POST-GAME QUOTES: Penn State Student-Athletes

Penn State Football
Post-game press conference between Penn State students and athletes
vs. Auburn – September 18, 2021

Sean clifford | QB | R-Sr.

Q: In terms of the offensive line, how does it feel to see them pass by blocking like they did?

A: They came in clutch. I mean, it’s hard to say they came in clutch because they do it everyday. I trust these guys so much. Honestly, everyone. I truly believe they are the best in the country and they showed it on a national stage tonight.

Q: What do you think of the atmosphere of White Out?

A: It was awesome. After the year that we had last year and now being able to go out and experience this, that’s what it is. I say this with a smile because I know how much we missed it as a community last year. You feed on energy. I always thought I played better when the stakes were higher. It is probably the calmest I have ever been. I walked in and saw everything so clearly from the first shot and I think that’s how Coach Yurcich developed me and really pushed me every day, not letting me slip through the cracks on anything. It’s just 1-0, we have a whole season.

Q: It was good to have [the tight ends] involved and see what they can do once you get them to play at that level?

A: Yeah, they’ve got, I mean we’ve got three really talented tight ends. I have a lot of confidence in each of them and I know the team has a lot of confidence in them. It was great to involve them all in different ways. You saw Brenton [Strange] and Theo [Johnson] through different things then Tyler [Warren] and his package. We haven’t done that yet and we also have a lot in this package. I mean, he’s a former quarterback. So, like it. Yeah, we got a lot going with these guys. It’s fun to just bounce off the staff in person and keep the defenses on their toes.

Noah Cain | RB | Jr.

Q: How do you compare your start of last year with this team’s confidence level 3-0?

A: It started with our offseason. It started with our camp, we had one of the toughest camps this offseason. Coach Franklin challenged us day in and day out to be great and to be the best version of ourselves and I think that’s what everyone does in this program.

Q: What can you tell me about (Jahan) Dotson?

A: He tries to improve day by day. He doesn’t really talk too much, he just goes about his business and that’s really all you can ask for. You can see the hunger in his face, everyone has seen him, and he’s going to keep playing for us and playing.

Strange Brenton | TE / H | A-So.

Q: Brenton, do you think tight ends came out in a big way tonight?

A: Oh, that was really important for the team. We all have a big role, we’re all very important to this attack and that’s what we do, and I was proud of all of us tonight, we played a great game.

Q: We haven’t seen a lot of tight ends so far this season. Was there some sort of, I don’t know if the word frustration was right, but was there any built-up anxiety for you to make a mark?

A: No, not at all because we know our role and what we do every week is what we have to do for the team every week, so there was no frustration, we played our part. Tonight the pieces came down to us, and we made them.

Q: Do you think that with the mental toughness of this team, maybe they’ve kind of grown over the last couple of years?

A: Definitely because last year we went through a lot as a team and I think it brought us closer together, and we are very strong mentally and we have more experience than last year.

Q: Do you think the game opened up a bit with Jahan’s throw and the Wildcat with Tyler? Where did it all come from and how exciting is it to practice?

A: Believe it or not, it’s something we’ve been working on all year, so we wrote it over and over and over and over and took it out tonight and performed it.

Tyler warren | TE / H | R-Fr.

Q: First touchdown and first catch, how was that night for you?

A: It was fun, being here in front of all our fans at Whiteout was a great experience, my favorite Whiteout. Being here with all my brothers on the team, it was a great atmosphere and there is nothing like it.

Q: How important are the three tight ends, including yourself, to making big plays?

A: I think we improve each other in practice. If one of us is wrong, we will coach him. Our coaches will help us push ourselves. And I think it helped us improve throughout the spring and summer. It has manifested itself during this season.

Q: Can you explain the touchdown to us and how did it feel to come back to your QB days?

A: It was good to play quarterback again. But it’s just another game and then everyone around me did their job and had the opportunity to step into the zone. It just happened. This is how the play unfolded. The offensive line received a good push and that’s why I was able to score. If they were in the backfield, I wouldn’t have scored. They had a good push and it was there, so it worked.

Q: What kind of pressure can that put on a defense to have all three of you? [tight ends] in the field at the same time and have that flexibility?

A: Like you said, it’s flexibility. Tight ends are a running bunch and then you can be threats in the passing game. So I think having three on the pitch can be important and help us win a lot.

Jesse luketa | DE / LB | Sr.

Q: How would you describe the team’s start to the season?

A: We shaped our identity the first week with Wisconsin to a high-profile opponent like this. We are no longer hungry. We are more humble. I can’t wait, a week at a time. We had a great evening tonight, but business resumes tomorrow.

Q: What is the identity of this tusk after three weeks?

A: We are resilient, relentless and hungry. You know we’re tight, this team is honestly one of the tightest teams I’ve ever been on. We love ourselves. You can see it, you can see the camaraderie on the pitch. We supported each other and it is not reserved that here, you see it week after week, we post it.

