New Penn State co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Anthony Poindexter is — as one might expect — excited to tackle his role on James Franklin’s coaching staff.
But like everyone else who has joined the parade of new faces entering the program over the past several weeks, he’s also excited to see what he has to work with. And as spring practice sits just a few days away, slated to begin on March 15, he won’t have to wait much longer.
So in the meanwhile, until the pads are on and players are flying around on the field and putting practice sessions on tape, there’s only much Poindexter can say. Seeing is believing after all.
That aside Poindexter knows what he’s looking for in a player and is grateful to see those traits among the players already in the position group.
“I’m just looking at these kids, and they love to work and are willing to get coached, and they love their teammates,” Poindexter said. “They want to be on the Penn State football team. So, when I add all that stuff up, it’s gonna be hard not to have a good group.”
Poindexter – who hails most recently from Purdue’s coaching staff- also isn’t short on talent to work with either. Penn State will be led by returning safety Jaquan Brisker as well as longtime Nittany Lion Jonathan Sutherland with plenty of talented up and coming prospects behind them such as Ji’Ayir Brown, Tyler Rudolph and Enzo Jennings.
“I’m going to emphasize trying to get the ball,” Poindexter said, Penn State with just four interceptions during the nine-game 2020 season [five if you count a Brisker interception that he fumbled during the return], 10 in 2019 good enough for 61st in the nation. “When the opportunity comes, you got to make the play, and that’s why I want them to play free.
“I’m not saying you gamble, but you can practice a certain way that, in the game, if that play presents itself, [you are] going to make it.”
As Penn State looks to bounce back from a turnover heavy 2020 and reestablish the Nittany Lions as a defense to be taken seriously, Poindexter’s quest to create more turnovers could go a long way towards that goal.
Then again, the number of coverage position coaches who don’t want to force turnovers has to be close to zero.