Former Gophers assistant fitting in at Penn State

  • Article by: GENARO C. ARMAS , Associated Press
  • Updated: August 23, 2012 - 11:52 AM

The former Gophers defensive coordinator wants the Nittany Lions to be fast and physical.

hide

Former Gophers head Tim Brewster, left, and defensive coordinator Ted Roof when they were in Minnesota.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

STATE COLLEGE, PA. -- The new leader at "Linebacker U" promises to turn up the defensive pressure.

But unlike what coach Bill O'Brien is doing in overhauling the offense, coordinator Ted Roof is just giving the Nittany Lions defense some tweaks.

It's a blend of new and old for the Penn State, Roof, the Gophers' defensive coordinator in 2008, is the new man in charge, replacing longtime assistant Tom Bradley.

But the faces and the core philosophy will be familiar in Happy Valley. Even the only two holdovers from the late Joe Paterno's staff work on the defense: line coach Larry Johnson and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden.

"It's still a 4-3 defense. The basics are still there," senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill said at the team's media day this month. "Just the way it's coached and the terms are still a little different than what we're used to."

Better get up to speed soon: The season opener Sept. 1 against Ohio is less than two weeks away.

"They were very successful, and I respect that," Roof said about Penn State's defense under Bradley. "But the main core is I want us to be aggressive. I want us to play fast. I want us to be physical."

Schematically, that means more blitzing and disguised looks up front, a change from the "bend-but-don't break" philosophy espoused by Bradley and Paterno.

Roof came from Central Florida to Penn State in mid-January, about a week after O'Brien was hired to replace Paterno, who was fired by trustees in November in the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

He had only been with Central Florida for about a month after leaving Auburn following the regular season. Roof spent three seasons as the Tigers' defensive coordinator, including the 2010 national championship season when the Tigers finished ninth in rush defense. Roof was previously head coach at Duke, where O'Brien was offensive coordinator for two seasons.

Roof has fit in nicely at Penn State.

"Defense is defense. It's just how you move it," Johnson said. "It's just terminology. Coach Roof has got a great system. ... We've been in a four-man front. That's easy. Our gaps haven't changed. It's terminology and we're all in a new playbook. That was the biggest thing to adjust to."

But the adjustment has been made much easier by a front seven that O'Brien has called the strength of the team. It is high praise from a rookie head coach whose sole focus up to this point has been offense.

Hill will anchor a solid, experienced line, while linebacker -- big surprise -- will be the strength of the defense with athletic force Gerald Hodges and fiery leader Mike Mauti on the outside, and solid Glenn Carson on the inside.

Carson said some of the blitz looks could be "pretty exotic. It's going to be way more of a chess match out there. We're really focused on studying film and knowing concepts."

O'Brien likes what he sees so far, especially up front.

"That front seven up there ... that's a really good group for a front seven for a college football team," O'Brien said at practice Tuesday. "So we expect those guys to play well. Maybe it's putting pressure on them for me to say that. I'm sure they would accept the challenge."

It is in the secondary where things could get interesting early, at least because of injury concerns. The projected starting safety duo of Jake Fagnano (hamstring) and Malcolm Willis (right ankle) has missed some time this preseason, with O'Brien saying that Fagnano's injury is the more serious of the two.

Stephen Morris and Adrian Amos have the corner positions locked up, though Amos might have to shift to safety if Fagnano misses extensive time.

"You can expect Amos to be in any position on defense except the defensive line," O'Brien said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit 5 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 17
Miami 7 Top 9th Inning
Colorado 4
San Diego 0 Bottom 8th Inning
Arizona 4
LA Angels 2 Top 6th Inning
Oakland 2
NY Mets 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Los Angeles 2
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 0 3rd Qtr
Seattle 31
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 64 4th Qtr 4:30
Phoenix 63
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which football team will have the best record in 2014?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close