Penn State Open Practice Notes (09.12.18)

By Matthew Filipovits on September 12, 2018 at 8:12 pm
Sep 8, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin reacts on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After blowing out Pitt 51-6, Penn State is starting to look in midseason form. The Nittany Lions continued to make adjustments with just one game to go before conference play begins.

  • As expected from this week's depth chart, Will Fries and Brandon Polk both ran with the ones on Wednesday. DeAndre Thompkins and Chasz Wright worked with the twos.
  • Pat Freiermuth has been impressive in his first two collegiate games and the staff has taken notice. The freshman got a lot of reps with the first team, but John Holland still appears to be the starter.
  • Tommy Stevens, Justin Shorter, and Nick Bowers were all dressed, but like last week, didn't get any reps while the media was there. It's unknown if they will be available this weekend. 
  • There were really no surprises at practice on Wednesday, which is a great thing in week three. The sooner you can find consistency, the better. Especially in the Big Ten East.


Pat Freiermuth has been a pleasant surprise this season, playing a large role as a true freshman. If he keeps producing while he's out there, James Franklin thinks we will be seeing a lot more him.

"He's very mature, he's very physical, he's been upper 250s/low 260s (pounds) really since he's been here. He's strong, he's powerful, carries his weight the way you really want football players to carry their weight: in their lower half. It hasn't seemed too big for him and he's approached it the right way. I think right now the coaches have a lot of confidence in him. I think you'll see his role continue to grow as long he keeps approaching it the way he has so far."

Being a two-sport athlete, Mac Hippenhammer is somewhat of a rarity in college athletics. The freshman thinks playing baseball on top of football only makes him better.

"I think playing any sport at the collegiate level helps. When I played baseball it gave me confidence transitioning from baseball to football. Actually playing a collegiate sport at that level, I think it really helped me build confidence."

Penn State had control of the game well into the fourth quarter on Saturday. While some saw Franklin's late-game play calls as running up the score, he was just calling the game the way he always does.

"I think more than anything there were some things we weren't doing well late in the game...Whether it's the first quarter and we're down by seven or whether it's the fourth quarter and we're up by 21, or whatever it is, we're not going to change how we do things. We put the ball on the ground a few times, we just were sloppy, and we have a standard of how do things. Score doesn't dictate that, weather doesn't dictate that. We're going to play up to our standards and expectations so I want to see us finish well. I thought we did some pretty good things but we didn't finish the way we should finish.

The receivers have had a case of the drops throughout the first two games of the season. Hippenhammer knows that won't last long.

"I'm not concerned about because I know we're way better than that and I think we just let the conditions get to us a little bit. But I know that we're way better than that and the catches will come."