IN FOCUS: DL Anthony Zettel

Get an up-close, off-season review of the Nittany Lions' veteran defensive lineman, who has been shifted inside to tackle.


THE PLAYER
As a defensive end last season, Anthony Zettel saw action in all 12 Penn State clashes with starts against Michigan and Illinois. On the year he grabbed 13.5 tackles and four sacks, good for second best on the squad. He also had six tackles for loss, trailing only DT DaQuan Jones and fellow DE C.J. Olaniyan on the squad. His athleticism helped him snag an interception against the Wolverines.

Known for his sheer strength, Zettel has added aout 15 pounds to his frame, helping him tip the scales at about 275. This, coupled with his ability to pressure the pocket, has resulted in a shift inside from end to tackle for the redshirt junior.


THE ASSESMENT
Strength: Said to be his biggest asset by many around the program (within both the Bill O'Brien and James Franklin staffs), his power helps him "get off the blocks" and "explode into the pocket." This is also pointed to as a major reason why he was among the leaders in sacks and tacks for loss last season. Currently, he's believed to have increased his strength, helping him to carry his added size for his transition inside.
Technique: Zettel's "straight ahead" and "bull-rush" technique is impressive and "seemed to get better as the season progressed," according to one program observer. In fact, he closed out the season with two of three sacks in PSU's road victory over Wisconsin in Madison. The focus this spring is to help him "expand his technique beyond just running over linemen." Position coach Sean Spencer is looking to get him to "diversify his approach" with better use of his hands and shoulders to shed defenders to get inside pressure.


Footwork: Said to be "disciplined" with his feet, he's "typically up" and "always moving." He draws good power from his lower body, although "they're working him here." Overall, the staff seems to like the agility they have seen from him on film and his ability to use his feet "to get inside and step into lanes."


Impact: Overall, his power and ability to add size relatively quickly has the defensive coaching staff hopeful that Zettel can make the transition to the interior smoothly to add depth and bring his rush technique inside. They particularly seem to like his strength at the 3-technique tackle position. The hope is also that redshirts Garrett Sickels and/or Curtis Cothran can step in to deepen the end position with veterans like C.J. Olaniyan and Deion Barnes.


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