PSU Q&A: D-line coach Sean Spencer

Sean Spencer answered questions on a number of topics Thursday, including Altoona product Kevin Givens.

Q: What does Givens bring to the table?

A: ”(He) gives us a changeup guy where you can go, from having, nothing wrong with our ends at 255-260 (pounds), but you play at 285-pound end that’s strong and powerful and dynamic, I think you have a really good weapon there. At the same point, he can rush in four down and affect the pocket.

“I think what people don’t know about Kevin is that he’s so good in the run game because he plays with such great leverage and he’s so powerful. If you ever tap him on his back it’s like hitting a wall. You’re going to hurt your hand, I have to go see (trainer) Tim Bream every time I tap him on the back because I bruised up my knuckle.”

Q: What is your line rotation strategy?

A: “I think I develop tremendous confidence with any of my guys going into the game at any point in time. I get a feel for the game. Obviously as you guys know we chart the reps on the sidelines so it’s really strategic and calculated in how many reps I want a guy to take. We plan it out on Saturday morning.

“Myself and coach Franklin and coach Pry, we just talk about how much we want to see a guy this and that. If I could play more guys, honestly in games where we’re ahead and I can get guys valuable reps I’ll certainly play my younger guys because there’s nothing like game experience.”

Q: What problems do Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins present?

A: “When you continue to play teams, each week there is going to be a guy who presents problems. Clearly we have to be conscious of him with our preparation throughout the week but we have to prepare for them as a unit because they’re a great team. Not really singling out one person, but just focusing on gap control and doing those types of things and rush lanes so that we’re where we’re supposed to be when we need to be.”

Q: How do you feel about Shareef Miller’s development?

A: “I’m not just talking about his two sacks at Pitt, I think one of his best plays of the game in my opinion, was the safety at Iowa where he’s circling out, he’s bending down the line, he circled out and made a tackle, made an unbelievable tackle on an unbelievable back in the end zone which I thought was a huge play in the game.

“Those were the plays where we were wonder could he be like (Garrett) Sickels, (Evan) Schwan, (Carl) Nassib, (Anthony) Zettel, (Austin) Johnson, dating back to (Deion) Barnes, those guys who just made those plays, those game changing plays. Could he do that? And he has shown to this point that he can.”

Q: What are you thoughts on Saquon Barkley?

A: “It’s almost like a storybook of a person where you say, ‘I’m going to create the perfect guy to come in and play college football and the perfect guy to be a leader on your team,’ and that’s Saquon. I mean, he’s a tremendous character kid, and he’s always been that way. It’s just how humble he is. He was like, ‘I just got an offer from Penn State?’ We’re like, ‘Yeah man.’ He’s like, ‘That’s unbelievable. Oh my God I can’t believe it.’ We’re like, ‘You’re the real deal (laughs).

“We’re not just throwing an offer out there at you. We see something in you that we think you can be special.’ From that point on, myself and coach Huff’s relationship with him, it went — I think — beyond football. We were on him about his academics and making sure he was doing the right things and doing the right things moving forward. He’s just such a wonderful person.”

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