Following head coach Ryan Day’s weekly press conference, co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley stepped to the podium to discuss his unit’s preparation for Penn State (12 p.m. on FOX).
Here’s a recap of what he had to say:
- Hafley on defensive improvement from last year to this year. “You take pride in how hard these players have worked and what they’ve done thus far.” Adds that could obviously change after games against Penn State and Michigan.
- Hafley said he’s excited to have defensive end Chase Young back from suspension this weekend, but also excited for him to be able to play again. “I think he’s one of the best players in college football.”
- Hafley said the seniors are the most important players on the team. “They’re the ones that establish the leadership.”
- Hafley said Penn State is a very well-coached team with dynamic players. “This is probably the best group (of wideouts) we’ve played this year.”
- Hafley said cornerback Shaun Wade needs to forget about touchdown he gave up to Penn State wide receiver K.J. Hamler last season. “When those scars happen, you have to learn from them.” Added you can’t blame just him because there are other players in the secondary. “Where was his help?”
- Hafley said they’ve been experimenting with freshman Cade Stover at defensive end. “He’s very talented, has a lot of versatility, he’s strong, so we’re just trying to find the best situation for him right now.”
- “We’ve gotten the guys to buy in,” Hafley said when once again asked about defensive improvement. Mentioned tackling and eliminating big plays. “I give all the credit to the players.”
- Hafley said he hopes Young is extra motivated and comes off the ball even faster this week “because that would be really fast.”
- Hafley called Penn State “the best football team we’ve played so far.”
- Hafley gave a lot of credit to the young players who have stepped up in Young and defensive end Jonathan Cooper’s absence. “What did we have in two games? Eight, nine sacks? That’s pretty impressive.”
- Hafley said they saw teams running deeper-developing routes and using their tight ends and running backs in the passing game more with Young out rather than using them as blockers, though.