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Penn State coach Terry Smith is ‘200%’ confident in his defensive backs

Penn State’s defensive backs coach recently broke down who is standing out in his DB room and more.



Penn State football, Terry Smith
Apr 13, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions assistant head coach and defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith walks onto the field prior to the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The Nittany Lions are losing Joey Porter Jr., their top defensive back from a season ago, to the NFL Draft later this month. Still, long-time Penn State football defensive backs coach Terry Smith is not worried about his defensive backfield; in fact, Coach Smith claims he is ‘200%’ confident heading into a season full of massive expectations for his team this fall.

Penn State football is losing a top guy, but is still looking sharp

Despite losing the team’s top cornerback from 2022, Joey Porter Jr., Penn State football appears to be in good shape when it comes to the defensive backfield. Most notably, the Nittany Lions have a new CB1 heading into the new season this fall: Kalen King, who has already been named a preseason All-American and pinned as one of the top defensive backs in the nation ahead of the 2023 season.

On Tuesday, Penn State defensive backs coach Terry Smith — one of the longest-tenured coaches within the Penn State football program — got a chance to comment on his new-look defensive backfield and his confidence level in these players.

Defensive backs coach Terry Smith comments on his DB room ahead of the Blue-White game

On Tuesday, just a few days before Penn State’s Blue-White spring game this Saturday, Penn State football defensive backs coach Terry Smith was able to speak on his defensive backfield and more.

“200%.” Terry Smith said when asked about his confidence level in this year’s defensive back room. “You saw what happened in the Rose Bowl (when Penn State was without Joey Porter Jr.). Joey [Porter] is a tremendous loss, but our job is to replace him and move forward and get better. I think we have an opportunity to be better in the room. Obviously Kalen King is coming back — he has had a tremendous spring; he is completely dominating, he is taking huge strides to get even better.

“Johnny Dixon — who stepped into the last portion of the season and the Rose Bowl — he has had a tremendous spring. Those two guys are playing at an elite level; they’re playing at a different level than everyone else … from Daequan Hardy to Cam Miller and Storm Duck, those three guys are having great springs as well. So the five of those guys are going to carry us through this season.”

This Saturday, Penn State football fans will get their first look at defensive backs coach Terry Smith and his squad of high-caliber defensive backs in action for the first time since the Rose Bowl on January 2nd. The annual Penn State Blue-White game will kickoff at 2:00PM (EST) at Beaver Stadium.

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Chris Mangum is currently a Penn State student and serves as a writer and editor covering Big Ten athletics. He has served as a beat writer, online reporter, print reporter, and more over the past few years of his career. He currently serves as the managing editor for Basic Blues Nation and others.