Curtis Cothran (Newtown, Pa./Council Rock North) never wavered from Penn State, and the defensive end recently spoke at length with NittanyNation about his plans for the offseason, his take on Bill O'Brien and how NFL games at the Linc compare to Beaver Stadium.
NittanyNation: You have about six months until you start up at Penn State and start competing for playing time. How often do you think about that, and what kind of motivating factor is it right now?
Curtis Cothran: I think about it a good amount. It's a really good motivator, especially because I could come on as a true freshman and play. Since the season's over, there's nothing else to really think about except trying to play next year, so I'm just trying to lift, and I've been on a steady grind.
I'll just work by myself most of the time. I'll go out lifting with the football trainer -- he does personal stuff with the people who are about to graduate -- and I'm trying to come in about 250, 255. I'm between 230 and 235 right now.
NN: As a commit, what's it been like the past week or two to hear about Bill O'Brien speaking with some NFL teams? Was that a cause for concern or something you really didn't mind?
CC: Yeah, it wasn't something I really worried about. I heard about him talking with teams, but I wasn't too focused on it. The way he was talking to me, he was there to stay a little bit. So I thought he was still going to be there.
I still have the same impression of him. He's always going to be honest with you and he'll always be working hard. He stays true to everything he's going to do. When I went up there, he was really into football and he was an honest guy. Me and my dad talked to him, and he seemed to be all heart. I thought he would stick with it.
NN: It's been a big week for PSU news. Outside of O'Brien, the governor also recently filed a lawsuit against the NCAA to overturn the sanctions. What was your reaction to that?
CC: I mean, I don't pay too much attention to it -- but I'm obviously hopeful to it because we could play in bowl games and recruit more people. But, however it goes, I came in here knowing the consequences. If it's overturned, that's good. But if it doesn't, I'm fine with it.
The thing is that some other teams' bowl games are probably just as big as Penn State's regular games. A lot of players usually want to showcase their talents and be on TV, but it's not like no one's looking at you at Penn State. If anything, people are looking more at Penn State now.
NN: You've remained committed to Penn State through quite a bit. What is it about this school that's attracted you so much, that's caused you to remain so loyal?
CC: I was always a Penn State fan, living in Pennsylvania. Everyone here near Philadelphia has someone in their family that went to Penn State. Nobody really talks about other schools -- except maybe Temple because it's close. Just the atmosphere of the game and people going crazy, I wanted to be a part of that.
NN: I know you've been to quite a few Philadelphia Eagles games -- and you got up to three PSU games this season. How do those two compare in your opinion?
CC: Yeah, I go to them all the time. I never really thought about that. Eagles games are pretty loud as well, especially when our defense is cranked up -- but, that being said, college games do get get louder.
I thought Penn State had the better atmosphere, especially with the student section and everything, with people coming from Altoona and Main. Everybody's rowdy and hyped up. I've never heard a stadium rock so loud, and I've never seen that many people in one place for one purpose. It's crazy.
NN: What's your relationship been like with DL coach Larry Johnson? And what he as he told you he likes from you or what he'd like to see you improve upon?
CC: He tells me he likes my effort and that I'm always trying and being able to get off the ball really fast and doing different things with my hands. But I need to work on flipping my hips and changing directions and basic fundamentals that I haven't learned, and he's going to show me.
It was huge that he stayed because he's been doing this thing since longer than I've been alive, so I've never lacked trust with him. He's going to tell you the truth with what you need to work on, and that's all I could have asked.