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Penn State coach, athletic director address tree-tackling video

5/20/2015
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Penn State DT tackles tree

Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel takes down a tree.

Penn State's football coach and athletic director both said Wednesday they shared the same reaction upon watching the now-viral video of Anthony Zettel tackling -- and taking down -- a tree: What on earth was he thinking?

"It's not something you feel great about as a coach, watching your All-American D-tackle throw his shoulder into a tree," James Franklin told fans during a stop on the Penn State Coaches Caravan, a speaking tour of sorts.

Franklin added, joking, according to FightOnState: "He comes from a town in Michigan that only has one stoplight, so there's obviously not a lot to do."

Zettel's friend and teammate, linebacker Jordan Dudas, posted the video on Instagram over the weekend. And it simply took off from there, becoming the talk around Happy Valley and even making appearances on national TV shows such as ESPN's "Around the Horn."

As a result, the video was a bit difficult to miss. Athletic director Sandy Barbour admitted as much during a stop Wednesday evening in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

"My reaction, not unlike anyone inside Penn State athletics, was, 'Oh my God, I hope he didn't hurt himself,'" Barbour told a group of reporters. "First and foremost, I want our kids to be safe and do no harm. So that's what comes to mind first for me."

Barbour stifled a laugh when one reporter asked if she ever expected to be fielding questions about tree-tackling.

"I did not," she said. "Although you're probably aware of my days at Cal, I did have other tree issues. I would like to tackle some trees -- actually, I could've used Anthony. Those trees were a little more robust."

Needless to say, it appears as if Zettel's tree-tackling days are over. But at least we'll always have this.

"That's what also makes Anthony Zettel a great football player," Franklin said. "He's a little strange."