Asked what jumped out at him while watching game film of Tennessee's upcoming Outback Bowl opponent, Ainge immediately replied: "The middle linebacker. That's the first thing you've got to address. He's a great, great player. I'll butcher his name if I try to say it but he's the real deal."
Posluszny may be hard to pronounce but he's even harder to block. He spearheads a Nittany Lion defense that is one of the nation's best. Penn State ranks 8th nationally in sacks (38), 10th in rushing defense (87.8 yards per game), 11th in pass-efficiency defense (104.4), 11th in scoring defense (14.8 points per game) and 16th in total defense (279.0 yards per game).
"Obviously, they're a very well-coached team," Ainge said, adding that he has watched "five or six of their games, trying to get a feel for what they do."
And what might that be?
"They do a lot of the same things the SEC teams do," Ainge replied. "Everybody does basically the same stuff. It's who has the best athletes and who has the smartest football players. They've got some great athletes and they've got some real smart football players."
And, unlike a few Big Ten teams, the Nittany Lions have some quickness.
Vol receiver Robert Meachem has watched some film, too. He believes Penn State's defensive backs will be among the best Tennessee has faced.
"They're very physical because they play against a lot of running offenses," he said. "They're great at coverage and they're great at disguising their coverage. It's a great defense all-around."