Penn State coaches clinic: Friday evening

Penn State coaches clinic: Friday evening

April 6, 2009

We ate dinner at Beaver Stadium and then headed back to Holuba Hall for the keynote address from Joe Paterno himself. Paterno is still full of fire. Earlier in the day, safety Nick Sukay was covering receiver Derek Moye and was beaten deep on one of Kevin Newsome’s few good throws. Paterno, who was standing in the defensive backfield despite being 83, gave Sukay an earful as he returned to his spot. He threw down his play sheet and screamed “Dammit!” and then proceeded to demonstrate – as well as an 83-year-old can – how to jam a receiver at the line. It was awesome.

Anyway, Paterno’s speech talked about how all coaches are trying to make young men into good men and that only coaches truly understand the importance and purpose of sports. At one point, he said, “Your principals don’t understand. Maybe you should buy them some flowers or a box of candy…if it’s a woman.” Then he paused a minute and said, “Well, nowadays, maybe if it’s a man, too.” The entire place exploded.

The other funny thing he talked about was recruiting:

You got guys out there like Dick Vitale going blahblahplublahgahbuppywuppy [sic]telling us who to recruit. I got coaches who have been coaching for 200 years.
We spend nine hours in the film room. We know who to recruit. But people still
try to tell us what to do.

After Paterno was done speaking, we broke off into question-and-answer sessions. I went to McQueary’s session, where he talked about different ways to beat Cover 0, Cover 1, Cover 2, and Cover 3. McQueary’s a great communicator, but when his receivers screw up on the practice field, they get the Look of Death.I saw safeties coach Kermit Buggs so one of the other coaches and I went over to ask him how he defends the wheel route out of Cover 3. He said the key is communication and in a straight Cover 3 (in which the two CBs and the FS have deep thirds while the linebackers split the short zones into fourths), the ILB has to cover the flat while the OLB runs with the deep man.After that, we saw Larry Johnson walking around and we stopped him to ask how he teaches kids to beat reach blocks. Basically, he maintains his strategy that defensive linemen need to get off the ball fast and hard. Their first steps need to replace their down hand so they cross the line of scrimmage instead of bringing that back foot even with the other; he doesn’t care if his tackles get reach blocked, as long as it’s one or two yards deep in the backfield and not at the LOS.After that, we saw cheese fries at Outback.

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