For Penn linebackers, strong ties and family are the name of the game.
The Quakers’ defense has been particularly strong this season, averaging 17.14 points per game against their opponents to a 6-1 record. Behind this impressive performance is the unique brotherhood of the 15 linebackers.
Junior linebacker Jack Fairman credits his success with the team to mentoring and leadership of older linebackers as a freshman in the age of COVID-19. In his last seven games, Fairman has recorded his 25 solo tackles and his 22 assists in his tackles, including his clutch play against Yale at homecoming last week. was also included. As he matures into the senior ranks of the team, one of his most important roles he said is to continue that his legacy.
“The older guys… really impacted my development and so many others, so it started out like a room where there was senior leadership,” Fairman said. Now that I’ve become, I feel I have to play that role because it’s a pretty high standard that I feel I have to live up to and everyone around me has to live up to it so it’s just really good It’s a group of people. And as the seniors, we always bring the younger ones.”
Penn linebackers coach John Dupont agrees that strong team cohesion is largely due to the family atmosphere developed by older players, while leaving room for chemistry to grow organically. , trying to encourage it.
“We all support each other, from seniors to freshmen. They really care and love each other,” Dupont said. “They show it on the football field, in the locker room, in the weight room, and up and up on campus. I think knowing and owning that role is what makes it a special group.”
On the field, these close ties are associated with strong and organized defense. Senior linebacker Garrett Morris has had a particularly strong impact this season as he tallied 43 tackles in seven games. Morris said communication is key to the team’s defensive success. He and other linebackers on the field communicate quickly and efficiently, even without the use of words.
“I think we have a great relationship off the field and that helps with that,” Morris said. “Sometimes I know what Jack is saying even when we’re not talking to each other. [Fairman] or what jonathan [Melvin] Is doing. They don’t even have to tell me that. ”
Aside from supporting team cohesion, DuPont strives to ensure that his group of players are successful in all areas outside of sports. However, Dupont explained that his favorite aspect of the team is how hard all the players work, even off the field.
“It’s something we’re proud of. It’s very hard being a student-athlete in an Ivy League school, so how hard you work off the field, in the weight room and in the classroom,” DuPont said. said. “It’s really important to support them from an academic and athletic standpoint and everything in between, and even socially. I’m really their biggest fan.”
Looking forward to the game at Cornell this Saturday, DuPont is asking players to make small improvements to make their game better.
“It comes down to the little things. It’s fundamental to playing positions,” Dupont said.