Checking in with ... Tom Bradley, Part II

June, 17, 2009
6/17/09
1:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Here's the second half of my interview with Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. If you missed it, check out Part I

Navorro Bowman had such a big year last season when Sean [Lee] was out. Is building chemistry a key thing for them, just being on the field together for contact, or is that not a concern?

Tom Bradley: Sean doesn't care where he plays, which makes it easy. Navorro doesn't care where he plays. None of them have egos. They could care less. It's just, 'Just tell me what to do.' I remember when we moved Paul [Posluszny] a couple years ago. They said, 'Oh, geez, you're moving the Butkus [Award] winner and all this. How'd that go?' I said, 'It took two minutes.' I told him, 'Here's what we're doing.' And he said, 'I want to help the team. Good. See ya.' So it's the same with Sean and Navorro, which makes it nice. We've got three linebacker positions and they'll play any one of them. It gives us some flexibility.

Navorro has had some setbacks personally in the last few years. Do you feel OK about where he's at heading into the summer? 

TB: I'm not worried about him. He'll be fine. He's grown up a lot, he's been through a lot. No one would be a better person for it. 

With Jared [Odrick] in the middle of the defensive line, how good can he be? Is there anyone he reminds you of with his ability to stuff the run?

TB: He's one of the best three-technique tackles in the country. People forget he can play a five technique, he could play defensive end. He could do just about anything.

Coach [Joe] Paterno expressed some concern about the secondary this spring with all the young guys back there. Where's your confidence level with those guys? Is it still a wait-and-see thing?

TB: [Drew] Astorino and A.J. Wallace have both played. They've been in games, so we're going to have to count on those guys to really be guys that can start right away and step up. We've got to develop some chemistry back there quickly. We've gone through this before a few years ago, where we just didn't have anybody, all new starters. It's always interesting. Thanks for ruining my nice summer day [laughs]. 

It seems like Drew wants to be a leader back there. 

TB: Has there ever been a kid in the history of sports who had a better high school senior year? My man scores the touchdown to win the state championship in football, and with two seconds on the clock, he makes a shot to win the state championship in basketball. The guy's living the life, huh? 

I know you can't talk specifics, but how encouraged are you with the start to recruiting for 2010? Penn State has had a lot of success, especially within the state. Have you guys changed the strategy at all?

TB: Every year's different in recruiting. The thing that's so misconstrued, is if you have 10 great linebacker prospects within your state but you aren't recruiting linebackers, you're not going to take 'em. It's what your needs are. Sometimes you can't recruit a kid because maybe it's an academic thing or maybe it's something else you know about the person. There's a million different things. Sometimes it falls into place. Everybody makes such a gigantic deal about numbers and this and that. This year, there were people we wanted in our state. 

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