Player Spotlight: New Leaders Emerge for 2015 Season
The end of this week marks the final hours of training camp 2015. As classes begin, so do regular season practices and the countdown to the Nittany Lions’ first chance to make a name for themselves this season against Temple on Saturday, September 5th. With camp almost to a close, some household names were interviewed about their thoughts on practice, what it means to be a leader, and what we can expect this season from our formidable team.
When asked about how he takes extra leadership roles on and off the turf, redshirt sophomore wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.) commented that he likes to “go do extra because that will benefit in the long run” and that he believes it is important to go the extra mile when it comes to practicing skills and testing one’s fitness. Hamilton continued by saying that he encourages other teammates to join him by putting in more hours in the weight room and by doing more drills on the field even after practice ends. Hamilton believes this kind of dedication is what gives him an “edge” going into the 2015 season. Likewise, Hamilton praised newcomers such as freshmen wide receivers Juwan Johnson (Glassboro, N.J.) and Irvin Charles (Sicklerville, N.J.) as being fast and adept in the wide receiver position.
Redshirt junior running back Akeel Lynch (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) was another team member who shed some light about what we can expect going into the 2015 season. Lynch stated that he wants this year to be the return of Running Back U. “As running backs, we all take that load onto our shoulders,” Lynch said of the responsibility and emphasis placed on the running backs this fall. Lynch finished up his interview by reminding us that, “Coach says we all have the ability to make the big runs, but we gotta continue to do the little things right .”
Perhaps the most uplifting quote of the day comes from sophomore linebacker, Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J.): “I think we are in a very good place , especially compared to where we were at this time last year… I think the energy level has been great every single day, we have had great practices every single day.” Cabinda went on to say that he is “really liking where the team is right now,” and that he expects big things from every Nittany Lion this season, on and off the field. Cabinda praised Coach Franklin’s increased hours of film study, saying that it helps him mentally prepare for the challenges that he potentially faces this season. There was a certain fire in Cabinda’s eyes as he spoke about getting into Beaver Stadium throughout the preseason: “When in there, the energy level is just crazy.”
Although our players may seem like only the most serious of men, they do enjoy poking fun at each other as DaeSean Hamilton did when asked about junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg’s (Palmyra, Va.) personality off the field: “Off the field, I’d say kind of a dork… Sometimes, some of his jokes aren’t really funny, but I laugh just to make him feel good.” Hamilton goes on to say that, “People think… that the quarterback has to be the coolest guy on earth, but really, he’s kind of corny to me, but that’s why I love him.”
There you have it. Three of our most promising Nittany Lions all delivering one message to fans for the 2015 season: They are ready for anything. Bring it on. We Are!