Checking in with ... Penn State's Daryll Clark

July, 31, 2009
7/31/09
10:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

CHICAGO -- Penn State senior quarterback Daryll Clark quickly has become one of my favorite Big Ten players to interview, and I'm not alone. Clark spent most of Big Ten media days with a throng of reporters around him, listening to his insightful responses. I squeezed in a few questions with Clark during Tuesday's media frenzy.

 
  AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
  Daryll Clark admits he's going to have to play smarter to remain on the field this season.

Take a look.

It seems like a lot of starting quarterbacks in this league are back. You're in your second year, Terrelle Pryor's in his second year, Juice [Williams], [Ricky] Stanzi has played a lot. Will that be a stronger position?

Daryll Clark: Each and every quarterback in this conference is very excited to get the season going. I know for a fact I am. It's another chance to go out and try to prove some people wrong. We have a lot of questions around us about being inexperienced. No wideouts, no offensive line. It all starts in preseason camp. All the positions fall into place then, and we kick it off September 5th.

Will you do different things to protect yourself this year with a younger line? Do you have to have a faster clock in your head to get rid of the ball, or do you expect to be running less?

DC: I don't really think they're going to adjust the playbook or anything. I just have to be a lot smarter. I have to play like a veteran. Sometimes, you have to live to fight another down. Sometimes, you don't have to lower the shoulder. Sometimes, you have to slide and sometimes, you have to step out of bounds. I really have to watch the concussions. [Last year] was my third one. I just have to be able to carry the ball and remain durable for the whole season.

How scary is that with the three concussions? You're still a young man. You know the statistics with concussions.

DC: It's kind of scary. Concussion, it's not fun, and it's tough to recover from. And also, it depends on how severe it is. Mine was a pretty bad one [last season] at Ohio State. You just be careful out there. You don't play timid like, 'Oh, don't do this.' You don't want to be too nervous where it takes away your game. Play your game, but just be smart out there.

Is that hard for you to change that, to slide more or go out of bounds more?

DC: I don't know how tough it's going to be until I get that live contact and see how it's going to be for us. I have a feeling it's going to take some adjustments.

Jay Paterno was saying how you're bringing [freshman quarterback] Kevin [Newsome] along, and he described it like Sanford and Son. Would you agree with that assessment?

DC: [Laughs] Yeah, because he's a jokester and sometimes I've got to bring him down and make sure he's staying on the task and focused because he's a guy we need to grow and mature faster than everyone else, with him being the next guy in line. He just has to stay focused on the task. He's coming along very well. He's watching film with me and he's asking tons of questions, which is a great sign for a young quarterback. God forbid, I get hurt, but if he goes in, we'll definitely be fine.

Is that exciting for you as an older guy to have that situation where you can bring along a freshman like that?

DC: Yeah, any time you have a lot of experience or some advice that he doesn't know, you share it. You share it to help him out with everything possible because he's a great talent. He's going to be a really good quarterback. His future is very promising at Penn State.

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