Coming off a season ending ankle injury during the 2007 campaign, Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick has returned with a vengeance this season. Through both injuries, dismissals and his own performance, Odrick has already vaulted himself back into a starting role.
Wednesday afternoon, Odrick sat down to talk to the media on a teleconference to talk about his performance so far this season, getting his confidence back after the injury and where the defense will go from here.
*** Transcript ***
What has the momentum of the defense helped the team so far with good starts to the game?
Obviously that's what happened the past few games; we only played nine plays in the first quarter against Syracuse. We had three, three and outs; if we can start games with a lot of momentum and carry it to the second and third that should keep the defense fresh and the team in a good position to win.
Was Saturday one of your better games then you have had?
Yeah I guess I can say that, being that this is only my tenth game at defensive tackle because last year got cut short because of the injury and stuff - so yeah, I think this was one of my better games in terms of getting in the back field and wreaking havoc.
How was that for your confidence?
It's a confidence booster at the time but you got to work hard if not harder in practice in the week because there is always a new opponent, and to think alright I had a good week is just getting full of yourself.
What do you think of the Temple quarterback?
I think he is the most elusive quarterback we have played so far, it looks like whenever he gets pressured he likes to get out of the pocket and scramble, but I think we have the right packages in place for that, and we have played scrambling quarterbacks before last year. He is probably the best all-around quarterback we have played this year so if we do that right things we should be alright.
How does it feel to be put in as a started now because of the loss of certain players?
The thing about the defensive line and the defensive tackles, it's a rotation and we have a good amount players that we can rotate and come in at a high intensity level and so it's not like we have a starter but we have a lot of different guys that can come in perform at the same level.
Do you feel the team has gotten over confident with the way you have won the first three games?
So far we haven't let ourselves get over confident because we know who we have played and who we have to play, and I don't think coach Paterno will let us get over confident because of what we have left to do.
With the loss of so many players who have you seen step up and who do you expect to see significant time in the Big Ten season?
Tom McEowen - Jack Crawford - all of those guys will see significant time because of all the players we rotate through - I think that Mike Lucian was a great a addition to the line - it was unfortunate what happened to him against Syracuse but I think he will be able to come back strong in about a week. I think he will be a huge contributor to the D-line because he has experience there and started his career there.
How has the defensive line dealt with the loss of so many players?
Yeah I mean that is our whole mindset on the D-line and the season. I mean we lost a couple of guys before the season started; we had to say alright we have to keep moving on with what we have done – with what we have we have won three football games. You hate to see them go and love to have them around and on the field but you have to let them go and keep playing.
How would you rate the play of the defense through the first three games of the season?
I think we have played pretty well - our goal each game is not to let a 100-yard rusher each game and we have given that up yet so we are proud of that, and another goal is for a shutout and we have not done that yet so that is a goal for the upcoming games.
Was there any point after your injury that you doubted yourself in return to the field?
You always question yourself, but I never doubted that I would be able to make it back and play at a high level. I ask the doctors as soon as I got injured 'will I be able to come back from this and he said, Yes, don't worry about it. I went to rehab, that was arduous in itself, but rehab is something that if you work hard enough at it that you will be able to come back stronger and I think I did that.