Harvey Levine/FOS

Consistent Pressure Key For Brown, PSU D-Ends

Keeping opposing quarterbacks honest game in and game out is vital to the improvement of the Nittany Lion defense.

There are many images that linger from Penn State’s 2016 season, but the last one might be the most telling – the one of USC quarterback Sam Darnold sitting comfortably in the pocket throughout the Rose Bowl and dissecting the Nittany Lions’ defense.

Darnold, never sacked and barely pressured, threw for 453 yards and four touchdowns in rallying the Trojans to a 52-49 victory. 

The Lions, 11-3 last season, didn’t record a sack in their losses to Pitt and Michigan, either, and seven of the 40 they had during the season came in the opener against Kent State. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1772428-the-blue-white-gam...

They have also seen both of last year’s starting defensive ends, Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan, move on. 

Obviously, then, one of the bigger questions facing the team as spring practice winds down is whether the pass rush can improve, as it will have a considerable impact on whether the Lions can take another step forward as a defense and a team this fall.

Redshirt junior defensive end Torrence Brown, naturally, believes it will be better — that, in fact, he and his linemates are “improving every day” while jousting with an offensive line that has the potential to be very good.

“If we keep competing with those guys to the best of our abilities,” he said during a conference call with reporters earlier this week, “it will translate to the games and we’ll be a great pass-rushing line this year.”

There are reasons to believe him, beginning with the fact that the unit is coached well, by coordinator Brent Pry and line boss Sean Spencer.

Pry is in his second year in his current post, and Brown believes the group has exhibited “10 times more confidence” this spring.

“A lot of players are playing with more confidence this year,” he said, “including myself.”

Spencer, who long ago dubbed his group the “Wild Dogs,” is in Brown’s estimation “kind of crazy.” He stopped short of offering examples, however.

“He does a lot of crazy stuff,” Brown said. “I don’t think I could choose out one thing, but he’s a crazy guy.”

Brown also said he and the other seasoned linemen — tackles Curtis Cothran and Parker Cothren and end Shareef Miller — have tried to exhibit leadership. And he has seen several guys flashing potential during spring drills, which culminate with Saturday’s Blue-White Game.

Miller, for example, “had matured a lot” after recording two sacks as a reserve last season, both against Kent State.

“I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people,” Brown said.

So too might ends Shane Simmons and Shaka Toney, both of whom redshirted last season.

“I see a bright future for both those guys,” Brown said.

It remains to be seen where his own future lies. The 6-foot-3, 257-pound Brown appeared in every game with four starts in 2016, recording 33 tackles, six tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries, but just 0.5 of a sack.

When asked if he thought he had earned a starting spot, he said it is “the wrong mindset” to go into the competition that way.

“I feel like I’ve worked for the job,” he said, “and it will be mine.”

When asked who his biggest challenger might be, he paused a moment before answering.

Finally, he said, “I would say myself. If I have the confidence to take over, I can do it. I’m battling with myself, really, for this job.”

He said the best offensive tackles the D-line have faced in spring ball are Ryan Bates (“a great offensive tackle right now”) and Chasz Wright. And Brown said the best play so far was a diving sideline interception by early enrollee Lamont Wade (“one of the most amazing plays I’ve seen since I’ve been here, in practice”).

But the best idea is for the line to step it up this fall. The season rides on it to a large degree.


VTInsider Top Stories

\n

There are many images that linger from Penn State’s 2016 season, but the last one might be the most telling – the one of USC quarterback Sam Darnold sitting comfortably in the pocket throughout the Rose Bowl and dissecting the Nittany Lions’ defense.

\n

Darnold, never sacked and barely pressured, threw for 453 yards and four touchdowns in rallying the Trojans to a 52-49 victory. 

\n

The Lions, 11-3 last season, didn’t record a sack in their losses to Pitt and Michigan, either, and seven of the 40 they had during the season came in the opener against Kent State. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1772428-the-blue-white-gam...

\n

They have also seen both of last year’s starting defensive ends, Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan, move on. 

\n

Obviously, then, one of the bigger questions facing the team as spring practice winds down is whether the pass rush can improve, as it will have a considerable impact on whether the Lions can take another step forward as a defense and a team this fall.

\n

Redshirt junior defensive end Torrence Brown, naturally, believes it will be better — that, in fact, he and his linemates are “improving every day” while jousting with an offensive line that has the potential to be very good.

\n

“If we keep competing with those guys to the best of our abilities,” he said during a conference call with reporters earlier this week, “it will translate to the games and we’ll be a great pass-rushing line this year.”

\n

There are reasons to believe him, beginning with the fact that the unit is coached well, by coordinator Brent Pry and line boss Sean Spencer.

\n

Pry is in his second year in his current post, and Brown believes the group has exhibited “10 times more confidence” this spring.

\n

“A lot of players are playing with more confidence this year,” he said, “including myself.”

