It provides partial insight about the team! It ruins your Twitter timeline for an hour! James Franklin's weekly press conference is back.
If it's Tuesday during the football season -- YOU GUYS, IT'S DURING FOOTBALL SEASON -- that means James Franklin sat down and answered burning questions from the assembled media. Here are the highlights:
- Redshirt freshman tight end Nick Bowers is out for the season, which prompted a "next man up" from Franklin.
- The young offensive linemen are physically ready, but still catching up from a mental standpoint. Franklin acknowledged that Michal Menet will probably play this season.
- Starting left tackle Brendan Mahon had a "great camp" and "earned everybody's respect."
- Mike Gesicki has a "very business-like" approach in the offseason and has embraced his blocking responsibilities as a tight end.
- Guard Ryan Bates was close to playing last season but the coaching staff decided to preserve his redshirt.
- Noah Beh still needs to improve in certain areas, but has been "part of the tackle conversation" for playing time.
- On offensive line improvement, "that's what we're all waiting to see. Practice is great, but it all comes down to games." The new offensive scheme and improved depth should help the offensive line and first-year quarterback.
- Regarding Trace McSorley's approach, "I don't plan on having a conversation with him. His approach has been the same for the past two years."
- Franklin praised Andre Robinson (good size, natural feel for running back) and Mark Allen (has worked hard to carve out a role for himself). He added that great programs need three or four quality running backs, and Penn State has them.
- If he was Kent State's coach, "my defense would be to take Saquon Barkley out of the game" and "force a new QB to beat us."
- Penn State has prepared for "bear" defensive fronts -- essentially three down linemen clogging up the middle, flanked by defensive ends.
- Evan Schwan and Garrett Sickels have embraced the "Carl Nassib diet", which we assume means they have been either been eating quarterbacks, or nothing but grilled chicken and rice.
- Although he isn't on the depth chart, Curtis Cothran is "still in the mix" to earn playing time on the defensive line.
- The defense will continue to focus on not giving up big plays, although Franklin wants the secondary to take calculated risks when attacking the ball.
- Kevin Givens did "remarkable things" in the weight room, which has translated to success on the field. He's very quick for his size.
- The coaches are trying to get JUCO transfer Tyrell Chavis up to speed as quickly as possible.
- Antoine "Salt" White had a great fall camp.
- Franklin wants the team to focus on eliminating negative plays on special teams.
- Saquon Barkley will be used "in spots" as a kick returner, but may emerge as the full-time returner. Franklin added, "I think Saquon’s probably the one guy that’s had a pretty strong voice all off-season that he wants to be involved on special teams." Barkley wants to handle every return.
- Regarding true freshman with a chance to play (other than Blake Gillikin, Miles Sanders, and Conor McGovern), Franklin named Michal Menet, Will Fries, Cam Brown, and Shane Simmons.
- Penn State has only 12 players with senior eligibility, second-lowest in FBS.
- The added depth in younger classes has resulted in less wear and tear on the starters throughout camp.
- On expectations for the new offense, Franklin wants to let fans at Beaver Stadium watch the game and set their own expectations. He admitted, "whenever you have the pieces of the puzzle coming together like we do, there is excitement."
What do you think? We'd love to hear your concerns, excitement, and observations in the comments.