Zettel Still Looking to Improve

Story posted November 7, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Abhar Shah

The Penn State Nittany Lions (4-4, 1-4 B1G) are coming off their fourth consecutive loss of the season losing to Maryland 20-19 last Saturday. They now take to the road as they travel to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers (3-5, 0-4 B1G). 

While their offense has continued to struggle, the Penn State defense has been stout all year allowing an average of 17.8 points per game. The Nittany Lions’ defense has the best run defense in the country having allowed only 617 rushing yards in eight games.

Led by arguably the best front four in the conference, the Nittany Lions are holding their opponents to 2.29 yards per carry.

A huge part of that success stems from West Branch, Michigan native, Anthony Zettel, at the defensive tackle position.

Zettel has been a force to handle for opposing offensive linemen. With his 6-4, 274 pound frame, he has surprisingly quick feet and great athleticism, which has been in full display this season.

Thus far, Zettel has 22 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions. He also added a forced fumble last weekend against Maryland.    

The highlight of the season for Zettel, and probably for the Penn State team as a whole, came early in the third quarter against Ohio State. J.T. Barret threw a quick out to the far sideline that was intercepted by Zettel who took it 40 yards for a touchdown, sparking a 17-point comeback.

The one thing about Zettel that everyone on the team loves is his dedication to the team. He is one of the hardest workers on the team whether it is on the field or in the film room.

“Yeah, watching film is a huge part of football,” said Zettel. “When you watch a play you have to see what you did wrong and what you did right so you can make the corrections on the field next time you do it. “

Zettel has played exceptionally well this season and his stats back that up. He is pleased with the way he has played his season but he knows there is always room for improvement.

“Yeah, I’m pleased but I have a lot of stuff to improve. I have left a lot of plays out on the field that if I could have done something simple or technique wise I could have made more of play. I know I have a lot to improve to be a great player.”

Zettel will have a huge assignment this week as the Nittany Lions’ defense goes up against one of the most productive backs in the country in Indiana’s Tevin Coleman.

“He (Coleman) is a very explosive back, one cut kind of guy that makes a big impact on the field with eight yards per carry. It’s a big challenge for our defense and we’re excited for it.”

His tag team partner on the defensive line Austin Johnson has a similar type of play, which complements Zettel perfectly.  During his press conference, Zettel raved about Johnson’s play and how it helped in his growth and development.

“We each have our different pass moves but we are a lot alike,” said Zettel. “The ability to move his body as big as he is very impressive. He works hard, has great hands and everything.  Playing next to him makes me better and our whole defense better.”

They are going to need every bit of that defensive line to stop Coleman this Saturday when the Penn State Nittany Lions travel to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Abhar Shah is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him by emailing abs5349@psu.edu.