Abby Drey
Abby Drey

Penn State Football

Penn State LB Koa Farmer ‘frustrated a little bit’ by production; 2 OL freshmen impressing

By John McGonigal

October 05, 2017 04:46 PM

Penn State outside linebacker Koa Farmer appears to be “frustrated a little bit,” defensive coordinator Brent Pry acknowledged Thursday.

The linebacker has five solo stops in five starts this season with 17 total tackles. The former safety, who’s in his first year as a full-time starter, hasn’t made a sizable impact outside of 1.5 tackles for loss against Pitt.

Still, Pry said he’s confident in the redshirt junior’s progress.

“There haven’t been the plays coming his way that maybe he’s hoped, but he’s doing a very solid job out on the field,” Pry said. “We bring him off the edge a bunch. He’s a guy that’s gotten better in the box; the true linebacker techniques are necessary at the position. I have no concerns in there, whereas last year down the stretch you weren’t sure what you were going to get when he had to play to the box. Now, I think he likes being in there.”

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Pry also believes Farmer — a converted safety who started at outside ’backer twice last season — is building chemistry with Jason Cabinda and Manny Bowen. The coordinator and linebackers coach also complimented Farmer’s confidence, strength and ability to read his keys.

“He’s got a chance,” Pry added. “He’s certainly a talented guy and I think as the year goes on here we’ll see him splash more and more.”

Thorpe, Holmes impressing

Pry said there’s “no doubt” Penn State’s scout team is “in a better place than it’s ever been,” and a couple freshman offensive linemen are a big reason why.

Penn State’s defensive coordinator gave a shoutout to true freshmen CJ Thorpe and Des Holmes as vital contributors in practice. Thorpe and Holmes — four- and three-star prospects from Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Cardinal O’Hara High School, respectively — provide plenty of size for Curtis Cothran and Parker Cothren to deal with on a daily basis.

“One of the reasons the Cothren/Cothran boys are playing so well is the fits and the way that Thorpe and Holmes are practicing every day,” Pry said of the 320-pound linemen. “They’re big, strong guys, and they got a lot of grit and they’re a little inexperienced, but they don’t let that stop them from going hard as heck and trying to make plays.

“It’s really helped us up front get better with those guys over there.”