What is Tennessee getting in its most recent staff addition? We asked the guy who's been covering Bob Shoop since he joined James Franklin's staff at Penn State in 2014 to find that out. Fight On State's Mark Brennan sits down with InsideTennessee to discuss defensive coordinator Bob Shoop's coaching style, recruiting impact and defensive philosophy in this Q&A. To the questions:
What is Bob Shoop’s general coaching style and how would you describe his personality?
His coaching style is disciplined and aggressive. He definitely takes the fight to the offense, which shows in the sack and TFL numbers his defenses have posted the last couple of years. But he balances that with good gap integrity and overall positioning. That’s why his defenses don’t give up a lot of big plays. Personality-wise, he is smart, funny (in a dry sort) of way and low-key. The media will love him.
What is Shoop’s reputation as a recruiter and do you know what region he recruited for James Franklin?
I don’t think that’s really his calling card. He primarily worked his hometown area (Pittsburgh), but had a lot of help on that front in fellow PSU assistant and Steel City native Terry Smith, who is a beast of a recruiter in western Pennsylvania. Put it this way: Shoop was not hired for his recruiting chops.
What scheme gave Penn State the most struggles this season? What offenses were the Nittany Lions best at defending?
Mobile quarterbacks who could also throw were the biggest problem while the defense was healthy. Ohio State might have scored 75 on Penn State had Urban Meyer started J.T. Barrett over slow-footed Cardale Jones. As it was, Barrett came in and rushed for 102 yards and two scores and passed for another TD. The Nittany Lions were good against most of the one-dimensional offenses they faced.
What position does he work most closely with?
Safeties. This was not considered a great year for the PSU safeties, but part of that was because veteran Jordan Lucas missed a lot of time with a shoulder injury that ultimately ended his season.
How would you describe Penn State's defense under Shoop?
Uh, Shoop-alicious? Shoop-tastic? Seriously, as I noted earlier, disciplined and aggressive sums it up best.
What was the Nittany Lions' most drastic defensive change after he took over in 2014?
Depends on what your basis of comparison was. Rememeber, after everything that went down here in 2011, Penn State had five defensive coordinators over the course of four years — culminating with Shoop being hired in 2014. So compared to the Tom Bradley bend-but-don't-break defenses at the end of the Joe Paterno era, Shoop's unit was more aggressive in terms of man coverage and blitzing and that sort o thing. When compared to the John Butler defense in Bill O'Brien's final year, Shoop's group was more disciplined and organized.