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Men's Golf Spring Sports Media Day

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Senior Jay Woodward

Feb. 13, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Greg Nye and seniors Jay Woodward (Bridgeport, W.Va.) and Anthony DeGol (Hollidaysburg, Pa.) met with the media on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Spring Sports Media Day.

Head Coach Greg Nye (21st season)

Q: After coaching for 21 seasons, what keeps you here at Penn State?
A: It's been a great opportunity to be at Penn State because it's a part of my background, and the belief in participation across the board that you see here from intramural all the way through the varsity sports here at Penn State. How we take care of student-athletes here at Penn State. The culture before I took the job is consistent with what I believe it is today. I look forward to being in an environment where we put the student-athletes first, and it's supportive to the extent that we have the opportunity to put a competitive program out there. I think that the values of the program are extremely strong in the department, and I think we have a fantastic culture. That's why I came here and that's why I'm still here.

Q: What have you learned about your team so far?
A: We played a tournament after one day outside playing golf, and it's about what you might expect from going inside to outside. We had a couple guys play a little bumped up, and they haven't had a full opportunity to get back in the flow of their injuries. I learned that it's going to take a little time to get comfortable back out on the golf course. I think over the course of the entire year. We've got three more full field events before conference championships in late April. It's been a learning experience for me watching this team from the very first tournament through today. The main thing that I think that I've learned about this group is that it has got a pretty strong work ethic, and it didn't just start this last fall. It's a group of young people that are passionate about the game that they play, and for them to be committed is fairly easy. They love the game, and therefore, the amount of time that they spend thinking about it, working hard in practice, and off the side working and training. They're all about the game. I've learned that. We're beginning to see the squad become more cohesive. We've got a group of younger guys that are working and meshing with the older guys. I think the escalation of some team spirit as we go through the back half of the season is going to work to our benefit. Those are the things that I've learned.



Q: What's the most challenging thing going from inside to outside?
A: I think the guys are used to playing golf, but it's pretty easy inside on a level lye hitting 100 plus yards down through the two football fields. It's pretty easy to feel confident. When you get outside the first 20 mph breeze hitting you from left to right with the lake to the right, psychologically is something later in the season that you learn how to handle, and it seems that you forget that a little bit over the winter and you're not quite up to that task every time or most of the time. It flows back in as we get up to speed. You get through that psychological piece to be able to strike the ball and hit the shot that you need to hit. That's the frustrating part of it, and that's certainly a big challenge. Sometimes the putting is another thing that is difficult. It's pretty hard to simulate a real green inside, so that takes a little bit of time. Particularly the longer putts. The short putts the guys did a good job with, so you can see that they're pretty much up to the task there. It's really going from kind of a training thing with your swing and your techniques, to actually a playing circumstance. That's a real chore to get over. That's a big hump to get over.

Q: What do you see Chris Houston's role on the team being, and how do you see him making an impact?
A: He played great the last tournament of the fall. He played a real tough match against Michigan State against a young man that's a great competitor, and plays a similar game to Chris. They were kind of like bookends, and Chris came out on top in the second match, which he won decisively. I think he played pretty well, and I think his opponent had a rough day. He was playing against a four man. These two guys (Jay Woodward and Anthony DeGol) were playing against the twos, and the threes, and the ones, so it's a little bit different opponent. Who you're playing is a big factor in any sport. But Chris had worked on getting to be a little bit bigger of a guy. He's worked on his nutrition, and he's working on his strength. He's hitting the ball a little bit further, and is a little more stable through his shot. He's improving his short game. He's working hard, and that's good to see.

Q: On playing tough competition:
A: The first five events of the fall in scheduling, I have not backed away from anything. Everything we play, even up through this upcoming event, we've really played in outstanding fields. It's a strong learning curve when you're playing against outstanding opponents. That's what's driving us, and these two guys (Jay Woodward and Anthony DeGol) are up to the challenge. They wanted that type of schedule, and they're hungry for more. We're going to be in Georgia later on in March. We've got a couple of events in between that are not full field events. We're going to see Georgia Tech, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Alabama, and a bunch of other teams that are really tough. We're going to be playing against the best. Our first event of the year we were paired against the University of California who won every tournament they played in the fall. When you're stride for stride with those folks you learn a lot, and they're the number one ranked team in the country. Great event down there in Reynold's plantation, another strong field at Iowa, then we come home, and then we face the conference the following week. It's really been a year of growth for us. We really exposed ourselves to the top teams in the country, and it's a learning experience. If we see the results this year then great. I wouldn't bet against us not being competitive next year because we will know what the target is.

