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Marcus Allen | Safety | Sr./Sr.
Q. What is the setup with the family? How many people are coming to the game, beyond the game?
MA: I actually, like, have 10 people that I have off the top of my head that's coming to the game. As the week has gone, like, multiple people have been hitting me up trying to get tickets, though. There's a lot of people.
Q. What are your impressions of Lamont Wade from what you've seen of him since he arrived?
MA: I've seen that he's grown into a mature football player. As time has gone, he's been asking more questions, just growing into the position that he's playing.
He's just steady growing and maturing as the season has been going. I think he'll be one of the leaders on our team in the future.
Q. What is it like for guys from that area who play for Penn State to go back and play in the Maryland area? What sort of crowd are you expecting with so many Penn State fans down there?
MA: I expect it to be a big one. Just for me to play my last game in the regular season, in my hometown, that's pretty awesome. That's fun. It's going to be, like a backyard football game, as far as me knowing a lot of guys that's on the team. We talk back and forth, talking our little stuff.
Playing against Maryland, guys that I know, is always fun. So, I'm pretty sure the stadium's going to be riled up. There's a lot of family members, friends that are going to be coming and supporting me and Penn State.
Q. What are some of the things you say back and forth that you can share with us?
MA: I mean, they going to win, we going to win. But we just talk a lot of stuff. It's just, like, I know Lo' Harrison personally, our family and his family hang together. Me, Mark [Allen], all talk stuff, especially Mark's family. They talk their stuff about Maryland, they talk their stuff about Penn State. It's funny, especially after the game, too.
Q. Jonathan Sutherland, somebody said this morning he reminds you a little bit -- he reminds them of you. What has impressed you about him?
MA: Every time is a scrimmage, I always just get him hyped. I'll be, like, “Here come the choo-choo train, choo-choo.” He hit like a train. He's really physical. That's what I love about him. He's very just consistent in tackling. He makes plays in the passing game. That's what impresses me the most. He's very mature for his age, as well. I'm pretty sure you're going to hear his name next year. I'm just excited for you guys to see him, see what he can do, because I already know, I already seen it.
Q. I've heard younger players talk about you as an ambassador in the Penn State locker room from the Maryland area. Being part of the lifeblood for this roster, how do you think that region has been vital?
MA: It feels cool, I guess. I'll just say being that ambassador, you say, it's a great feeling to have. A lot of people from that area, there's a lot of great talent in that area. You want to keep the tradition going as far as having that talent come to Penn State.
Q. You're a guy who started as a true freshman, got early playing time. What is it like on the other side of the ball like Tommy [Stevens]? What have you seen from him in the past few months that has impressed you?
MA: Tommy [Stevens] is a team player. Just to see Tommy be patient, always interacting with guys, trying to help the team in any way possible, I commend him for that. I'm really thankful to have him as a teammate.
He is very intelligent. He knows the game in and out. Just to see him be patient, it makes me feel good. It just makes me just really look up to him in those lights.
Q. When you look at Maryland, all their issues at quarterback, what do you have to do to shut off their run game with all the quarterbacks?
MA: I'll say first we just got to start off with keeping watching more film of them, get a great idea of what they're going to have coming, have rolling for us. I would say just keep watching film. Then when we got practice today, just have the scout team try to implement how they're going to run against us, how they're going to pass against us.
I would just say all we got to do is play smash-mouth football, play our physical [defense]. That will take care of itself. But as far as everything else, it's just going to happen as far as us playing our standard football on the defensive side.
Q. What is the challenge on Saturday of starting the game not having Troy [Apke]for the first half?
MA: Man, that's a big one. That hurt me a little bit, just to see Troy [Apke] not be able to play the first half of next game because he's a senior. He'd love to play the full game for his last game. That's just going to make me go even harder for my boy. That's my roll dog right there. I'm going to play my heart out for him. That's all I can do.
Q. Explain the relationship between you and Troy.
MA: Our relationship, me and Troy [Apke], it's really cool, man. We have two different backgrounds: where we grew up from, how we were raised. Just our personality as far as being us, it's kind of similar, but you don't see his. Man, Troy is a goofy guy. Troy cracks jokes. He gets loose, too. He's a loose guy.
I get to see that side of Troy. We bond really close. Me just being around him for all these years, we grew our relationship as far as us being really close as brothers.
Q. Your class, great opportunity to get on the field early. These freshmen now, they're going to require more patience. How have you seen them handle that? Has there been frustration?
