Penn State defensive end Olaniyan showing marked improvement
College Football Videos
C.J. Olaniyan spent this past offseason being pushed relentlessly by Penn State strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson told him that if he isn't improving, he's getting worse.
He felt the pressure — some subtle, some not-so-subtle — applied by coach Bill O'Brien.
Three years after coming to Penn State as a heralded defensive end recruit, Olaniyan took heed as he prepared for his redshirt junior year.
“Every aspect of my game has improved,” Olaniyan said Wednesday, two days after being honored as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. “I've come a long way, and it's from learning to go full speed on every snap.”
Olaniyan more than tripled his season sack total and almost doubled his tackles for loss during Penn State's 43-40, four-overtime win against Michigan on Saturday.
Against the previously undefeated Wolverines, Olaniyan's presence was starkly visible along a Lions' defensive line that had turned in some mediocre performances as the Nittany Lions lost two of their previous three games. Olaniyan had a career-high eight tackles, 2 1⁄2 sacks, a forced fumble and two pass breakups.
Olaniyan entered the game without a forced fumble in 21 previous career games and without a pass breakup this season. It was the kind of game many had envisioned from the 6-foot-3, 244-pound Michigan native who was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals.
But it took until his fourth year on campus to become a starter (Olaniyan had one start last season). In Penn State's sixth game of the season, Olaniyan had his breakout. Not that he did anything differently against Michigan.
“I have the same mindset every time I go out there,” Olaniyan said. “I do my best to make plays and put my team in a position to win, and this past weekend I made enough plays, and some of the guys around me on the defense made enough plays to get us a ‘W.' ”
Olaniyan's offseason epiphany to “go full speed on every play” earned him the team's Jim O'Hora Award, which goes to the Lions' defensive player who most displays “exemplary conduct, loyalty, interest, attitude and improvement” during spring practice.
“It's a great honor to be named defensive player of the week,” Olaniyan said, “and it just shows that if you keep working hard and keep working every day to improve, good things will happen.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Philadelphia U.S. Rep. Fattah indicted in racketeering case
- Patriots QB Brady, owner Kraft lash out at NFL
- Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
- Plum High School teacher held for court on charges of intimidation
- Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
- Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
- Kang’s 9th-inning home run gives Pirates wild victory over Twins
- 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
- Driver accused of crashing head-on into Ligonier officer’s SUV waives right to preliminary hearing
- School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
- Pitt student from China pleads guilty to role in international test fraud scheme