Tariq Castro-Fields faced the sad possibility of missing out on his senior season because of the coronavirus, then got some great news when the Big Ten reversed course and decided to play this fall.
“With it being my senior season, I’m just grateful I get another opportunity to strap up the pads and just practice and play on Oct. 24,” the PSU cornerback said. “It’s been a while, so I’m extremely excited, for sure.”
Castro-Fields gave some thought to not playing because of COVID, but ultimately he didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity.
“The main thing is just being with my brothers again,” he said. “I graduate in the fall, as well, so those are two main things that kept me here.”
Castro-Fields was third-team all-Big Ten last season. He started 12 games and tied for the team lead with two interceptions and eight pass breakups. He also had 52 tackles (32 solo) and three tackles for loss.
Castro-Fields discussed a lot of topics during his Zoom call last week on media day, including his roommate and good friend, quarterback Sean Clifford.
“His confidence kind of comes from how hard he works,” Castro-Fields said. “He’s one of the hardest-working guys on our team.
“The thing that kind of sets him apart from other people is he has his routine, and he sticks to his routine every single day. He doesn’t weather. If he’s feeling tired, he’s still going to go throw some passes or watch X amount of film. … I see him kind of doing things, so I’m like, I gotta go do something, too.”
One area Penn State’s secondary must improve this season is limiting big passing plays, which was a problem at times last year.
“It just comes down to simple communication, because if you’ve seen a lot of them big plays, it’s probably a person out of spot,” Castro-Fields said. “I’m really trying to emphasize, and the leaders on our defense are trying to emphasize this, always communicate.”
Some things that may be different this season, he added, that the defensive backs have been working on include playing tighter man coverage, trying different techniques and different leverages.
Check out this video for everything discussed by Castro-Fields.