week? Iowa likes to slow it down. Will you guys look to push the pace a little?
A: We're definitely going to push the pace. We're going to be aggressive in this game. We just have to keep on our toes all game.
Q: It's going to be your first career night game in college. Is that something you were looking forward to since the start of the season?
A: It's definitely exciting. I can't wait, I know night games have a different feel to them. We're going to be playing under the lights and that's when the stars come out.
No. 27 - Jacob Fagnano, Senior, Safety
Q: What is the feeling in the locker room with you guys winning four straight? Is there a calmness now and just the "let's play football" mentality?
A. That's a good way to put it. There has not been a lot going on besides football and that's been a key part to our success. Having a couple of weeks now to be with the coaches and the new system it is all starting to come together. Guys like myself being around for four years switching to a completely new defense but it's really just a thing of time getting used to the defense and offense and once we started clicking we started rolling.
Q: You have been around this Penn State Iowa series a while now. Does it have a feeling of a rivalry to you?
A. Yes, within my five years here, we have been in some really close ball games with Iowa. Last year it went our way...So yeah, I'd say that there is a rivalry and we're really excited to play them.
A: No, I don't think any of us see it that way. It has been mentioned between me and the guys but I really don't think it'd be a game we'd overlook by any means. Like you said it's considered a big rivalry. We're going into a hostile environment, so we're excited to play this game before we work on anything else.
Q: What do you remember about playing at Kinnick Stadium? What is the atmosphere there like? Is it a tough place to play from what you can remember from your experience there?
A: As far as road games go, that's one of the ones I remember the most (2010). It's really hostile and the fans there are pretty crazy. It's just an exciting place to play football. It's been one of my favorite places to travel to. So we know what it's going to be like there and we get excited for it and we're looking forward to a place like that.
Q: What's so crazy about Iowa. Is there anything that sticks out?
A: They did a pretty cool black and yellow out last time; their stadium was packed and it was loud. The fans are right on your back because your bench is five feet away from them so at a night game they're going to be pretty crazy and riled up. You're going to be able to hear everything they have to say so you just have to stay focused.
Q: What do you see in James Vandenberg, and how does he compare to other quarterbacks you've faced?
A: From what we've seen on film, we can tell he's a game manager. Their whole offense is smart and they're a tough team. Their offense wants to grind and beat you up and wear you down the field. Comparing him is kind of tough because every quarterback has their own style, different route combinations, different ways they like to check depending on what we're doing. But we're just going to hit them like anyone else, play our solid defense, and let the tougher team win.
Q: How relaxed has everything been around here? Has it been the most relaxed it's been ever since you've been at Penn State?
A: Yeah, it's very relaxing to come off our bye week we all got to get off our feet for the weekend. We had a great day at practice yesterday, we're all really comfortable and we all feel good. The team feels pretty good around each other.
Q: How does practicing with Zach Zwinak, prepare yourself for Mark Weisman?
A: Yeah there are definitely similarities. They're both big, strong runners and they're going to push the pile and hit you. So having a guy like that on our team is definitely helpful. We've gone against him all through camp, guys like him, Curtis Dukes is another one. We know what we're up against; it's just a matter of executing now.
Q: Do you feel like you've adjusted from Week 1 and has it gotten easier every week after?
A: A lot of it has to do with learning the defense and becoming comfortable realizing what kind of routes and combinations other teams are going to try and play against us because we like to run. Every week has been noticeably more comfortable for us; the rotation and just understanding where everyone is and what we're all playing. As far as being thin, we are down in numbers but everyone has the ability to play several different positions so that allows us a lot space to do a lot with.