Q&A With Fullback Matt Hahn

Sophomore Matt Hahn is the most flexible athlete in Penn State's 2005 running back stable. As a true freshman last season, he came out of a redshirt midway through the year to serve as a pass-catching fullback, grabbing six balls in seven games. In the spring, Hahn spent most of his time at tailback, picking up the slack for an injured Austin Scott. Now Hahn is back at fullback.

For the first week or so of preseason drills, Hahn, the 6-foot, 219-pounder out of Dixie Hills, N.Y., has been asked to focus on playing fullback, where he will serve as a nice change of pace from 240-pounders BranDon Snow and Dan Lawlor. Fight On State’s Scott Cole caught up with Hahn at Media Day for a one-on-one Q&A.

FOS: There’s been a lot of talk about the H-back or Z-back position since the spring. Have you guys been working with that much in practice?

Hahn: We’ve been working on it a little bit. We really haven’t gotten into it too much. Right now, as far as practice goes in the offense, we’ve kind of been focusing a little bit on what we’re going to do, trying to get that down. Maybe a little bit more of the complicated stuff. So, we’ve done a little bit of it, but not to the extent that we did in the spring.

FOS: What about you personally? Where do they have you working right now?

Hahn: Right now, they have me working in at fullback primarily.

FOS: More of a pass receiving-type of fullback or have you been doing a lot of blocking?

Hahn: I’ve been doing it all. As far as my position, Galen [Hall] told me that right now for camp, focus on fullback, but know all of the tailback stuff as well, which I already do. One of the benefits of playing fullback during the season and then tailback during the spring is that I have a really good handle on both positions. I think that works to my advantage.

FOS: Do you feel that playing last year as a true freshman helped you or would a redshirt have been more beneficial?

Hahn: I felt for the most part that it was pretty helpful. I felt like I got some good game experience. It works both ways. I’m kind of glad that I know what a game is like and understand what the pressures of playing at Ohio State or Wisconsin are. Now, I know what I’m getting myself into. As far as grasping the offense, it really wasn’t a problem for me.

FOS: You had a chance to look at the speed of everything firsthand.

Hahn: It was more of a size difference and not so much a speed aspect. Guys are as fast as you except, but they’re the same size or bigger.

FOS: What’s the feeling around the offense? How is your confidence level after spring and summer workouts?

Hahn: I think we’re excited mainly because of the athletic ability that we have at receiver, at quarterback, at running back, at fullback. At all of those positions, we have guys that can make plays when it doesn’t look like a play can be made. I think there’s a lot of optimism because of the athletic ability that we have with some of the young guys coming in and some older guys who are stepping up.

FOS: As far as the backfield situation goes, are you all rotating through getting carries right now?

Hahn: Yeah, that’s how it was in the spring, and that’s how it is now. We’ve only been practicing for three or four days. Everybody’s just trying to getting their feet wet and kind of get back into that mode of playing football. Everybody’s getting used to it and taking their fair share of reps and trying to gel with the offense.

FOS: So there hasn’t been any kind of expectation that one guy is going to be the man or it will be running back by committee?

Hahn: No, I don’t think any of the guys in the backfield look at it like that. We all know that we’re talented players, and I think, for the most part, a lot of the guys back there have proven at some point or another that they can make a play and they can do something. As far as that, we just try to help each other out with things if we have questions. We’re a pretty good unit, and we all know that we can make plays. We have confidence in each other.

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