Penn State defensive tackle Robert Windsor may be lacking in career starts — he has just one — but he’s certainly not lacking in confidence.
The fiery redshirt junior, who’s appeared in 27 career games, said Wednesday afternoon that his position group has “All-Big Ten potential.”
“We just have dogs; they’re going to be surprised,” Windsor said, referring to Penn State fans. “Everyone is doubting us like, ‘Oh, we lost (Parker) Cothren and (Curtis) Cothren.’ The year before that, both of our tackles we lost, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel.
“It’s not we lose anyone. We reload. It’s next man up. Between me and Kevin Givens as the starting defensive tackles, I think we’re going to be nasty. I think we have All-Big Ten potential.”
Defensive tackle has been one of the three biggest question marks on this team. Even head coach James Franklin has said as much. With two new starters and talented-but-unproven depth, no one’s quite sure what the production might look like in 2018.
Redshirt freshman Fred Hansard and redshirt sophomore Antonio Shelton are listed as the backups, while Ellison Jordan, Damion Barber and true freshman PJ Mustipher could also see time as part of the rotation Saturday against Appalachian State. Those five boast just one combined career solo tackle and have played in 13 career games — but Windsor likes what he sees.
“The guys behind me, nobody really knows about them,” he said. “They haven’t really had the opportunity to display their skills, but watching them through camp I’m comfortable playing next to any one. They all know their assignments. They all have good get-off. They’re all playmakers. They get off blocks and make plays. I was really happy with what I saw in camp. We have depth. I’m happy with the depth at D-tackle.”
Windsor believes this is the fastest defensive line that Penn State has fielded since he joined the program in 2015. And, time and time again Wednesday afternoon, he emphasized that defensive tackle should not be seen as a weakness on this defense.
“I see the talent we have,” Windsor said. “Between me and Kevin, I played next to Kevin and we make plays together. We make plays. I think we have All-Big Ten talent in the middle.
“Kevin is an animal. I think I’m an animal. I think we’re going to dominate the middle — and we’ll show you guys this Saturday.”