FB Eli Penny
December 4, 2020
Q: Why are you as an offense so effective in short yardage situations, particularly when you’re on the field? What’s clicking for you and the offense in those goal or fourth and one, third and one situations?
A: I think those situations in a ballgame are all about mentality, all about want to, and all about just beating your man one on one. When we’re out there, I think the coaches install, they do a good job of just harping on that area of the game. Being physical, beating your man one on one, and just having that want to and the grit to convert the situation.
Q: As a fullback and a guy who likes contact, initiates contact, do you like the way this offense has evolved into a way to try to punish opposing defenses and be a ball-control offense?
A: Yeah, definitely. Like you said, just being a fullback and a dude who likes contact, who wants to initiate the hit, definitely. Especially like you said earlier, in those situations in the game, third down, fourth down, nut-cutting time, being physical and converting, everybody on the offense is like that, including the offensive line and tight ends. Yeah, I love my role in this offense.
Q: When you’re at practice and you’re going through your drills and the team drills and the indy drills, and your starting quarterback is over on the side with the trainers in the building, do you sneak peaks over there and see, ‘let me just see how he looks. Let me just see how he’s doing’?
A: Yeah, I think that’s just kind of natural. I think everybody does, just to see how he’s doing and how he’s progressing with his rehab and stuff, especially with a player like Daniel (Jones). He puts us in situations to win ball games every week. Yeah definitely. It’s just always kind of like, when you’re at practice or whatever, just look to see how he’s doing.
Q: How’s Colt (McCoy) been this week? Could you tell he’s a veteran? Has he gotten on guys when guys messed up? Any stories you can tell us from practice about kind of Colt taking the reins this week?
A: You can definitely tell he’s a veteran, he’s been around, he’s been in this offense, you know what I’m saying? The way he uses his terms and how he communicates with his players and stuff like that, it definitely shows his veteran leadership. Yeah, he started at practice. Then once he got in, it was like we kind of never missed Daniel because he’s always been right there, right behind Daniel, in the meeting room, answering questions fast. I feel like we all have trust in Colt.
Q: You have some NFC West in your veins from earlier in your career. What’s it going to be like playing Seattle in an empty stadium?
A: That’s going to be crazy just because how loud it usually gets in the stadium. I guess we can use it to our advantage without the fans being there, because Seattle is the type of team that they feed off the 12th man being there. Yeah, without their fans being there, we’re going to try our best to take advantage of that situation and just go in there and get out of there with a W.
Q: What do you think of the team’s, a lot of times on fourth down and short and stuff, you’ll try to draw a team offsides and then use a timeout and things like that. As a fullback, as a guy who wants to get the ball there, and you talked about that a little earlier, what do you think of those situations?
A: Obviously, I always want the ball in those situations because I feel like I’m just going to convert it. I make it simple for myself. It’s just get one yard. That’s it. That’s not that hard to do. In those situations, I feel like I’m the perfect guy and I always want the ball in those situations. Like I said, it’s just a mindset type of thing. Beating your guy one on one, the want to, the will, nut-cutting time, just do your job and convert the first down.
Q: They talk about for running backs, for guys carrying the ball all the time, they talk about guys getting into a rhythm. Is it the same for a fullback? Is it hard for you when you’re playing five snaps, seven snaps, is it hard for you to come in and hit your keys and do the things that you need to do?
A: Yeah, it’s kind of like the same thing with the runner. You have to find your rhythm a little bit, especially for a guy like myself. I like reading the plays like I’m the runner, and it happens just a tick faster because at fullback, you’re usually five yards away from the line of scrimmage as opposed to being seven yards away. It definitely hits faster. But yeah, you have to have that rhythm, you have to have the steps. But I usually like talking to the running backs so they kind of already know what I’m going to do before I even do it. So, we’re on the same page all the time really.
Q: When Saquon (Barkley) goes down in Week 2, I think everyone thinks the run game is kind of doomed. Why do you think you guys have been able to find so much success?
A: I think just as of late, our coaches, Coach (Burton) Burns and Steve (Brown), they’re on us every day about hitting our landmarks, having our timing right, being in the right spot, things like that. We didn’t have an offseason, no OTAs, no preseason, so obviously, we’re going to come out of that a tick slower. But I like the way that we’ve progressed as the weeks went on. We just continue to get better because we’re coached on the things we need to be coached on, like being in the right spots and being in the right landmarks and perfect timing and stuff like that.
Q: I heard your brother is close but he’s not playing this week. How much of a bummer is it that you’re not going to get to face off against him?
A: I wish he was ready to go. But he’ll be alright. He practiced this week but he’s not ready to go. But I wish he was.
Q: I know you only overlapped with (Damon) ‘Snacks’ Harrison for about a month here, right?
A: Yeah, about a month, yeah.
Q: Just curious any practice battles that went on where you had to come up into the hole and see him? Between he and Bobby Wagner, I would imagine you’re going to see a lot of Wagner on Sunday if you get in there. What’s that going to be like?
A: I don’t think it’s going to be any different than any other… Football to me, like I said earlier, is simple. It’s a simple game. Everybody puts on the same pads, puts on the same helmet, so it doesn’t matter about the last name or what you did in your career. Me personally, I’m going to go in there and give it 110 percent. I’m rarely rattled by my opponents, so I’m not too worried about that.
Q: You’ve been a core special teamer basically since you got here. I’m just wondering what has that done for you in terms of helping you improve as a fullback and as a runner?
A: That’s a good question. It definitely added value to myself. But I kind of use the same mindset I have on special teams, and I bring it to my mentality of playing fullback because when you’re going down on special teams, you can’t run slow, you can’t be timid, you can’t be afraid to initiate contact. With that mindset I have on special teams, I just bring it to the offensive side of the ball and try to be as productive as I can with it.
Q: Does that also help with angles and stuff like that?
A: Yeah. Football, like I said, it’s the same thing, same schemes. On kickoff, you might have a kickoff block. On offense, you might have the same kind of kickoff block. I just bring the same type of mentality that I have on special teams, and then just bring it to offense and like I said, just be productive with it. You all have a lot of questions for the fullback. I appreciate you all. This is really good, I appreciate you all. It’s important.
Q: You must be big time. They put a fullback on the podium, this is like a first maybe ever. How much has the offense changed and shifted? We see your playing time increase, right? Do you view it as the offense becoming more run heavy? Have you seen that development over like, I don’t know what are we in Week 13, like somewhere maybe in the middle of the season?
A: I feel like we’ve always been a run heavy type of offense. I just think that we’re doing it with a different personnel group. It’s just different type of personnel on the field. We were always trying to establish our run game. Like I said, it’s going to take a little time being the fact that we didn’t have OTAs or preseason. But I think we always tried to be a run heavy-type team. Now, we’re just doing it out of a different personnel and things like that.
Q: Now you’re just a power running team I guess?
A: There you go, power running team.