Nittany Lions On Best Pregame Speeches, Locker Room Music

A handful of Penn State players discussed which teammates and coaches give the best pregame speeches and what’s in their headphones in the locker room at media day.

“Most of the time, if we really wanna get hype, coach Spence always gets us hype,” defensive tackle Antonio Shelton said.

“Actually, B-Bell was one of the best,” Ryan Buchholz said of graduated linebacker Brandon Bell. “Dwight Galt IV had a good one [before Minnesota]. He shotgunned an energy drink after his speech.”

Of course, Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley could be counted on to motivate the team at halftime of the Big Ten championship. On top of defensive line coach Sean Spencer, players frequently mentioned coordinators Brent Pry and Joe Moorhead.

“Every week he gives a different analogy for the way we’re gonna play a game,” offensive lineman Hunter Kelly said of Moorhead. “He has all these sayings and quotes that he just knows off the top of his head, like inspirational ones and ones that just work with the message of the week.”

You can check out Bell, Moorhead, and Jason Cabinda’s epic performances before the Rutgers game last fall below (skip to 1:58 mark).

“And I know this, we’re gonna either damn find a way or make one, fellas,” Moorhead said in Piscataway.

“Think about why you came here, why you came to Penn State,” Cabinda said. “Legacy. We’ve got an opportunity here — to write your names, man, to write the history. This is it right here, this is where we write it.”

Chuck Losey, the strength coach with the slick handlebar mustache, had the team try something different with its Riddell Speedflex helmets before a game last season.

“Some of our helmets, when you snap the chinstrap in it clicks,” Shelton said. “He was like, ‘Everybody do it at the same time.’ It sounded real cool.”

Shifting gears, redshirt sophomore safety Garrett Taylor spoke about his favorite Friday tradition in the team hotel. “John Reid and I always get apple crisp the night before the game,” he said.

The linemen go through stretches before the Indiana game at Memorial Stadium.

When the players first arrive at the stadium on Saturdays, many check out the playing surface and listen to some music as they start to get warmed up. Which artists are most often in the pregame rotation?

“Future. Future’s my man,” sophomore running back Miles Sanders said.

“Goony Huncho,” Grant Haley said with a laugh. “Nah, not Goony Huncho. I don’t wanna listen to no Lamont.”

Freshman cornerback Lamont Wade, who enrolled early for the spring semester, released his debut music video “Up” in June.

“I’m a big Drake, Meek Mill guy,” Haley said. “Drake just gets me in my zone. Meek’s got a new album out right now so I’m listening to ‘1942 Flows.’ That’s a good one. ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ is a classic.”

When Ayron Monroe’s not competing with Troy Apke and Nick Scott for the starting safety job opposite Marcus Allen, he’s working on his craft as a producer in his apartment studio. The redshirt sophomore from Largo, Md., took a page out of Lil Uzi Vert’s playbook by dying his braids green this summer.

“[Lamont] actually came through and recorded some at my place. Eventually we’ll get something [put together] once we get the time,” Monroe said. “Actually, my girlfriend is an artist I’m paying close attention to. Her name’s Jada Baity. She’s gonna be good one day. Me and her are working in close proximity trying to develop that sound together.”

Marine veteran Immanuel Iyke (96) presents the American flag to a fellow service member before the Iowa game.

Kicker Alex Barbir and corner Zech McPhearson like to focus on their spirituality in the locker room to get ready for games.

“I like a dude named Andy Mineo. He’s a good Christian artist I like to listen to, gets me pumped up, gets my mind in the right place,” McPhearson said.

“The one thing that I’ve always gotta do is my devotion,” Barbir said. “That’s just something that relaxes me, kinda takes away the focus from all the stuff that we’re filled with when it comes to game day.”

Sophomore receiver Brandon Polk, whose request for a medical redshirt last season was approved in July, doesn’t have a singular go-to artist, instead opting to switch things up each week as kickoff inches closer.

“This year, I’m probably gonna listen to some rap,” Polk said. “Then right before, some gospel music to calm me down and just go out there and do my thing.”




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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected].

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