On Saturday morning key players from Kentucky and Penn State, along with the offensive and defensive coordinators on both sides, spoke with the media in Orlando. Trace McSorley and Nick Scott were on hand for the Lions. For the Wildcats Josh Allen and Benny Snell Jr. took the podium.
We’ve heard a great deal about Allen and Snell Jr. but for the first time we got to hear them speak in their own words. Both players were very respectful and soft-spoken, taking the the Teddy Roosevelt mantra to ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’ The Kentucky offense revolves around Snell Jr. while the defense is led by the Allen, who won both the Bednarik and Nagurski trophies for being the best defensive player in college football.
Allen was asked about his sister, Myisha, who plays in the WNBA but formerly was a player at Louisville, the arch-rival of the Kentucky Wildcats. Louisville and Kentucky will play today at 2 p.m. in what is looked at as The Game in Kentucky basketball circles.
Allen will be a handful for the Penn State offensive line and also a concern for Trace McSorley on every play. On the offensive side for Kentucky, Snell Jr. will be the focus for Brent Pry’s defense. Here is what the Wildcat running back had to say about his family and what he learned from watching his great-uncle and father play.
Trace McSorley and offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne took the podium for the Penn State offense. McSorley spoke about the process of separating business with pleasure during the bowl week. “Our coaches do a good job of teaching us to be in the moment. Just being where your feet are. So if that’s out at Universal or the Best Buy deal that we had, enjoy it in the moment. But when you are on the way to meetings or practice, that’s kind of when you flip the switch and get locked in.”
Penn State will have another adventure following practice today when the team heads over to Fun Spot America, one of Orlando’s many tourist attractions. McSorley was asked about his experience in Happy Valley and he shared his thoughts.
Rahne was asked what it has been like to coach McSorley for the past few years. He mentioned that he hopes his children grow up to be like Trace, but that they lack the necessary genetics to follow in his footsteps as an athlete.
McSorley was asked about the prospect of playing the talented Josh Allen, and whether he would have to be aware of where Allen was on the field before each play.
With this being McSorley’s final game at Penn State, he was asked about the heir apparent, Tommy Stevens, who is expected to become the starting quarterback next season. Stevens was injured much of the season and faced a great deal of adversity in the process. Here is what Trace had to say about it.
Defensive captain Nick Scott and coordinator Brent Pry spoke with the media as well. Coach Pry was asked whether or not his team has faced opponents similar to Kentucky this year, and how he would try to limit their attack. He responded by saying that he pays more attention to the Wildcats’ approach to playing teams similar to Penn State more than what other teams tried to do against Kentucky.
His answer to some may sound like a distinction without a difference but it sheds some light into the thought process of a coordinator at Pry’s level. While we novices may think he looks at teams that Penn State has played that were similar to Kentucky, the way that the Lions put together a game plan has nothing to do with that. He is more concerned about how Kentucky game planned versus defenses that are similar to the Lions’.
It makes sense since the Lions will not be bringing any players from Mississippi State or Florida with them to the game, and while there may be similarities between other teams and Penn State, the one constant is how Kentucky attacks those opponents.
Pry spoke about his defense and the season that it had, mentioning that the losses to Ohio State and Michigan State were a turning point for the unit.
Nick Scott was the leader of the defense as a one-year starter at safety. While he was not the focal point of those outside of the program, he was the signal-caller and stabilizing force in the back half of the secondary. Here is what he had to say about his ability and personality.