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New assistant Midget optimistic about PSU defense

| Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 11:18 p.m.

Anthony Midget isn't sure how he got to Penn State. But he hasn't had time to ponder the specifics regarding his path to Bill O'Brien's coaching staff.

Midget, who came to Penn State after a coaching stint that qualified as brief even in a profession packed with itinerants, has been busy with spring practice — and learning along with some of the younger players he was hired to develop.

“It's actually been an easy transition as far as picking up on things and just fitting right in with the staff with the defensive terminology,” Penn State's safeties coach said Tuesday during a conference call.

O'Brien hired Midget in February, less than three weeks after the latter left Georgia State to become Marshall's secondary coach. He arrived at Penn State with enough time before the start of spring practice to learn the defense and watch film on the players he is now coaching.

The return of starting safeties Malcolm Willis and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, as well as Adrian Amos, who is expected to play both cornerback and safety in 2013, isn't the only reason why Midget is optimistic about the back end of Penn State's defense.

He said Malik Golden is among the young players who have flashed potential at safety. The 6-foot-1, 186-pound Golden played wide receiver while redshirting last season.

“He just has some natural abilities that I think is going to help us,” Midget said. “He's still learning, but I'm encouraged physically (with) what he's shown.”

Midget knows what it takes to excel as a defensive back.

He earned third-time All-American honors in 1999 while helping Virginia Tech to the national championship game. Midget, 35, coached at Georgia State for five seasons before moving to Marshall.

When O'Brien contacted him and later offered a spot on his staff, Midget said he could not pass up the opportunity. He had never met O'Brien before interviewing with the second-year coach. Midget said a “mutual friend” recommended him to O'Brien though he couldn't recall the person who put him on a path to Penn State.

“I wanted to become a part of this staff.” Midget said, “and be a part of getting this thing turned around and just taking this thing to the next level.”

Note: The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported that former Penn State lineman Tom McHugh was arrested Tuesday morning in Atlantic City, N.J., for spraying police with a fire extinguisher. McHugh, 29, of Drexel Hill, faces charges including disorderly conduct. McHugh is under armed guard at a psychiatric intervention program.

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