Jordan Lucas Working Hard To Step Up His Game
After this season’s crushing loss to Central Florida, the center of attention seemed to be the defense’s struggles. Media and fans were calling into question Bill O’Brien’s practice techniques.“Thud tackling” became the buzzword of the week and most of the media’s focus was on how the defense — and more specifically the secondary — was going to bounce back from such a disappointing performance.
They responded in a dramatic fashion, shutting out Kent State. O’Brien thought the defense had one of its stronger performances of the season.
“The defense played a hell of a football game,” he said after the the Kent State victory. “They pitched a shutout, and I think [defensive coordinator] John Butler and the coaches over there and that crowd of players did a hell of a job.”
A key member of that “crowd of players” was Jordan Lucas. Lucas, a true sophomore who played in six games last year, worked hard last spring and was later named most improved defensive player and promoted to starting cornerback. The young defensive back spoke of the tough Central Florida game as a learning experience. He demonstrated against Kent State that he is capable of handling the pressure and was a critical part of the defense’s shutout.
Lucas has a good understanding of the game and solid football IQ. Before the Indiana game, Lucas explained that he recognizes how valuable a cohesive defense is against such a fast-paced offense. He pointed out that communication is very important.
“We all have to communicate with each other and make sure that one person is echoing the call,” Lucas said. “We have to react very fast and everyone has to communicate properly to react to the tempo.”
And how does a young cornerback like Lucas prepare for a tough passing offense like Indiana or Michigan? By lining up against Allen Robinson in practice. Lucas speaks very highly of his teammate and practice opponent. “I love going up against him every day in practice because going up against him only makes me better,” he said.
Lucas added that he improves with help from Adrian Amos, a former cornerback converted to safety who is potentially the best defensive back on the team. Lucas said that Amos has become a mentor figure to him and fellow young cornerback Trevor Williams.
“He always talks to us and tries to gives us tips and help us out,” Lucas said.
Jordan Lucas still has a lot to prove and will need to work hard to progress his game and become a reliable starting cornerback and a fixture on the Penn State defensive unit. He is coming off a season-high six solo tackles against Indiana and will hope to increase that number this weekend against Michigan. But one thing’s for certain: He has a ton of potential and the drive to reach it this season.