MA: I would say I really don't see that much of a difference, to be honest. Some freshmen do play, like Tariq [Castro-Fields], Lamont Wade, Yetur [Gross-Matos]. Those guys play. As far as like my class, I know me, Jason [Cabinda], Grant [Haley], Chris [Campbell] on the defensive side, it's kind of like similar in my eyes a little bit. Then the guys that don't play, I'm pretty sure they feel like how Torrence [Brown] felt. Torrence didn't get to play his freshman year. He redshirted.
You'd have to ask those guys as far as that. I don't know how they will feel, but I'm pretty sure the same way as Torrence felt. You going to hit your wall your freshman year. You're going to feel like, Man, I got to wait another year. Every freshman hits that wall. I'm pretty sure they hit it faster than the guys that are playing. I don't know.
Q. What has Torrence [Brown] meant to you guys?
MA: Me and Torrence [Brown], our relationship, man, it started before we even stepped on campus. Me and Torrence and Chris [Campbell], like, we used to hit each other up in group messages before we stepped on campus. Me and Chris are were going to be roommates. We will go to Torrence and Johnny's [Thomas] room in the dorms. Our relationship is like this, we really, really tight. Ever since then, me, Torrence, Chris, Johnny, that's our group. We used to always hang together. We were roommates as far as when we moved in the apartments and everything.
My relationship with Torrence, that's really my brother. I would really consider him as my brother. Although we don't have the same mother or father, it doesn’t make a difference, that's my brother. We been through a lot. We got a lot of memories, lot of fun memories. We have so much conversations, so many conversations we had together when times were rough. Like when my grandmother died, I was right in his room. He saw when I broke down. When his grandmother passed, I was right there. It was so crazy, like a coincidence. It's just like we have a bond as far as we can relate to each other. That group right there, those are my brothers, man.
Q. Sometime that you're proudest of.
MA: I would say just -- do it have to be during football? I would just say signing to Penn State, coming here to Penn State, living this dream of playing big-time football here at Penn State. You don't get no experience like this everywhere. The fans, the fans are crazy. You don't get this type of environment at another school.
Having a White Out, having [107,000] plus people there supporting you, being there every step of the way, that's big. Then you got a great education here. You're going to get a degree that is going to last a lifetime. That's big to me. I don't think you could get that anywhere else.
Trace McSorley | Quarterback | Sr./Jr.
Q. What impression do you have of Miles Sanders on the field or in practice?
TM: Miles [Sanders] is a tremendously hard worker. Every time Saquon [Barkley] is in there, whether it's in practice or games, he's kind of always watching what he's doing, trying to learn from him, always asking questions about what did you see, whether it be pass protection, a cutback, something like that.
Kind of the physical aspect, Miles is extremely explosive. When he gets out into open field, exploding, running down the sidelines, he has blazing speed. He kind of complements that really well with being able to be extremely agile, cut back. Just make a move and go, be very decisive when he's running the ball. That's something we're looking forward to Miles being a really good player for us in the future.
Q. For guys who are from Virginia, Maryland, D.C., what is it like to go to a place like this to play? How many people will you have there? It's different than Iowa or Michigan State.
TM: Going back, being able to play back at home, for lack of a better term. Maryland Stadium is 45 minutes from my house, so it's right there. I've been to games there as a recruit, kind of as a young kid.
It's awesome kind of being able to go back and play in that venue that I'm kind of familiar with, playing in my neck of the woods. For a lot of guys, Marcus [Allen], same sort of feeling. I don't know exactly how many people I'll have there from my family, but it's right there, a good amount. I need to figure out with my mom how many tickets I need to find out about getting.
I'm sure as far as Penn State fans showing up, they travel really well. Even at places like Ohio State and Iowa, there was still a solid Penn State contingent amongst all the fans from the opposing school. Excited to see the fans that travel with us this week, with it being not too far away, not too bad of a drive. Our fans travel really well, they support us everywhere we go. We're expecting them to show out as hard as they do every game.
Q. Take us back to the first time Nick Bowers returned from his recovery, what you saw from him, and since then?
TM: [Nick] Bowers, it's been a long road I think for him. Got to the point where when he first came back, know how much he went through, kind of that comfortability playing again. Once you were able to see him get back, take a couple hits, bounce back, have that kind of personality that we all knew him to have, Bowers is a big, goofy guy, have that personality that he's got.
But, I mean, to be able to see him make a touchdown in the game, we see him all the time, he goes up, at his size, athletic ability, to be able to run like he does, jump up, attack a ball in the air, come down with it, utilizing his size, 260, whatever, it's really impressive to see what he can do at his size. To see him get a touchdown this week, how excited he was when he got back sue the sideline, jumping around, big smile on his face, it was awesome.
