Penn State Q&A: Cam Brown on his work inside, Micah Parsons quick twitch, and more
Penn State defensive Brent Pry talks with linebacker Cam Brown following practice on Oct. 4, 2017. Joe Hermitt | firstname.lastname@example.org
Cam Brown arrived at Penn State ahead of the 2016 season as a four-star recruit with high expectations.
He’s missed just two outings since.
Twenty-five games, 64 tackles, and two starts later, the now junior is hoping that 2018 will be his best season yet, and he’s aiming for it while learning a new position: Middle linebacker.
“I have to get a little bit more vocal, but other than that I feel pretty good,” Brown said on Tuesday.
He’s also worked at weak side linebacker and strong side this spring as defensive coordinator and position coach Brent Pry works to find a replacement(s) for the dynamic duo of Jason Cabinda and Brandon Smith that have manned the position for the last couple of seasons. Hey may not be the prototypical size to man the middle at 6-foot-5, 222 pounds, but Brown has picked up on keys from playing behind Cabinda and has worked in lock step with Pry this spring.
“I was kind of expecting it,” Brown said of the extended work at a new spot. “We talked about it, just wondering who would be the MIKE, and we didn’t have an ideal MIKE.
“I was willing to play everything, and Coach Pry, he’s guided me very well and along the way, he was talking to me and made sure I know the whole scheme of the defense, and made sure I understand everything that’s going on.”
Brown was speaking on a conference call with the media on Tuesday. Other highlights included:
How he’s taking on communicating with other defenders
“I wouldn’t say it comes naturally. I used to talk it out on the field, and making sure everyone has the calls, so making the call and ID’ing the defense, it’s been a challenge in spring ball. When I am in there, I do feel like having some of the older guys in the lineup, especially on the d-line, helps.”
On the attitude of the defense as it works to replace numerous starters
“We have more of a competitive spirit in the defensive room this year. I didn’t really expect that. The young guys are coming in with fight and want to fight for a starting position. Everybody has a little bit more grit on them.”
On his impressions of January enrollee Micah Parsons
“He’s a heck of an athlete. He’s really athletic, he plays fast, I feel like he’ll be a great pass rusher, and right now, he’s raw, he’s still learning and picking up on things, and getting comfortable, but I feel like he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future if not this fall coming up.
“The most impressive part, I would say, is his pass rush. He fast, he’s quick-twitch, and his natural instinct is one of the things that stands out to me. He just finds the ball. He drifts to the ball and finds a way to make a play.”
And what did Brown learn from Cabinda?
“I learned his confidence, and knowing what your job is. If you’re confident in your call, and someone isn’t confident in theirs, they’ll follow you.”
Penn State is set for the Blue-White game, its spring practice finale, on Saturday at 3 p.m. inside Beaver Stadium. Big Ten Network will air the game, and gates will open at 1:30 p.m.
Blue-White 2018: Previewing Penn State’s spring game on defense