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October 4, 2016

Jordan Smith

DeAndre Thompkins

University Park, Pennsylvania

Q. Jordan, Coach said that you gave the pregame speech in the hotel on Friday, really pumped the team up. I know some of that was personal but is there any part you can tell us?
JORDAN SMITH: I just told the guys that the main thing that we want to do this weekend is go out here and get a win, and that would be the most important thing.

Q. Why was that so important to you to share that with your teammates?
JORDAN SMITH: Because I love those guys. I love my teammates. My teammates, they mean the world to me. They are such a great group of guys. I don't know where I would be without them honestly, just like from the talks that me and my teammates have to the times we share, the moments, the experiences, they are amazing. They are the ones that make the Penn State experience so amazing.

Q. Is there anything that any of them has taught you specifically that you're able to share?
JORDAN SMITH: Yeah, a lot of them have taught me to laugh even through the tough times. Laugh and smile even through the tough times.

Q. Can you share your recruiting story? You're an upper classman, who recruited you, what made you decide to come here?
JORDAN SMITH: Coach Bill O'Brien recruited me back in 2012, 2013. I ended up enrolling early and the rest is history I guess.

Q. On the bond that you guys share as teammates, do you think that's gotten bigger, stronger, based on some of the stuff you guys have been through as a team early this season, losing so many guys and some of the emotional-type things like that?
JORDAN SMITH: I like to think that our bond was very strong even before all the adversity that we had to overcome. We just gel so well, all of us. We all just all get along so well. Yeah, probably the adversity doesn't really affect our bond.

Q. Just curious what OB would have talked to you about. What did they sell you on, because obviously that was a tough time. What did he talk to you about and what was that whole process like to get you to come?
JORDAN SMITH: Well, Coach O'Brien, he was very honest with me throughout the recruiting process. You know, he told me that the main thing that he wants to stress to me is that I'm going to come to this university and graduate. He made that an emphasis, a point of emphasis. I thank him for that.

You know, he didn't come into my home and tell me that I'm going to be this; he's going to get me here. No, he was very honest and very open with me and told me that the one thing that we're going to focus on is you graduating, and your play is going to speak for itself.

Q. Did he have to do hard selling?
JORDAN SMITH: No, he didn't have to do hard selling at all. I already knew about Penn State's program, the alumni, the university, the campus, so much from Stephon Morris, just working out around him and things like that back in the Washington, D.C. area.

Q. Obviously we've seen all the injuries that you guys have had this season. A guy like Grant, we've seen him on the headset earlier this year. How has he helped with you your development or who do you credit with helping you so far this year?
JORDAN SMITH: You know, Grant is my little brother, but I would say that all my development comes from Roman Morris, Stephon Morris's father. Him and Troy Vincent, Senior taught me everything I know before I got here. Just the talks and criticism that they give me throughout the year, throughout the seasons that have passed, has helped me grow up.

Q. What was their critique on you on Saturday?
JORDAN SMITH: They told me I did -- they are coaches still at the end of the day, so they try to pick out some things that they thought I could have done better, as well. But they told me I played really well.

Q. I see you're from the DMV and I know you and Marcus Allen go way back. Can you describe the relationship you guys have with the Maryland team and how it's different?
JORDAN SMITH: Like you say, me and Marcus are both from the same area. Worked out together for probably like three years before we came up here.

And we do know a lot of guys on the Maryland team. It's going to make the game that much more fun. But it's also another opportunity for us to come out here and play together as a team and look forward to get a win.

Q. What was Marcus like back when you knew him? Because we see like a super high-energy guy. Was he always like that?
JORDAN SMITH: Oh, yeah, that's him. That's Marcus to the t. Marcus is a fun guy. He keeps us laughing and keeps us going. He keeps the energy in the room. Keeps us light in the room, as well. He's great to be around. I love him. I love that boy.

Q. Same guy on the field then that we see?
JORDAN SMITH: Oh, yeah. He's the same guy on the field.

Q. What is your one funniest memory of Marcus Allen from the time you've known him?
JORDAN SMITH: I would say all the dancing moments. Every time he dance, it's hilarious. He loves that. He loves dancing. He loves making guys laugh. I think that's the best quality about him. He always looking to put a smile on someone's face and things like that.

