Penn State Football: Lucas Looking To Lead With Voice And Actions This Season
Intensity. Energy. Agressive. Competitive.
It's a common theme Penn State players use to describe practice under head coach James Franklin. A new energy that keeps you on your toes all practice never knowing what might be next. "We're going to compete in everything we do" Franklin says and that's what his Nittany Lions have tried to bring to the table every day so far this spring.
"I think the intensity in practice and how fast-paced everything is the biggest difference," Cornerback Jordan Lucas said on Thursday. "The drill that makes me feel that way is the Lions' Den. It has everything to do with within a game and nothing to do with the game. It's just competing, and that's what this coaching staff wants us to do, is compete."
The Lion's Den, an aggressive, hard-hitting drill pits offense against defense in a battle that lasts only seconds.
"You have three blockers, offensively and you have three prime disruptors, a running back and a linebacker," Lucas said describing the drill. "The blockers can be offensive linemen, tight ends, or wide receiver, same thing for defense. You're head to head and just smash mouth football and you're playing gap defense. Linebacker comes down and you have to lay a hit on the running back. It's a very physical drill."
For Lucas that kind of drill is a great way for him to show his leadership style. Playing now as more of a marquee fixture on the defense, Lucas is adding his name into the mix of those leading the team. But for the junior defensive back, he wants to lead not only with his actions but with his voice as well.
"That'll fire some guys up," Lucas said of why it's important to be a vocal leader. "Some people just don't get the lead by example thing. When you hear somebody's voice and they're telling you something, then the person goes out there and shows you. That can do a lot. That's the way I learned coming up playing the game."
Unlike many positions on the team, the defensive secondary is actually a place where Penn State will return plenty of talent and experience this coming season. Adrian Amos and Lucas will highlight that unit while the likes of Jesse Della Valle, Da'Quan Davis, and Ryan Keiser will all return as well. That leaves sophomore Malik Golden with plenty of time to develop into yet another defensive threat for coordinator Bob Shoop.
"He's looked great," Lucas said. "Malik showed a lot of flashes last year just doing that much better this spring. He's made a lot of plays on the ball. He had a crazy interception in the scrimmage and ran it back for a pick six. I think the biggest difference from his game last year to now is he's much more physical."