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Jaquan Brisker Talks Journey To Penn State, Wisconsin Pick On PFF Podcast

Penn State football had a shaky 2020 season, finishing with a 4-5 record and performing worse than expected under the strange circumstances of a shortened season. Now, the Nittany Lions are counting on some key veterans to lead the team’s bounce-back season.

After two successful seasons at Penn State, senior safety Jaquan Brisker wanted to make a statement and guide the team to a successful season. In a win in Wisconsin, Brisker made several key plays, including a fourth-quarter red zone interception to help seal the Nittany Lion victory.

Brisker joined Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle and Mike Renner on their podcast “Tailgate: An NFL, Draft, and College Football Podcast,” to talk about that play, his time at Penn State, and more.

Brisker is a Pittsburgh native and attended Lackawanna Community College for two years before transferring to Penn State. Brisker said “it was a very tough journey,” noting struggles in high school. There, Jaquan Brisker lost his brother, which he mentioned added to the adversity he was facing at the time.

Brisker also talked about how his time at community college helped prepare him for his future and mentioned how junior college helped him learn how to manage life as a student-athlete.

“Lackawanna helped me, especially with school. The structure, it helped prepare me for school,” Brisker said. “I had a mindset to get good grades and do what I gotta do on the football field, and that’s what I did.”

After talking about his journey as a young football player, Brisker went on to discuss the week one game against Wisconsin. Brisker spent time talking through his thought process before the play.

“Pre-snap, I was looking at the sticks,” Brisker noted, “They kept going to that three-by-one play, and I felt like if they needed to reach the end zone, it had to be a deep throw. They couldn’t beat us with a screen, a slant, or anything like that.”

Brisker noted that the play was similar to one he had seen before and that coaches had advised him to “trust his instincts” when deciding whether or not to blitz. After seeing Wisconsin’s quarterback, Graham Mertz, look at Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson, Brisker says he “walked [himself] into the interception.”

Brisker recognized the success of the play to his extensive study of game film, saying that he “knew they loved No. 84,” the intended target of Mertz’s throw. Additionally, Brisker credited the Penn State coaching staff for helping him analyze the film and point out what to look out for.

Brisker said he grew up watching players like Sean Taylor, who inspired his current playstyle and love for hard tackling. Brisker hopes to continue this style this future, mentioning how after the Wisconsin game, the team has to “stick together, and everything will fall into place.”

“Mentality-wise, I just always think: ‘Be physical.’ I love tackling,” Brisker said. “I feel like I’m like an old-generation guy. I am. That’s how I came up. I love hitting, and I love tackling.”

After nursing some minor cramping injuries during the Wisconsin game, Brisker said he feels good and credits the staff at Penn State for helping him deal with the injuries. When discussing Ball State, Penn State’s next opponent at the time of the interview, Brisker said noted that the Cardinals weren’t a team to underestimate.

“Ball State is a very talented team. The preparation has gone well, especially with our film study on them, but they are a very talented team,” Brisker said. “They run up-tempo and have a couple of good receivers, good running backs, and a veteran quarterback back there, so they’re gonna come in here and give us their best shot. It doesn’t matter who we play, we gotta show up on Saturday at all times.”

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About the Author

Mikey DeAngelis

As well as being a contributor to Onward State, Mikey DeAngelis is also the creator of the Mad About Disney YouTube channel and an aspiring filmmaker. Mikey loves Philly sports, traveling and hiking in National Parks, and watching movies. To reach Mikey, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@mikey_deangelis) or by email ([email protected]).

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