We’re even closer to College GameDay.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis, and Desmond Howard spoke to the media Friday afternoon ahead of the network's premier Saturday show. All three talked about Penn State’s recent success, predictions for the next three games, and how good Saquon Barkley really is.
Herbstreit said that it was “awesome” to be back in State College. “It’s just one of those places where the people are so passionate about the sport. When you have passionate fans and a great team, it just makes for a chaotic scene around the set. We just hope people have a great time," he said.
He also praised the energy on campus. “With the student section and a whiteout game, Herbstreit said that Beaver Stadium is “the best big game atmosphere that there is.”
When asked about Franklin’s performance so far as head coach, he credited Bill O’Brien for the work he did post-sanctions and Franklin's impressive recruiting efforts. “He really has an ability to reach to this generation, whether it’s social media or just the way he communicates to the kids.” “He’s kind of a cool coach.”
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Herbstreit also gave praises to Jason Cabinda and Saquon Barkley, adding that Barkley reminds him of Reggie Bush in the open field.
For Davis, when previewing Penn State, the biggest thing that stands out to him is Saquon Barkley. “He’s been remarkable. They’ve been finding very creative ways to get him the ball.” While Davis said the team is “complete,” the team will face a challenging hill over the next few weeks.
“If they climb that, then they will deserve every accolade and every ranking and every position in the CFP rankings that they get,” he said.
As for the defense, Davis pointed out the unit’s resiliency. “They’ve been very stingy, very resilient, just look at the Iowa game, they basically shut things down and just kept them in it...they gave their offense a chance to win.”
Davis, who has a Heisman Trophy vote, said that he has Barkley on top of his Heisman ballot right now.
Howard was asked for his advice to Saquon Barkley when dealing with Heisman attention: “That type of stress can get to a player and affect them on the field. My advice to him would just be to take it one game at a time, and just do what you do."
He continued, calling Barkley “a great combination of a lot of different attributes that you don’t usually see in a running back...he’s tough, he can run between the tackles, he can hit the edge and catch the ball, he returns kicks. He seems to be a selfless guy that wants to do whatever he can to make his team win the game.”
He also touched on Franklin’s past 12 months as coach, calling it a “rollercoaster.”
“It’s amazing what a couple wins can do for your career...he’s done a tremendous job. No one knew what to expect after he took over for Coach O’Brien..but he’s been a tremendous asset for the Penn State Football program,” he said.
College GameDay will air Saturday, Oct. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon on ESPN.