With 2004 starter E.Z. Smith not allowed to join the Penn State football program until next Tuesday due to university-imposed disciplinary actions, redshirt freshman A.Q. Shipley has emerged as a contender to claim the starting center position. Scott Cole caught up with Shipley recently to see how things are going.

Shipley played on both sides of the line while redshirting last season, but made the move to full-time center in the spring. The 6-foot-1, 292-pounder believes he has found a home.

FOS: Do you feel comfortable at center now that you've gone through spring practice and summer workouts?

Shipley: I feel real comfortable. As soon as summer practice started, I felt real comfortable at center. Center just started clicking. Everything just started coming together.

FOS: Have you been practicing with the ones or the twos? How have things gone in practice?

Shipley: I've running a little bit with the ones, a little bit with the twos, a little bit with the threes.

FOS: So the coaches are just trying to find positioning on the depth chart for everybody?

Shipley: Yeah.

FOS: The defensive line has gotten a little thin. Was there any thought of moving you back over in the summer?

Shipley: I just prepared all summer to be at center. They never really said anything about me being a defensive tackle. There were rumors floating around and a lot of guys thinking maybe I would, maybe I wouldn't, but for the most part, I just prepared all summer to be the center.

FOS: Do you care one way or another where you play or do you just want to get on the field?

Shipley: I just want to get on the field. After the spring, I started feeling a lot more comfortable at center. I actually feel a lot more comfortable here than I did at defensive tackle.

FOS: The center/QB exchange was a little off in the spring. That's been worked out by now?

Shipley: Oh yeah. Completely worked out.

FOS: What about the conditioning work? You don't look like a redshirt freshman. You look like you've been in the program a few years. Do you do anything differently or have you just been attacking the conditioning like anything else?

Shipley: No, every day, I just go in with the attitude that I'm going to get better. I just 100 percent in each day and go from there.


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