UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Newly-promoted Penn State defensive coordinator John Butler is full speed ahead in getting things in order for the remainder of the recruiting period and the 2013 season.
Head coach Bill O'Brien walked into Butler's office on Wednesday afternoon and notified him that he would be the leader of Penn State's defensive. Butler immediately accepted the offer and went right to work on what needs to be done to help build on the success he and the staff achieved in 2012.
A passionate leader with great intensity on the field and in the meeting room, Butler has trained for 19 years to be in the position that he will occupy in the fall. With a diverse background, including experience coaching all three spots on defense and special teams, Butler is looking forward to the challenge.
The suburban Philadelphia native will lead a multiple defense that plays aggressive and fast. Butler interviewed with several local and regional TV stations, along with local beat reporters on Thursday. Check out a few highlights from the conversations with the media.
What does this opportunity mean to you and how have you prepared yourself for this step?
Butler: "I think that everything has prepared me for this step. With every job you take, you are getting yourself ready for the next opportunity. This is obviously a tremendous honor that Bill (O'Brien) has given me to take over as the defensive coordinator at Penn State. There is going to be a ton of consistency here with Ron (Vanderlinden) and Larry (Johnson) being here as two great coaches. We are going to put this thing together, and it will be very similar to what we did in 2012."
What is your general philosophy of defense?
Butler: "I think we are going to be multiple. We are going to be aggressive. We are going to be simple enough so that our players can play really fast. It doesn't really matter what I know or what Ron knows or what Larry knows, it really comes down to what our players know for how fast we can play. One of the biggest things we are going to do is that we are going to try and create problems for the offense so that we are a difficult defense for our opponents to prepare for."
How did you find out about the position?
Butler: "Well everything happened yesterday. At some point yesterday morning, Bill (O'Brien) and Ted (Roof) had a conversation about what Ted was going to do. Pretty much thereafter, I don't know the exact timeline yesterday morning, but Bill came in and said 'I'm going to promote you to be the defensive coordinator'. I said, 'That's great. Thanks a lot. What do you need me to do.'
What do you see your future involvement with the secondary and special teams looking like moving forward?
Butler: "I'm going to still be involved with the secondary, whether I coach the corners or I coach the safeties that will be determined, but I am going to maintain a coaching role. I am not going to be a walk around coordinator."
What has the relationship been like with you and the defensive staff for the past year, and how has it grown?
Butler: "Larry and Ron are great guys, most importantly great family men and great leaders here at Penn State. They are fully invested in everything that has happened here in the past on the field and everything that we did last year, and then everything that we are going to do moving forward. You've got one of the best linebacker coaches in football; you've got one of the best D-Line coaches in football with you helping you put together a plan. What a great opportunity to continue working with those guys and whoever else we hire on defense to continue to maintain the standard of excellence they've had here on defense at Penn State. I'd much rather have it be with guys like them, highly successful coaches that believe in what we are doing here at Penn State."
What type of players do you inherit on your defense for 2013?
Butler: "We obviously have some young players, some very talented players. We do have some guys with some experience coming back who we are excited about. Every team takes on a new identity, and quite frankly we are trying to cultivate and develop the leaders for the 2013 football team. That kind of started when classes started this week, and that will take on a life of its own. I feel like we have a talented enough group, as long as we stay healthy, to continue to move this thing forward. We've got good enough players."