\n

Spencer, who long ago dubbed his group the “Wild Dogs,” is in Brown’s estimation “kind of crazy.” He stopped short of offering examples, however.

\n

“He does a lot of crazy stuff,” Brown said. “I don’t think I could choose out one thing, but he’s a crazy guy.”

\n

Brown also said he and the other seasoned linemen — tackles Curtis Cothran and Parker Cothren and end Shareef Miller — have tried to exhibit leadership. And he has seen several guys flashing potential during spring drills, which culminate with Saturday’s Blue-White Game.

\n

Miller, for example, “had matured a lot” after recording two sacks as a reserve last season, both against Kent State.

\n

“I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people,” Brown said.

\n

So too might ends Shane Simmons and Shaka Toney, both of whom redshirted last season.

\n

“I see a bright future for both those guys,” Brown said.

\n

It remains to be seen where his own future lies. The 6-foot-3, 257-pound Brown appeared in every game with four starts in 2016, recording 33 tackles, six tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries, but just 0.5 of a sack.

\n

When asked if he thought he had earned a starting spot, he said it is “the wrong mindset” to go into the competition that way.

\n

“I feel like I’ve worked for the job,” he said, “and it will be mine.”

\n

When asked who his biggest challenger might be, he paused a moment before answering.

\n

Finally, he said, “I would say myself. If I have the confidence to take over, I can do it. I’m battling with myself, really, for this job.”

\n

He said the best offensive tackles the D-line have faced in spring ball are Ryan Bates (“a great offensive tackle right now”) and Chasz Wright. And Brown said the best play so far was a diving sideline interception by early enrollee Lamont Wade (“one of the most amazing plays I’ve seen since I’ve been here, in practice”).

\n

But the best idea is for the line to step it up this fall. The season rides on it to a large degree.

\n

","mobileBody":"

Follow @gordonwjones

There are many images that linger from Penn State’s 2016 season, but the last one might be the most telling – the one of USC quarterback Sam Darnold sitting comfortably in the pocket throughout the Rose Bowl and dissecting the Nittany Lions’ defense.

Darnold, never sacked and barely pressured, threw for 453 yards and four touchdowns in rallying the Trojans to a 52-49 victory.

The Lions, 11-3 last season, didn’t record a sack in their losses to Pitt and Michigan, either, and seven of the 40 they had during the season came in the opener against Kent State. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1772428-the-blue-white-gam...

They have also seen both of last year’s starting defensive ends, Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan, move on.

Obviously, then, one of the bigger questions facing the team as spring practice winds down is whether the pass rush can improve, as it will have a considerable impact on whether the Lions can take another step forward as a defense and a team this fall.

Redshirt junior defensive end Torrence Brown, naturally, believes it will be better — that, in fact, he and his linemates are “improving every day” while jousting with an offensive line that has the potential to be very good.

“If we keep competing with those guys to the best of our abilities,” he said during a conference call with reporters earlier this week, “it will translate to the games and we’ll be a great pass-rushing line this year.”

There are reasons to believe him, beginning with the fact that the unit is coached well, by coordinator Brent Pry and line boss Sean Spencer.

Pry is in his second year in his current post, and Brown believes the group has exhibited “10 times more confidence” this spring.

“A lot of players are playing with more confidence this year,” he said, “including myself.”

Spencer, who long ago dubbed his group the “Wild Dogs,” is in Brown’s estimation “kind of crazy.” He stopped short of offering examples, however.

“He does a lot of crazy stuff,” Brown said. “I don’t think I could choose out one thing, but he’s a crazy guy.”

Brown also said he and the other seasoned linemen — tackles Curtis Cothran and Parker Cothren and end Shareef Miller — have tried to exhibit leadership. And he has seen several guys flashing potential during spring drills, which culminate with Saturday’s Blue-White Game.

Miller, for example, “had matured a lot” after recording two sacks as a reserve last season, both against Kent State.

“I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people,” Brown said.

So too might ends Shane Simmons and Shaka Toney, both of whom redshirted last season.

“I see a bright future for both those guys,” Brown said.

It remains to be seen where his own future lies. The 6-foot-3, 257-pound Brown appeared in every game with four starts in 2016, recording 33 tackles, six tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries, but just 0.5 of a sack.

When asked if he thought he had earned a starting spot, he said it is “the wrong mindset” to go into the competition that way.

“I feel like I’ve worked for the job,” he said, “and it will be mine.”

When asked who his biggest challenger might be, he paused a moment before answering.

Finally, he said, “I would say myself. If I have the confidence to take over, I can do it. I’m battling with myself, really, for this job.”

He said the best offensive tackles the D-line have faced in spring ball are Ryan Bates (“a great offensive tackle right now”) and Chasz Wright. And Brown said the best play so far was a diving sideline interception by early enrollee Lamont Wade (“one of the most amazing plays I’ve seen since I’ve been here, in practice”).

But the best idea is for the line to step it up this fall. The season rides on it to a large degree.

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