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August 11, 2014

Amos primed for strong finish

James Franklin is going to talk up senior safety Adrian Amos, whether anyone is listening or not.

In a July interview with Blue White Illustrated, Franklin identified Amos as "a guy that I don't think is getting enough love right now," citing him as a member of the Nittany Lions who hadn't appeared on preseason watch lists, but deserved to be among them.

"We're pretty excited about him and his ability, and I could name a lot of guys, but for whatever reason… that's a guy that I think should be getting a little bit more love and attention, because we think he has a chance to be special."

Count the soft-spoken and humble Baltimore native among the ill-informed.

Jokingly asked last Monday afternoon at the team's annual preseason media day about the moment he realized Franklin "loved" him, Amos cracked a smile and a certified look of confusion.

"I didn't know that he thought really highly of me, that's news to me," Amos said. "But, yeah, if the head coach loves you, that's a good thing."

Franklin has good reason, of course.

The leader of a secondary unit Franklin considers to be among the Nittany Lions' strengths as a team, Amos has played in every game the past three seasons, including 25 starts. In each of the past two seasons, Amos earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors with a combined 94 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks to go along with his eight pass breakups and three interceptions.

Part of that track record included a level of disappointment, though, as Amos started the first six games of the 2013 season at safety before moving back to the corner spot he assumed as a sophomore to round out the second half of the year. With Amos spending the season in a type of limbo while trying to determine his best utilization, Franklin offered this outlook for the season ahead.

"He's one of those talented guys that, if you're not careful, you just keep moving him around to solve problems for you. And he probably does that, but doesn't end up having the impact that you'd like him to have," Franklin said. "He's a guy I think if he committed to playing corner would be your best corner. If he committed to playing safety, he could be your best safety. And that's no disrespect to anybody else, but I'm saying he could be in that argument. He's that talented of a guy in terms of big, strong, fast, great football IQ, all those types of things.

"So, I can't really speak about last year, but I could see based on his skill sets that if you're having an issue somewhere, he's an easy guy to move to that spot to solve it. I can't really speak a whole lot on what they did and why, but I can speak on that, that the guy has got a pretty intriguing and interesting skill set."

As for Amos himself, having made the official move back to safety in the spring - with every indication from Penn State's coaching staff that he'll be used in a multitude of ways to match his strengths - the complications of the past are fading as he looks to cap his career with an uninhibited year.

"I always put a lot of pressure on myself before a game, but I just want to come out here and have fun and make plays," he said. "When I'm having fun, the sky is the limit.

"This is fun."



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