Q. Trace McSorley has quickly developed into one of the quarterbacks that's among the best in the nation in comeback situations. Does that speak to his personality at all; he's kind of clutch like that? Or what do you see in third quarters from him, especially through five games this year?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: Mostly his composure. As a team, you know, we work on it every day in practice. He's one of those guys that just takes that situation and runs with it no matter what the time is, the points, who we are playing, it doesn't matter. He stays in the moment, does the best he can and try to eliminate his mistakes. That carries on to the field obviously.

Q. What about third quarter adjustments?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: No, that's just a great credit to our coaching staff, how well they communicate to Trace and how well their relationship is. He understands Coach Moorhead and what he wants in the offense, and I think that goes with the coaching staff and their relationship with him and Trace.

Q. I was going to ask what Trace is like in the huddle, but you guys don't huddle, so that's kind of a dumb question. (Laughter) on the sideline before you're coming out when you're kind of getting together before the drive starts, what's he like in that scenario?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: He's really calm. He just wants the most information he has to go into the drive and be successful. He demands a lot out of us. And one thing he asks us from every drive is just go out there and play hard. He's the kind of guy that like I said earlier, takes the reigns and runs with it.

Q. Did he have anything specific to say when you guys were going out there to try to force that overtime on Saturday?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: Not really. We deal with it every day in practice. We hear from him every day in practice but mostly just go out there and play hard and believe that you can win.

Q. Coach was trying to explain to us about the slow starts and he's trying to put his finger on it. Is there anything that you think, any reason as to why it takes you guys awhile to get going, anything you think is the reason?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: I just think it's the adjustments. We go out there, we have our plan, and sometimes the plan doesn't work out quite as well. And then we've got to work on our adjustments. And also mostly it's just execution. Guys got to do their job the best way they can, and you know, to have the play be successful every play.

Q. Mike Gesicki had said after the game that he feels you're a momentum-based offense. Would you agree with that? Is it a momentum thing?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: I think every team is a momentum offense. You know, whenever your crowd or your team is at a higher level than it was coming into the game, you just feed off that. So I don't think it's just us solely. I think that's every offense. But you know, we just need off of it differently than a lot of other teams do.

Q. Going off Travis's question, James has said he's not really a big locker room, pump-up speech guy and Trace is pretty calm. Is there someone that you guys look to when you need to be pumped up? Is there someone that gives speeches in the locker room that got you guys going?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: Yeah, Moorhead is a guy who has endless quotes. I think he has a library in his head of just quotes he can pull out no matter what. He's a fiery-type guy, high-energy, and he feeds off of us. Although we don't -- Coach Franklin doesn't give us like a pep talk like right before we go out. But you can always count on Moorhead to put a spark on everybody to get ready and go out and play.

Q. Any quotes you remember in particular?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: Me and Moorhead have this little thing that we go on, that we come at each other with a quote every Thursday. So we have endless quotes that we go back and forth.

Q. You just tell them to each other or text each other?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: Yeah, I'll just come into the meeting and he'll have a quote and I'll have a quote and we'll see how well each other prepared.

Q. So who won the quote battle last week?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: I did obviously. I don't lose (Laughter).

Q. You've caught four balls this year that have Bonny over 20 yards in the air, that's tied for the most in the Big Ten. Can you explain the art of catching the deep ball, how different is it, have you always been good at that even in high school, and were you aware that you caught that many balls over 20 yards.
I wasn't aware, honestly. But coming into college, contested catches, deep catches, was kind of a thing that I needed to work on. So I worked on it relentlessly and obviously it's paying off.

Mostly the whole thing is just focus and being in the moment and not, you know, trying to freak out when the ball comes your way. Just know that you prepared the whole week for this; your time has come, and you have the time to capitalize on it.

So whether you go out there and freak out or you go in there and rely on your training that you've worked so hard for each and every day, and I pride myself on that and so does a lot of other receivers do.

