JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s good to be confident, and there is some evidence for what Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel said on Friday.
“I think we have the best front seven in the country, when healthy,” Zettel said during a news conference to preview Saturday’s bowl game.
The only problem is that Georgia, the team Penn State is facing, has seen first-hand the front seven that most would actually consider the best – especially after Thursday night.
Penn State does rank second nationally in sacks, with 44, behind only Alabama. The Nittany Lions enter Saturday’s bowl game against Georgia ranked 14th nationally in total defense, but 42nd against the run. That was without being very healthy, which it is now.
Still, there is Alabama, which on Thursday night shut out Michigan State, and in October the Crimson Tide pummeled Georgia.
Georgia offensive tackle John Theus was asked about Zettel’s statement, and how he would compare Alabama with Penn State.
“They’re definitely a little different. I don’t think I’m gonna get in a debate on who’s better and who’s not and give anybody any material on either team,” Theus said, smiling. “But both of them are good front sevens. Obviously we’ve played Bama, we’ve seen that one first hand. We’ll see Penn State’s first hand tomorrow. So maybe if you ask me after the game I’ll be able to tell you the answer on that one.”
Georgia, of course, had its own hopes of being in the discussion. It didn’t get quite the spectacular season it anticipated, though it was still solid.
“I guess he can think that,” Georgia senior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said of Zettel. “I know Carl, he’s a great athlete, he gets after it. Of course I’d like to say our front seven is pretty dominant. There’s a lot of teams, four or five teams that could be in contention for that. If that’s what he thinks, I guess we’ve gotta let him think that because he already made that statement.”