Q: How do you see the team among the rest of the Big 10 teams?
A: We're a best-kept secret, we think. And that's the way we want to keep it. We think we'll be pretty competitive this year. There could be some surprises.

Q: Talk about being a golfer in the North and having to travel South to play a lot. Talk about being a student-athlete and having to balance golf and life. These guys are really hard working athletes, they're great people, and they're great ambassadors for the university. I'm surrounded by two guys that achieved a 4.0 in the fall semester, and they're both in the Smeal College of Business. The team was elated to hear at the end of the semester what they had done. Most of these guys are in very challenging majors. The team itself achieved a 3.64 grade point average, and eight of the 11 guys were on the Dean's List. They're good people, great competitors and outstanding students, and going around this country meeting all kinds of people. We are a highly exposed team. We travel publicly, and we're right up close with people all the time. They do a bang up job really showing people what Penn State can be. They're outstanding ambassadors.

Anthony DeGol (Senior; Hollidaysburg, Pa.)

Q: Talk about being a golfer in the North and having to travel South to play a lot. Talk about being a student-athlete and having to balance golf and life.
It is a big challenge. It's something that kind of hits you at first and you have to manage it really well, especially if you have a heavy class load. It's especially tough in the third and fourth years of your major when you're in the intensive classes. It's a big thing to juggle and it took me a couple months to get used to it. Being in a snow school, we don't really have the opportunities that these southern schools have like playing all year round and having seven days a week worth of warmth. We have maybe two days a week that we can get out and practice. Overall, juggling school and golf was challenging at first, but it's something everyone adapts to.

Q: Talk about what it's like to play at home, like in your home tournament in the Spring?
It's nice because obviously the travel is a huge thing. It gives you a lot more time to get your week situated with your school work. You're also playing on a golf course that you've been playing on for the past few years, so you don't have to go out on a new golf course and track out every single challenge because you already know. So that's a big advantage. It's also nice to have your friends and family around, which I know a lot of our teammates do. It's also nice because our entire team plays, which is rare. Normally five or six guys go to a match out of the 10 or 11. It's good because it gets everyone a playing experience, and gets everyone in a competitive environment. If they're not starting at the time, it gives them something to strive for. Overall it is a change, but I think it's for the better. It's nice.

Q: How do you see the team among the rest of the Big 10 teams?
One thing that teams always want are freshmen and sophomores that perform. Normally when they come in they get the shell shock of college, and can't balance their lives. It's something everyone goes through. We have three freshmen that have all taken turns starting in the past fall and in the spring. We have the freshmen and sophomores that are delivering. As upperclassmen, we have experience. Even if we're not in our best shape, or playing the best, we have the experience out on the golf course so we can put up the numbers. We have a whole team, as opposed to maybe one or two guys that are stars. We have a whole team that can play solid on any given day. We're trying to make that all click. I think this is the semester where guys start really putting up solid scores.

Jay Woodward (Sr., Bridgeport, W. Va.)
Q: Talk about being a golfer in the north and having to travel south to play a lot. Talk about being a student-athlete and having to balance golf and life.
I think for me, and a lot of the guys would say the same thing, it's just being prepared to play the event that you're actually going to play. For instance, this last tournament we only had one day of outside work before we had to tee up for work the next day. I think a lot of us take pride in trying to get ready mentally, and what it's going to feel like on certain tees. For instance on first tee or last tee, and you're one down. You have to think good thoughts and get in the right frame of mind to compete at a high level because whenever you're here and inside you really can't feel that. You don't get any of those feelings and you can't really get ready. That's just something that we all pride ourselves on is getting ready mentally

Q: Talk about what it's like to play at home, like in your home tournament in the Spring?
Being at home is being a lot better than flying out of State College to Detroit to somewhere else, then getting home at 2 a.m. and having to go to class the next day. All of our friends and family get to come up, and it's basically one big get together and you get to see everyone that you're close with and perform in front of them. That's also what makes it a little tougher, too, because all of your friends and family are there and you want to perform well for them. You just have to keep in mind what your goal as a team is and just stay focused and do the best you can.


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