Q: How much of a drag on your shoulder or a motivator last year?

A: It is used for everything. You know we have it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have this chip on our shoulder. We are going to work, day after day. We keep the same mentality. Remember everything.

Q: Jesse, you, Nick tarburton, and Arnold ebiketie were all real beginners. You all got to start, but what does that say about the mood in this room?

A: They are my brothers. You know, anyway, when it’s time to eat, I’m there to support them. But it’s time for AK (Ebiketie) to eat, it’s the other way around. When it’s my turn to eat, these guys are there for me. So no, it just shows how tight we are in a group and how hungry we are. We support each other. No matter who is in the field, standards are the norm, there is no downfall. We have invested so much. I have been here for four years. We had a great offseason; we really came together and it shows that we are here to have fun. I enjoy every time I go there with my brothers.

Jahan Dotson | WR | Sr.

Q: What has been the biggest impact of [Offensive Coordinator Mike] Yurcich?

A: Tempo, that was the most important thing. The way we use tempo destabilizes teams and unbalances teams. And that’s a great weapon for us. Coach Yurcich, I said at the start of the season, he’s a brain, and I really believe he has an answer for everything a defense throws at us. It’s just great to have a guy like that.

Q: How excited were you when they called [your pass play]?

A: I was really excited. They called the game up and I tried not to show any emotion for the defense but I was so happy they called it. I’ve been waiting to throw the ball all year. It was my opportunity.

Q: When you get into one of those modes where you seem to kind of block everything around you and focus on what you’re doing, how do you get into that mode?

A: Oh, I just have tunnel vision when I’m here. This is what I love to do. So during the play I don’t hear the crowd or anything, I kind of got locked into what I’m doing there. I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve been playing literally since I was three, so it’s literally like I’m playing little league football, it’s no different. It’s just a game. And I’m just having fun doing it.

Q: We know every win is important but given the stakes tonight: the whiteout, the national ranking, national TV. Was it really especially important to moving forward for your goals to get this win?
A: It wasn't any more important than any other game we're gonna have during this season. [It's] just as important as Wisconsin, just as important as Ball State. We know that we can't look at any opponent greater or lesser than any other. We know that we're going to have to come out here and execute every single time we serve on this field, that's what we did tonight.

Arnold ebiketie | FROM | R-Sr.

Q:  What was it like, just before the game kind of coming out and experiencing everything, and then how'd you find going into the actual game?
A:  Just before the game from just seeing the video I knew the game was going to be electric. It was my first time to get the chance to come out here and see all the fans, man, it was beautiful to see that. I just enjoyed every second of it. We were able to get the win at the end of the day so I'm just glad we did that.

Q: Where does the confidence in this defense come from?

A: It’s not just defense, it’s also offense. We have confidence in ourselves, the reason we are confident is that we put a lot of work into it, I mean until the offseason, we go back to training. I mean we’re paying the price to be here and play like I’m doing right now, so we’re not surprised at all, these are just expectations, we’re meant to be here.

Q: You guys always seem to, as a defense, make the big play when it matters the most, what does that say about you guys as a group?
A: I mean it's just about being disciplined. Being disciplined and being where you're supposed to. I mean, we all rely on each other to be where we are supposed to. So I know when I'm out here I know PJ [Mustipher] is gonna be in his gap, Tangelo is going to be in his gap, it's just that bond we have as a defense. We know the play's gonna come, we just got to stay in the moment, stay in the game, and everything's gonna take care of itself.

Jaquan Brisker | S | Sr +.

Q: What does a night like this do for Penn State: the Whiteout, TV, you get a big win over an SEC team and all those things, what does that do as kind of a commercial for the Penn State football program? 
A: This is a great win, especially playing an SEC opponent. I don't think people expected us to win but regardless this is a great win for Penn State. Especially coming out here in a whiteout and winning in front of our fans. This is good for State College.

Question: Why is this defense playing with such confidence compared to last year. If there is one thing you can point out?
A: I will say our chemistry during the summer when the coaches weren’t there or something like that. We stayed together. We met individually and in groups, without coaching. We didn’t need the coaches to get us to certain practices. The chemistry is different.

Question: Can you talk about what it meant for you personally to perform in front of your first white audience?
A: Personally, you know, it felt good. Especially seeing the fans coming back, and you know how to see them all in white and all cheered up and things like that, you know, it was awesome and most of all to have a W in the house, it’s always encouraging, especially not not having the fans all out last season.

Q: What have you learned about your team, so far through these three games?
A:  Tough, very tough team from offense to defense to special teams. All three are important. Whether we got to do a sudden change or anything like that we got the offense and whether they score or us we know the offense got our back and then special teams will just take care of it. We just stick together and we're a great team.


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