Player Spotlight: Devyn Ford
With the recent announcement of Journey Brown’s medical retirement from football and Noah Cain’s season-ending injury, sophomore Devyn Ford has become Penn State’s top running back for the Nittany Lions. He spoke to the media on Wednesday about how he is prepared to take on this new role with the help of coach Ja’Juan Seider.
“I feel like coach Seider has been coaching the running back room for us and for me since last year,” Ford said. “He’s been doing a great job, so he always told me to prepare like a starter and to play like a starter, so throughout freshman year, always preparing and always being in that systematic mentality.”
Ford explains that his approach has always been to prepare like a starter, but there was still an initial shock once both Brown and Cain were ruled out for the season.
“It definitely took a second to realize what was going on, you know, how to take everything in,” Ford said. “Definitely, it was a shock at first. I didn’t even know what was going on. I am just playing the game. Then after the game, you see what happens. You think about it and, well, everything happens for a reason.“
While Brown was outstanding as a running back, he also fueled a lot of the Nittany Lions’ energy both on and off the field. Ford discussed how Brown has still been a huge morale booster for the team.
“He’s been a coach on the field, every day, in and out, and helped us running backs in the film room a lot too, just being another person that we can talk to on the field when it’s not coach Seider,” Ford said. “I’ve always talked to him one-on-one just about how I can get better in the run game, how low I can run, and stuff like that, even last year and through this year too, so he helped me out a lot with that. And the team, the team itself, he’s around everybody. He’s really with every single position group. Everyone loves Journey.”
As for his own game, Ford elaborated on his comfort level as a pass receiver out of the backfield and how he hopes to incorporate and improve this aspect of his game.
“That’s definitely something that I would like to be a part of my game,” Ford said. “I’ve been working on it since high school... It is just about working your hands and doing different things like that in the backfield that we can get going, so it is definitely a possibility. I’ve been working on that, so whatever opportunities arise in the future, I would be ready.”
Overall, Ford has taken on a huge role rather quickly for Penn State. While the Nittany Lions’ offense has been shaky, Ford is showing signs of improvement.
“I feel like I’ve definitely improved, mainly in the pass blocking,” Ford said. “That was one thing I wanted to get a lot of improvement on in the past offseason, and it showed up in games. I think I can still do better and continue to do better.”
This weekend, Devyn Ford and the rest of the Nittany Lions will face the Iowa Hawkeyes. It will be interesting to see if Penn State can match Iowa’s strong run game, which ran for 226 yards against Michigan State and 235 yards against Minnesota.
Kathryn Tague is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.