PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Penn State safety Nick Scott graduated last May with a degree in psychology. At the start of the 2018 season, he had a chance to put those skills to work when he had a discussion with true freshman linebacker Micah Parsons.
Parsons, in case you missed it, made his first career start vs. Rutgers here Saturday, finishing with seven tackles, two tackles for losses, a forced fumble and his first full career sack.
“He gave me this analogy that I really liked after talking to him for a little bit,” Scott recalled of the meeting earlier this year.
After trying to remember exactly the way Parsons put things back then, Scott said, “Basically, his point was, ‘Right now I’m extremely aggressive, like a killer. I’m a little bit sloppy. I want to be aggressive, I want to make the play, but I may leave the scene a mess by how I got there.’ Then he said, ‘By the time I get out of here, I want to be a trained assassin. I want to get the job done, I want it to be extremely clean, I don’t want there to be any messes or things I need to clean up. I just want the job to be done.’ ”
Scott’s thoughts when he heard that?
“I respected that, and thought that was a great way to look at it,” he said. “I don’t think that should be taken negatively at all. Obviously, he’s not THAT kind of a guy. But I thought that was a great analogy and I can see his growth, from starting to be a killer and wanting to just go get the ball and maybe leaving his gap to do that, to now just trusting his eyes and his rules and everything like that, and still making the play.
“I was really impressed,” Scott added. “Whoever gave him that insight — it’s obviously been working for him. It’s affected the way he’s approached his game. He’s very eager to learn so he can be a trained assassin on this defense.”
You can see some of Scott’s comments in the video above.
Parsons got the start because typical first-teamer Cam Brown had a minor violation of team rules last week and was suspended for the first half Saturday. Parsons still saw significant action in the second half, though.
Per team policy, true freshmen are not allowed to meet the media during their first seasons with the Nittany Lions. But Parsons was the talk of the postgame press conferences.
Here is what some other veterans had to say about him:
DT Robert Windsor: “I didn’t even know he was starting until you guys told me because it just felt the same. He’s played a lot all of the time, so it’s felt like he’s one of the starters. … I know he’s one of our young guys, but I see a dog.”
DB John Reid: “It’s about getting reps, and he’s been getting a lot of reps in practice and a lot of reps in games. Getting those reps just made him more comfortable, naturally.”
DE Shareef Miller: “I’m happy for him. When I found out he was gonna start, you know, I talked to him. I told him, ‘Bro just calm down, do your job, don’t over-think things. Just make plays and be you today.’ … It’s coming to him. He’s still young, so you’re going to make those little mental mistakes. But guys like me — older guys — help him along and bring him up.”