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October 8, 2019

Micah Parsons

University Park, Pennsylvania

Q. Micah, just asked Will the same question. We heard from Franklin, he issued a pretty passionate statement about the letter sent to Jonathan Sutherland. Not going to ask you to go through that whole thing, but do you feel like this has brought the locker room closer and carried it forward emotionally, the breathe hoods he?
MICAH PARSONS: Sure, you can look at it that way. People feel differently about it. It's one of them things that it is what it is. People want to always have an opinion about someone. But in the locker room, I think this we all been pretty tight together, and if Jonathan is going through it emotionally, we'll carry him throughout the whole time and making sure he's okay and things like that.

Yeah, we're just going to come together even more and just be the brotherhood that we are.

Q. From a football perspective, when you watched the film on Sunday, was it pleasing to see that performance? I know you were excited after the game but when you got a chance to further review it, did it look at dominant as it felt on Saturday, and where is the pride for your defense right now?
MICAH PARSONS: Yeah, I mean, Purdue is a great team and I think the way we came out and played as excellent.

When you really saw Shaka Toney on film, he had dirt coming off his cleats after almost every sack he had, so that was like impressive. The way our D-line dominated up front, been dominant all year. It's really special to see where we're going right now.

Q. When your coach after the game says you're playing championship level defense, what confidence does that give you?
MICAH PARSONS: It gives you confidence, when you are someone like Coach like that believes you, especially a players' coach like Coach Franklin and Coach Pry are, the way they back us up and make sure we keep improving every day, every week, it's impressive, really.

Q. How much do you look forward to playing places you've never been before?
MICAH PARSONS: I look forward to it. Someone asked me, one of you guys said, "Where is the best place you play?" I would say Beaver Stadium.

I hear Iowa is one of the best in the country, so I'm looking forward to really experiencing it. From what the guys said when they went out there, comeback, last drive victory, they said it was nuts. So I can't wait to experience it.

Q. You guys right now are ranked No. 1 nationally in sacks per game. Curious if you are aware of that, and even if you're not, what type of pride do you guys take in being No. 1 right now in the nation?
MICAH PARSONS: As returning from leading the country in sacks last year, it's obviously a high expectation. I wasn't aware of that. But now that I know, you know, we pride ourselves in rushing the quarterback. Those D-linemen do almost every day in practice, practicing and we got guys like Yetur and Shaka, it's like, no wonder. Those guys are impressive as hell, and they push me to get better, even every time I go up to rush -- they help me get better.

When you have guys like that and guys in the D-tackle position that keep striving to get better, you're looking to say -- I wouldn't doubt that.

Q. You said that Shaka and Yetur both impressed you. What impresses you most about those two guys what makes them such good defensive ends?
MICAH PARSONS: The crazy part is they are just so different. Yetur, he really knows how to use his hands well and body position. I was like, "Yo, Ye, how did you do that?" Like one day he made this really nice move.

He's like, "I keep my hands so tight to my body make sure they don't let them touch me."

And Shaka, he's always like, "You've just got to really get off the ball and really get him off his heels," and things like that. They have got two different skills and I think it causes a lot of trouble foremost offensive lineman.

Q. Coach Lorig keeps talking about you returning kicks. Are you getting closer to getting that opportunity?
MICAH PARSONS: Yeah, I think I'm getting close. Coach Lorig is just making sure I'm ready. I practice every week. I'm just going to keep getting better with Ja'Juan, how to fit in the scheme, and one day, something happens, get in the game and get my kick returns. Live the dream.

Q. Where do you think you can still improve? From a linebacker perspective, you're still pretty young. Are there specific areas where you look at tape and think, I could get better here, here and here?
MICAH PARSONS: Yeah, I think Coach Pry does a good job at doing that for me, teaming me where to get better at. He knows that I'm really talented and I play a good game, but he always critiques me not on the things I do well but on the things I do wrong. Keep going on my fundamentals: Pads drops, keep practicing my run reads, stop being a reactional players and start doing -- realizing every action, that's when you become a great player instead of a good player. Just things like that and just doing my film study.

Q. Can you explain that reaction stuff?
MICAH PARSONS: Yeah, so right now, I would say I'm like you 60 percent or 70 percent reactive. That means I'm going off what I see on the field. That means like I see something and I react on it, like my instincts and things like that. Then he's talking about being a realizing player, like seeing the formations and seeing your keys and your reads. That's why you're doing it. So when you do that with your instincts, that's when I'll be a great player.

Q. James mentioned last week how in the middle, Ellis and Jan are splitting the reps 50/50. What do they bring to the table and how beneficial to have two guys in the middle that you have a lot of confidence in?
MICAH PARSONS: I just think Jan, he's an overall great player. Really student of the game. He's obviously the smartest linebacker I ever met and smartest in the room. So he brings in that recognization -- recognition, and helps me on the field, also. If I don't see something, then he'll help me out.

And I think Ellis, he just brings a little bit more speed, a little bit more pass rush in the game. Obviously a guy who gets a lot of sacks. They are just two different players, but I think they both bring a piece of the game where it benefits us and either way, whoever is in, and I think that's really what matters.

Q. What have you heard about these pink locker rooms? And if you were to build an imposing stadium and do something strange or different to get into the head of the opposing team, do you have any ideas?
MICAH PARSONS: I don't know man. I never thought of something like that before. I'd say put in ants or something in the room. Some bugs. I get creeped out by bugs.

Q. We've heard a lot about Adisa Isaac and we're seeing more and more of him. What's impressed you about him so far?
MICAH PARSONS: I would say his motor, like as a young guy, you always tell him, even if you don't know what you're doing, just go 100 percent, and I think that he embodies that and really, even since camp, if he missed up, I remember I saw this one play -- and I started calling him afterwards. Because he was supposed to take the quarterback, and he came inside, and I saw him took off full speed trying to recover. I said, I already know you messed up. He said, "Yeah, I tried to catch him."

I said, "I know, Bro." He goes 100 percent every time he's out there and that's the most important when you got somebody that really doesn't know what they are doing but kind of know what is they are doing and goes 100 percent, he will end up making himself right and make a play.

That's what I did last year for a good part of the year, and I think has he keeps growing and gets more playing time, he'll be a good player for us this year and next year.

Q. How do you think it went last week with HBO?
MICAH PARSONS: I think that we did a good job. No one tried to act too different in front of the cameras. It's something different. I hope it shows the true definition of what Penn State is and who we are as a team and how our brotherhood will be shown to the world.

Q. During your recruitment, you talked about teams coming at you, both sides of the ball -- last year Franklin said you were trying to play running back for him, and now we are hearing about kickoff return. Are you antsy to get the football back in your hands? Does it feel like football is not complete for you because you're not getting the ball a little bit?
MICAH PARSONS: It's still complete, because as long as I'm able to play and do what I love, I still feel happy about it.

But yeah, I'm definitely real itchy to get the ball. I just want one. If I can just get one carry or one kickoff return. I'll be happy. I won't ask again. Every time I hear third and one, this time they could throw me in there, get us one yard -- once that day comes, I'll never ask again.

Q. So maybe goal line back, too?
MICAH PARSONS: Yeah, goal line, I could definitely get goal line package speed. I could block, too, if I need to block.

Q. Will Levis told us you were battling over the same touchdown celebration and he beat you to the end zone and got to use it.
MICAH PARSONS: Yeah, that was real foul. (Laughter) I initially started the celebration. He added the throwing thing. I was like, but you can't steal my celebration. The way he did it, that was real wrong of him, but I'm going to use it anyway. We're just going to see who does it better.

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