Q. Did you freak out?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: I just feel uncomfortable. Like I was a smaller guy, so going against bigger DBs when the ball was in the air, I'm like already at a disadvantage so what do I do. Now it's more of a mentality thing. I know no matter how big the pressure I'm going against, no matter how good they are, in my mind, they still can't stop me from catching the ball. It's more of a mind-set thing and a mentality and a preparation standpoint.

Q. Coach mentioned Saeed is going to be back this Saturday against Maryland. What do you expect your role to be now that he has not played since the opener?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: We all contribute. We have a lot of guys that can factor into the game. Saeed is a part of that. We just have a bunch of guys that can contribute. We have a rotation. We have a bunch of guys that can just come in and fulfill roles that a lot of the other guys can roll into, too.

It's just another guy that's going to come in and be another factor for us, and that's my brother, so you know, I hope he comes in and does just as good a job as he was doing when he left.

Q. Just wondering what Josh had asked you, how a receiver blocks out, concentrate, when the ball in the air? What do you hear? Do you hear the crowd? Do you block out the noise or do you hear the noise as an athlete out there?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: I mean, it's 107,000 people. You can't really block all that out. But I mean, you hear the noise, of course, but you know it's a home game. You're used to it. For the most part, like I said, the preparation over rides everything. So when you're in the game and the ball is in the air, a punt or a deep ball, you've seen that ball get thrown to you all week.

So when the ball is in the air, it's kind of like an I've-already-been-here, I've-already-done-this type mentality. So when the ball is in the air, you don't really freak out because you've seen that look so many times. Only difference is you're in a stadium and not at Lasch Building.

Q. Now that you've admitted that you hear the crowd, have you guys noticed that it's a little different when Joey Julius is about to kick off? Wondering what it's like on the sideline now that this whole thing has kind of snowballed with him I guess.
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: He's just a guy that is a lightning bolt waiting to happen. You know he's going to fly down there. He's not scared of anything. So we all are holding our breath on the sideline just waiting to see what's going to happen, because we know at any point, he could be one of those guys that fly down there and take somebody's helmet off.

So we have noticed the difference as far as the excitement for kickoff. But for the most part as a team, we are excited every time the ball is in the air. So whenever kickoff comes on, we know that something is about to get ready to happen.

Q. I could be wrong but looking through binoculars on Saturday, it looked like after Joey's first tousle with Waters after he got underhooked to the ground that a couple of your teammates looked like they were giving him pointers on hand-fighting to prevent that. Is that something that you guys would do after looking at that on tape to say, hey, here is how you can win those hand-fighting battles if you get caught up and under hooked by a guy who might be a little stronger?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: I mean, it's a game of football, so --

Q. Not a terribly serious question.
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: I know what you mean. Joe doesn't get any reps at Mike linebacker, so it's kind of hard for him to get in that situation and try to out-power some guy that has been playing, has been blocking his whole life, you know what I mean.

So you know, just giving guys pointers at things they have never seen in their life, you know what I mean, and help the guy out, so he's more successful in the play and not being stuck on some guy trying to get off and not knowing how to do.

Q. You guys have some really talented cornerbacks. From your estimation, what makes John so good at what he does read and also what makes Grant so valuable, as well?
DeANDRE THOMPKINS: Those two guys, of course, have very two different techniques. I can say one thing about John is that he's a guy that studies a lot. Watches film, constantly watching every rep. That's one of the guys that I worked with during the off-season and I kind of got that preparation standpoint from him and fed off that.

You know, he's just a guy that he knows what you're going to do before you do it. That's how much film he watches. He knows if you have a certain route, where you're going to be at, what your feet is going to do, what you like to do and what you don't like to do and he's going to eliminate those things that you like to do and what you're well at, and that's one of the things he does very well is pick off what you do very well and try to eliminate that.

Grant is just a freak. The dude, he's athletic, gifted, and he relies on that a lot. But he also has technique. He's worked on that. He's one of the guys that if he gets stuck in a tough situation, his athleticism is going to get him out nine times out of ten, and it's just fun to watch him, when he makes a good play in practice, you can just tell that that he just knew what was going to happen. He was just like, all right, I've got to make this jump or make this interception. He just does it somehow, some way.

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