PHOTO: USA Today Sports
On Friday, new Penn State Offensive Line coach Herb Hand took part in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). Earlier this off-season, Hand made news by trying to keep the Vanderbilt recruiting class together after James Franklin had made the jump from Vandy to Penn State and had taken much of the staff with him to Happy Valley. You can read the entire AMA here, but here are some of the more interesting questions and answers from the session….
Question: I think it'd be awesome if you could share some insight into your transition from Vandy to Penn State. You seemed to be one of the only coaches to continue fighting for Vandy's class when everyone was flipping to Penn State. Did you know at that point that you would also make the move, but feel you owed it to Vandy? Was it just the right thing to do?
Hand: In the interim between James and Coach Mason, I continued working for Vanderbilt because a) I was going to interview for the head coaching position and b) I was still on their payroll. Once those factors changed, my direction changed as well.
Question: What have you found to be the biggest difference between SEC culture and B1G culture to be thus far?
Hand: There's really not a difference – guys work hard and take pride in what they can bring to the table…They want to win and have been willing to work so that's really what you are looking for out of your team.
Question: Why do you think there aren't more coaches who have such a great Twitter presence like you do? What advantages do you think it gives you as a coach or recruiter? How do your players feel about your involvement on the site?
Hand: I think more guys are embracing social media in general because they recognize the power it has and that if they don't they are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage…as to your last question, they bust my chops about it a little but I think they enjoy my Twitter OG-ness…especially when I drop a vine of them destroying their opponent.
Question: Whats one ideal/philosophy of yours that you are looking to impart on the Oline at Penn State and why?
Hand: We will win by outworking and out-executing our opponents – is talent important? Absolutely But we will win because we are tough, smart and prepared (to quote the great John Donovan)
Question: If you had one shot to impress /r/CFB with a meal, what would you cook?
Hand: I've cooked a meal for a recruit before it was – Bacon, Bleu Cheese and Grape flatbread drizzled with honey – Wedge Salad (simple but delicious) – Crab stuffed filet mignon seared in bacon fat – grilled squash medley – sautéed asparagus – parmesan pasta – pecan crusted vanilla ice cream ball over a fudge brownie with salted caramel sauce for desert – CLOSED THE DEAL
Question: Coach! You often tweet about your smokin' hot wife so I was wondering.. Do you have any tips for younger guys out there trying to find a quality woman like THE Deb Hand? Thanks! We are!
Hand: Be a good dude. Don't be a jackass…I have been both and being a good guy works better.
Question: Other than Nashville, which SEC college town has the best food?
Hand: I was going to say something like "The Gator bites in Gainesville were delicious last year" but that might get me in trouble. So I guess I'll just say Auburn because I'm pretty sure my good buddy Gus Malzahn was fired up when they got a PF Chang's there or something like that.
Question: Hey coach, Vandy alum here. Just wanted to let you know I appreciate how you handled the transition and all of the work you put in for us over the years. You were always my favorite staff member – best of luck going forward! What were top three favorite restaurants in Nashville? (If Monell's isn't in there I'm going to be sad.)
Hand: Really too many to limit it to three Mexican – Rosepepper Cantina 'Que – Hog Heaven Pizza – DeSano's Thai – PM New Southern Cuisine – Husk Family – Monell's (Breakfast is killer) Coffee House – Frothy Monkey (get the Redeye – best cup in Music City) Italian – Mangia on the weekends – more of an experience than a meal Hot Chicken – Hattie B's Burger – Gabby's This is just the tip of the iceberg – so many great places to eat in that town.
Question: What kind of hair style did you rock back in your younger years? Pictures or it didn't happen.
Question: Coach, you have had to scheme for some great defensive players over the years, including Jamal Reynolds at Florida State, Gerald McCoy at Oklahoma, Julius Peppers/Ryan Sims at North Carolina, and Clowney at South Carolina. Of all the players you've schemed for, which was the most impressive to see in person?
Hand's answer was a link to this picture…