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Penn State Football: Spencer Ready To Fill His Own Shoes Coaching Defensive Line

by on January 26, 2014 12:00 PM

Penn State's new defensive line coach Sean Spencer knows the kind of shoes he's filling -- the shoes of a coach who spent 18 years at Penn State becoming one of the nation's most respected coaches and recruiters.

Nothing about that act is easy to follow, but Spencer isn't trying to one-up Larry Johnson, he's trying to be the best Sean Spencer he can be.

"You pay homage and respect to the people who came before you," Spencer said this week. "Larry Johnson did a lot to pave the way for African-American coaches and for me to be in this situation that I'm in today I have great respect for who he is."

"But I also have great confidence in who I am. People talk about big shoes to fill, I have to fill my own shoes."

Coach Chaos as he is called by his players and coaches, is about as high energy as they come. Spencer has an infectious booming personality that is in many ways a reflection of what he wants his defensive lines to be -- an aggressive, never ending wall of effort, energy, and attack. Every defensive coach promises aggression and excitement, but it's hard to imagine Spencer won't make good on his word. 

"I always tell the kids this, that they can't match my intensity," Spencer says smiling. "Everyday I want them to go out on the practice field and just try to match my intensity."

Like many of the coaches on Penn State's staff, Spencer expresses genuine amazement when talking about his new position. For Spencer, a Clarion University graduate who started his coaching career at Shippensburg, everything is still a little too good to be true.

"I was talking to coach Franklin just the other day," Spencer sayd. "I was laughing and like 'You're the head coach at Penn State!' and he laughed and was like 'You're the defensive line coach at Penn State!' and we both just laughed it off. It's really just kind of surreal at times."

Spencer will soon find himself at spring practice -- his first chance to really get to know the players. From using a pay phone to call recruits' coaches while coaching at small schools, to recruiting with a 107,000 seat stadium at his back, Spencer has seen it all.

"It's just amazing, I can't wait to get going." He says, grinning from ear to ear.

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