Penn State Football Practice Notebook - 10/6/21
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Going on the road for the first time since facing Wisconsin on Sept. 4, Penn State practiced on Wednesday with the matchup against the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes in the forefront of its mind.
Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City will host the Nittany Lions for a 4 p.m. showdown between two top-25 teams on Saturday, Oct. 9. The game boasts of a major defensive battle between the top two defenses in the Big Ten Conference.
Iowa leads the Big Ten in interceptions, a total of 12 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. James Franklin acknowledged Iowa’s ability to force turnovers when given the opportunity.
“They get the ball in short fields and they’ve been able to turn them into touchdowns,” Franklin said.
Franklin emphasized ball security as a top priority. Penn State does a specific ball security drill at every practice, a drill that Franklin said is essential.
Ball security with the running and passing game will be important against an Iowa defense holding opponents to 11.6 points per game on the season.
Penn State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has been active in the blue and white’s preparation for Iowa as a hands-on instructor. Franklin said that Yurcich would jump in to help develop plays simulating the Hawkeyes’ strategy.
Penn State’s defensive core was a hot topic throughout practice, as safeties Ji’Ayir Brown and Jaquan Brisker are two Nittany Lion defensive backs to watch against the Hawkeyes on Saturday.
Franklin spoke highly of Brown, who accumulated two solo tackles and an interception against the Indiana Hoosiers on Oct. 2.
“He’s very appreciative of his opportunities and experience here at Penn State,” Franklin said.
Franklin said he is a big fan of the Trenton, New Jersey, native, who played alongside Brisker at Lackawanna College.
During their careers as Falcons, Brown and Brisker earned 2018 first-team All-Northeast Football Conference selections before Brisker signed with the Nittany Lions for the 2019 season.
“We brought this chemistry from Lackawanna,” Brown said.
Brown transferred to Penn State in 2020 and resumed building his bond with Brisker on and off the field.
The Nittany Lions practiced with artificial crowd noise pumped into the outdoor practice facility to simulate a hostile environment awaiting them at Kinnick Stadium.
Emma Holtz is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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