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Penn State’s Anthony Zettel discusses the finer points of tree tackling

The Nittany Lions defensive tackle started and ended his tree-tackling career in the woods of Erie, Pa.

Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2014. He also tackled a tree last weekend, so we're going to ask him about that instead.

How @anthonyzettel trains in the off season

A video posted by @dudas_5 on

You tackled a tree?


Where were you when you tackled the tree?

Erie, Pa., outside of (teammate) Jordan Dudas' house.

Whose idea was it to tackle the tree?

It was my idea, but I didn't have any reasoning for it. We were in the woods getting wood for a bonfire, so I figured it would be good firewood. So I tackled it.

What kind of tree was it?

I am not 100 percent sure at this time.

But it was dead, right?


Think you could tackle a live tree?

No. No one in the world could tackle a live tree.

Are you saying that because you've tried before?

Nope. I just know that a car gets stopped when it runs into a tree. So there's no point in tackling one.

How would you describe the rush technique against the tree? Was it more of a swim or a bull?

It was a tackle, so it wasn't really a rush technique.

So it was like tackling a running back?

Yeah. Or like tackling a dummy.

When you tackle a tree, is it important to wrap up or run through?

I think to knock it down and not hurt yourself, you'd have to run through it. But you also have to wrap up so you don't slide off of it.

Was there any concern about hurting yourself?

I did not think about that. But after I hit the tree, it did not feel great. I didn't hurt myself, but obviously it doesn't feel that safe. It wasn't the smartest thing to do. But it happened.

Was this your first time tackling a tree?


Was this your last time tackling a tree?


Are there are any other items besides trees and other football players that you have tackled in your life?

No, I don't think so.

How big a tree could you tackle?

Not much bigger than that one.

Stanford has a tree mascot. Would you ever tackle that?

Probably not.

How much attention have you received for tackling a tree?

A lot more than expected. I did not expect this. (Jordan) put it on his Instagram and I retweeted. I didn't expect it to blow up, but obviously it's made national news. It's kind of funny.

Have you heard from your coaches about this?

They were all laughing about it. They weren't mad. They just said it's not probably the smartest thing to do. But they thought it was funny.

Do you think it's funny, or are you embarrassed?

No, I think it's funny it's blew up. I'm glad I didn't get hurt, because it would've been embarrassing if I had got hurt.