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October 6, 2015

Anthony Zettel

University Park, Pennsylvania

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by senior defensive tackle, Anthony Zettel.

Q. Belated condolences. I wondered if you could talk about what it's been like for you.
ANTHONY ZETTEL: Me and my family went through a hard time but I think when you got a group of guys in the locker room like I have and a group of guys at home, family friends that surround me with support, I think that really takes the edge off everything and makes me be able to fight through it and deal with it better.

Q. What was your last time like with your dad, do you mind sharing that? Just some of the proud talk that you guys had, father and son?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I seen him last at Temple, I got to go up and speak with him, and that moment will stay with me forever. Also, I talked to him on the phone Tuesday and also being with him for -- (Away from mic.) Trying to support my mom and sister and everybody. I think it was -- it was good to see him and Coach gave me a lot of leeway to go home and spend time.

Q. (Away from mic.) What was it like to participate and be there?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: It was emotional, it was an emotional, little spurt for me there, but at the same time my dad was -- that's what he would want. When I would come home and he was going through chemo sessions, he would be yelling at me, like, get back to college and go do your thing because sitting here with me, you're not doing anything you want to do and bettering yourself.

I think me not playing that game was not even a question, you know, I'm playing that game no matter what, for him and for my career, too. That's what he would want me to do.

And, like I said, I couldn't have any better support from my teammates and my coaches and then my best friends and stuff, everybody, the community in general. I've gotten thousands of letters and everything from people, and it really shows you the support that Penn State has toward their student-athletes.

Q. That San Diego State game was one of your best. What did it mean to you to come out after your father's passing and have a strong game like that?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I think everybody was on point, I was more focused than I've ever been. I felt like he was with me there every step of the way so it just felt different, and I know every game I play from now on out or whatever I do in life he's going to be with me. (Away from mic.)

Q. How important was it for the coaching staff to give you the time to go back on your free will, how important was that for you to deal with that?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: It was a big relief. I knew these -- I know our coaches, they really care about us and football is such a little part of our life, you know? (Away from mic.) People that we love and care about is the most important thing not just the football game. So when something like that happens, you have to be caring enough, especially when you have 125 guys on the team, there are going to be problems, that's part of life, but I think they were lenient with me, and I still was doing what I had to do with talking to my professors and getting everything situated with academics and also getting caught up on the game schemes and watching film from home, so I think that was huge.

Q. (Away from mic.)
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I drove back both times. The one time I drove back, and then after -- I drove back myself after the Buffalo game I think or -- yeah, the Buffalo game, and then the San Diego State game I drove back with my parents, my mom and my grandparents and my sister and brother.

Q. Last week the physical (Away from mic.) Couple of their touchdown drives the starting line was (Away from mic.)
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I think I have great faith in Coach Spencer's decision to rest us, so we're ready for fourth quarter, so I'm not saying we would have made the play if we were in there, but I think it's obviously a little different sometimes when starters are out, but at the same time I have confidence in the guys that come in, too, so -- we have been in there, too, when people score on us, so it's just part of football. They got a big break-away play, and I feel we can find a way to avoid that next time.

Q. Anthony how has being at Penn State helped you through everything and how much does the rest of your season mean to you?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: Yeah, I think I was looking back, my time at Penn State is slowly coming to an end. I've been here for four or five years and it's amazing to think that I've been here that long and I've played in this stadium for that many times. (Away from mic.) Looking into these next couple of games I want to do this for the Penn State football family, this town, this community, my teammates, my coaches, my family back home, I have a lot to play for and it really makes playing hard every game a lot easier, so I have a lot of passion and stuff for this school and this university.

Q. Can you describe the challenge of having to prepare for a pocket passer and a quarterback who maybe likes to scramble a little bit more and you guys might see both those guys this weekend.
ANTHONY ZETTEL: Yeah, both of them have a certain amount of challenge. I know Paige can sit in the pocket with the ball, he's a very efficient passer, and Diamont, he's very good on his feet, he can make plays, like you seen last week, 80 yards for a touchdown. The kid is an athlete, he's going to set up his offense the best way he can using his feet, so I think as a defensive lineman you have to understand pass rush, lanes and stuff and have an understanding of who is in the game and what you need to do.

So as a defensive end, you're not going to move on a guy that can scramble and lose the edge, you know, so it's little certain things that you have to bring every play depending on who is in.

Q. I was wondering, you said that your teammates and the community was so supportive, is there one moment or one conversation with anyone from the community or from your team that really helped you?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I wouldn't say one moment, I think I've had so many people that have impacted me here at Penn State, whether it's professors, coaches, teammates and anybody in the community. I have had a lot of good people, really good people that just really care about me as a person, not just because I'm a football player, but I try to put myself out there and have conversations with people, just getting to know people.

If you use this platform to your advantage, that's what we can do as student-athletes, and I have tried to do that. I've had so much help that it makes life a lot easier for me, especially -- (Away from mic.)

Q. (Away from mic.)
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I mean, there are so many memories -- the best memory -- I mean, my best moment with my dad, I spoke at his memorial service, and I think the two happiest moments I ever had with him was when he walked -- a couple of months ago when he walked my sister down the aisle; that was special. There was a special vibe in that whole room that you can't match.

And a couple of months ago when I hit the hole-in-one in golf, I think that was just -- to have him there with me was something special, because seeing how excited he was for me and plus him being there was just -- the fact that he just got off a round of chemo, could barely walk, and he's out there golfing 52 is something special. You know, the guy -- there is a lot of good moments.

Q. (Away from mic.)
ANTHONY ZETTEL: Somehow he couldn't hit it far, 170 yards but it would be down the pipe every time, never deviated from the past, so he was a pretty good golfer for his condition.

Q. Indiana's running back, Jordan Howard has more than 700 yards already. They have a high-powered offense, high-tempo offense, I should say. What goes into preparing for a guy like that, and how is it different than last year, preparing for a high-powered running back?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I think if you compare them both, I think they're both relatively same type of running back, I think Coleman had a little more break-away speed, but I think their offensive line is a more veteran group of guys that communicate well, and that might be a big reason for his success, but I think comparing both running backs, they both have a lot to offer.

Q. (Away from mic.) -- close to the family as well but we have seen you as a fun-loving guy, the videos and all that, are you giving yourself time to do fun things as well and if so -- (Away from mic.)
ANTHONY ZETTEL: Yeah, I'm -- I mean, during the season it's a busy time anyway so you've got to stay on pace, try to get eight hours of sleep is a big thing. Whether it's playing video games or sitting there, talking, it makes life easier for me and last night I went to watch the "Black Mass" movie. Just getting out like that it makes it easier for me and it keeps my mind off stuff. Obviously at night it gets -- (Away from mic.)

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Anthony.

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