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Penn State Football: Herb Hands Takes On All Questions During Reddit AMA

by on March 08, 2014 8:00 AM

It's safe to say times have changed for the Penn State football program.

Herb Hand, Penn State's offensive line coach, whose fame is skyrocketing, took to the internet for a Q&A on Friday on the popular Reddit website. Answering questions under the AMA format (Ask Me Anything) Hand didn't shy away from any question for nearly an hour. While some questions ranged from serious to Hand's favorite place to eat, it was nothing short of entertaining.

The full AMA can be read here, but these are just a few of the highlights.

Reddit User: What have you found to be the biggest difference between SEC culture and B1G culture to be so far?

Herb Hand: There's really not a difference - guys work hard and take pride in what they can bring to the table ... They want to win and have been willing to work so that's really what you are looking for out of your team.

RU: Favorite pizza in state college thus far?

HH: Faccia Luna - little pricey but very good.

RU: What are the biggest challenges to overcome with the NCAA imposed sanctions? For example, will the amount of physical contact in practice be limited due to roster depth? Will it be harder to pitch to high school kids to come there with no postseason?

Roster limitations make us thin in spots - it's one of those 'It is what it is" type things because our opponents don't care and so we can't look at it as an obstacle, we need individuals to embrace it as opportunity. Prospects have been very receptive to what we have to offer here at Penn State so that's really been a non-factor thus far.

RU: Thanks for choosing Penn State, coach. I didn't know what the future would hold following O'Brien's departure, but I have a feeling we're in good hands after the first impression you and the rest of your staff has made so far. Anyway ... what is one thing you heard about Penn State/Happy Valley/the fans/anything prior to accepting the job that you realized was dead wrong after arriving here? Thanks, coach.

HH: I'm originally from the Northeast (Westmoreland NY) and hadn't heard many negative things about the area etc - I was fully aware of snow before taking the job.

RU: Do you ever wish you had a Coach Foot on your staff so you could make jokes about it?

HH: I went to elementary school with a guy named Billy Foote...

RU: If you had the starting OL over for dinner, what would your go-to recipe be for feeding a big group of big guys?

HH: I'm big on grilling Ribeyes when I have the guys over - that's probably my favorite cut of beef. My twice baked potatoes pretty much kick ass as well.

RU: What is the most difficult thing to evaluate in a HS OL? Alternatively what is your favorite thing to coach to them once they get on campus? What makes you watch tape and say "damn I'm proud he's doing this well?"

Mental toughness.

Communication and understanding of how his 1/11th fits within the confines of the offense while also taking into consideration the structure and scheme of the defense we are facing. We want to equip guys with tools to solve problems and when they start solving them that is a real "Ahhh Haaa" moment.

RU: I think it'd be awesome if you could share some insight into your transition from Vandy to Penn State. You seemed to be one of the only coaches to continue fighting for Vandy's class when everyone was flipping to Penn State. Did you know at that point that you would also make the move, but feel you owed it to Vandy? Was it just the right thing to do?

HH: In the interim between James and Coach Mason, I continued working for Vanderbilt because a) I was going to interview for the head coaching position and b) I was still on their payroll. Once those factors changed, my direction changed as well.

RU: Why do you think there aren't more coaches who have such a great Twitter presence like you do? What advantages do you think it gives you as a coach or recruiter? How do your players feel about your involvement on the site?

HH: I think more guys are embracing social media in general because they recognize the power it has and that if they don't they are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage ... as to your last question, they bust my chops about it a little but I think they enjoy my Twitter OG-ness ... especially when I drop a vine of them destroying their opponent.

RU: In your experience, what have you found as the best way for a coach to get the most of his players? I ask this as an aspiring coach, so any other advice you'd have and be willing to share for someone new to the profession would be greatly appreciated.

HH: Relationships - No player cares how much you know til they know how much you care about them ... I believe this coaching axiom and try to live it everyday.

RU: Whats one ideal/philosophy of yours that you are looking to impart on the Oline at Penn State and why?

HH: We will win by outworking and out-executing our opponents -- is talent important? Absolutely. But we will win because we are tough, smart and prepared (to quote the great John Donovan)

Hey Coach, what is one thing that you can offer/pitch a potential recruit about Penn State that no other school can?


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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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