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New PSU defensive coordinator says he will stay course

| Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 4:18 p.m.

There may not be a more fiery or excitable coach on Penn State's staff than John Butler.

The Philadelphia native said that won't change despite being promoted to a position where calm in the crucible of competition would seemingly trump raw intensity.

“If I showed up at practice one day and I had my hands folded and I was very quiet, the kids would look at me and say, ‘Who's this clown?' ” Butler said Thursday, his first full day as defensive coordinator. “Obviously, you have to be able to make quick decisions, to call a defense. You have to be able to adapt to a situation, and I think I'm prepared to do that.”

If the Nittany Lions' defense falters, it likely won't be due to a break in continuity.

Butler plans to adhere to the same philosophy that allowed Penn State to field one of the stingiest defenses in the Big Ten last season — the Nittany Lions were second in scoring defense (19.1 points per game) — and the same one espoused by Ted Roof, his predecessor.

Roof left Penn State after one season to become the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, and coach Bill O'Brien wasted little time in promoting Butler, who coached the secondary last season.

“It's going to be very similar to what we did in 2012,” Butler said. “We're going to be multiple (formations).”

The most notable thing working against Butler is the reality that there are a finite number of hours in a day. Butler, who said he will be more than a “walk around coordinator,” plans on coaching the cornerbacks or safeties and become even more involved in recruiting.

That reflects the aggressive approach Penn State will continue to take, though Butler stressed that coaching aggressively is more of a mindset.

“Aggressive doesn't mean we're going to blitz them every snap,” Butler said. “What aggressive means is we're going to change coverage looks, we're going to move players around so they can't scheme to block them a certain way every time.

“When teams are having success against us, we're going to change some things. We're not going to sit back and say, ‘Well, I hope this is going to work.' We're going to say, ‘Hey, this ain't working we're trying this.' ”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ScottBrown_Trib.

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