One of Penn State’s best football players is spending his summer working in the realm of a different sport.
When he’s not working out, middle linebacker Glenn Carson is enjoying a marketing internship with the State College Spikes.
“I got my degree in advertising, so I’m just building up the resume a bit,” said Carson Wednesday afternoon at Big Ten Media Days. “I do a lot of promotions and stuff like that. It’s been really fun.”
Some of Carson’s specific tasks include handing out tickets and pocket schedules to fans and working to foster a relationship between the State College community and the minor league baseball team.
“The Spikes do some cross promotion with elementary schools to work on recycling projects, so I’ve helped out with that too,” Carson said. “I did a lot of group work during it, which is similar to football, so in a way I used football as a way to help me through my internship.”
A well-rounded summer is a welcome change for the graduate student compared to the various distractions last year as part of the fallout from the NCAA sanctions.
“We did the best we could to not let it be a distraction, but it’s really hard,” Carson said. “It was tough on us.”
Now, after a successful 8-4 season, very few player transfers, and a solid recruiting class, Carson and his teammates can focus on the task at hand.
“The smoke has cleared. The media isn’t hounding us anymore. It’s really enjoyable and manageable to just pay attention to football,” Carson said “We’re like any other team now. Our motivation is Syracuse. We get to concentrate on our opener and don’t have to worry about anything else.”
Firmly out of the shadow of Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, Carson knows it’s time to be a leader for younger players on defense, but he insists his teammates are making it easy.
“They’re putting their head down and going to work. I don’t have to push them to do extra 7-on-7s. No one is quitting. Everyone is getting through the drill no matter how hard it is.”
Coming off a season with 85 tackles and three tackles for loss, Carson is primed for a big senior year, but there’s room for improvement.
Despite the high number of tackles, Carson did not register any takeaways and only recorded one sack.
“I’m not really a stat guy. You can definitely see how I progressed on field. I’m a veteran out there,” Carson said. “It’s my turn to take it over as a leader and be an alpha male out there.”
Put the stats aside, and there are still situations where he knows he can contribute more on defense.
In 2012, he was often replaced by linebacker Mike Hull in obvious third down passing situations, but the Nittany Lions may not have that luxury this year with less depth at the position.
Even if they do, Carson doesn’t care.
“I want to be on the field as long as I can. I want to be out there when the other team’s down by [a touchdown], the crowd’s on their feet going nuts, and we’re not going to let them score,” he said.
While Carson often flew under the radar in seasons prior with more decorative linebackers getting the spotlight, Bill O’Brien has always insisted that wasn’t the case inside Lasch Building. That was no different today.
“Glenn is certainly a guy you would describe as high-character guy, very intense, heart and soul type of guy,” said O’Brien during his session with the media. “Glenn’s not a real rah-rah guy. Glenn is very serious about his position as the middle linebacker at Penn State.”
“He was a leader last year. He’s a leader right now, and we’re looking forward to him having a really good year for us.”
O’Brien then delivered perhaps his highest praise of all, calling Carson the quintessential Penn State football player and an embodiment of what being a linebacker is all about.
How does that make Carson feel?
“I don’t think there’s a greater compliment I can receive.”