Q. What is it like seeing Tommy here behind you? How has his attitude been?
TM: Tommy [Stevens] is a tremendous player. Athletically everyone sees what he can do with the ball in his hands, running ability, throwing ability of the he throws an extremely good ball. Strong arm. We'll be doing bucket throws, he'll launch it 50, 60 yards just because he feels like it, wants to see how far he can throw it. He's a tremendous player.
He's really done a great job in learning, kind of the mental aspect of being a quarterback. That's where he wanted to improve the most. He understands reads, defenses. When we're in practice during the week, really understanding the game plan, who we're going against. He's done a great job coming in, having that mentality that he's going to work hard, he's not going to let circumstances dictate his attitude or how hard he works. He's going to come in, have a positive attitude, work hard every week.
Q. How do you learn to lead on a team of 120 guys?
TM: I think you don't necessarily know them in that aspect, you haven't gone to dinner with those guys, you don't necessarily know their parents, their stories. You know them as players and teammates. I think that makes it easier to be a leader, be a guy that they feel like they can follow you because you know them as a player, you know them as one of your teammates.
That's kind of the best way I think you can lead guys, whether it's the quarterback or being an older guy on the team, kind of having that family mentality Coach [James] Franklin always talks about, making sure when those guys get here, guys can come up and ask you a question, they can ask you anything, come to you about anything they need. I think that kind of mentality, you show that, plus your work ethic, how you carry yourself. Makes it easier for guys you might not know that well or for that long to be able to follow you.
Q. Is there an adjustment period for that? Does it take time to learn how to do that?
TM: Not really. I mean, even though you might not be in class with these guys all the time, you're only in class for half the day, the other half of the day you're at the building, so you spend time with them all the time.
Q. With your official visit, I don't think you came to a game at Beaver Stadium. Coach Franklin talked about how he can be a lot more involved when it's not during game days. How involved was Coach Franklin when you were on campus with your family?
TM: I mean, when I was here, my unofficial visit was really just me, him, my family, then Coach [Ricky] Rahne. We had Coach [Terry] Smith, Grant [Haley], his mom. It was a small group. He was traveling with us, rode over with us going to the stadium, checked out the academic buildings. He was learning about the school at the same time we were. It was kind of that cool experience for us to be able to go through that together.
When it got to the official, same kind of thing. He was just always leading the group we were always with. He was with us constantly talking to families, players, girlfriends, whoever else was on the trip. That was kind of the thing you were able to see, back to that family atmosphere he always wants to create here. Walking with him, talking with him 24/7 basically on that trip.
Q. You had an opportunity here as a member of this team to see this program change. Going towards next year, what do you think the new group will encounter differently to what you encountered in 2014?
TM: I think when I came in here, we were building towards something. We kind of had been through a tough period. When I got here, we were on the bowl sanctions, scholarship sanctions. My freshman year is when they got lifted.
I think everyone in the locker room now, we're going to come in, work hard, we're going to compete. We were just going to be building kind of a process. Where we're at now, it's not building that process, it's carrying on what's been built over the last couple years. Assuming that role of making sure this program stays where it needs to be.
Q. This is the first year with the early signing period. Do you think had they had it when you were a recruit you would have been in favor? You would have been in a different situation had you been able to sign in December given the coaching changes?
TM: Had I been able to sign in December, I probably would have. I would have felt confident I would have ended up with Coach [James] Franklin. I would have been stuck. I don't really know much about the recruiting process now. That's kind of something that's a little bit out of my realm. If a kid feels comfortable with it, if it's the school he's always wanted to be in, wants to do the early signing, great for them. It is a weight lifted off your shoulders, name on that paper.
Q. Who has impressed you on the other side of the ball, the scout team?
TM: You look at some guys, Daniel Joseph has been an older guy playing on the scout team, kind of came in with that mentality of getting guys better every single week. Done a really good job up front.
Jonathan Sutherland, another guy on the back end, does a really good job, takes ownership in the look he's giving, really tries to make it as exact as it possibly can be. Off the top of my head, those two guys have been impressive as far as their demeanor, how they've approached being on the scout team.
Q. Marcus [Allen] was saying he does this sort of choo-choo thing when Jonathan is in the younger guys' scrimmages. Have you heard doing that? What do you think if you hear it?
TM: I hear Marcus [Allen] saying all kinds of things during that scrimmage. You always hear him making noise. I have learned to kind of tune him out when he's doing that, because it's constant, especially during those scrimmages.
[Jonathan] Sutherland, he's definitely a hard-hitting safety. He comes down and hits. Actually, it’s been fun to see him and Journey [Brown] square up in the hole a couple times. Sometimes John will get him another couple times. That's been kind of a cool battle to watch kind of happen over this year in those scrimmages.
Marcus is always chirping on the sideline. I've kind of learned to tune him out when he starts chirping.