Posluszny pulverizes PSU foes

If you thought that gigantic ape wreaked havoc in "King Kong," you should watch Penn State's game films. Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge has, and he believes the Nittany Lions have a monster of their own.

His name is Paul Posluszny, and he just might be the most disruptive defender in college football. A two-time first-team All-American, he's also a two-time winner of the Bednarik Award as the NCAA's premier defensive player. He won the 2005 Butkus Award as college football's best linebacker and he holds Penn State's record for career tackles with 364, including 108 this season.

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.

"From what I've seen, they've got really good team speed," Ainge said. "Is it as good as Florida or LSU? I don't know. I haven't seen enough to decide that, but they still have good team speed."

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."

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