James Franklin didn’t have anything groundbreaking to give us at today’s Media Day, having last spoke at the Big Ten Media Days a week ago. But the exuberant coach provided updates on numerous positions and questions entering today’s training camp, like his family’s transition to Penn State, the offensive line situation, and who he expects to produce.
Here’s a recap of the notable items from Franklin’s first Beaver Stadium presser since April 12:
- Surprise: He’s excited for the season to begin! Franklin used some variation of the word excitement six times in his opening statement, saying that Penn State’s had a great spring and strong semester of summer school. As far as game preparations, Penn State will focus on bettering itself for the first two weeks of summer practice before UCF preparations begin.
- The Franklin family is finding itself right at home. Franklin, wife Fumi, and daughters Shola and Addy ate a pair of meals with the team yesterday. “It’s important for the football team…they get to see me in a different light,” Franklin said.
- If you were looking for which way Franklin is leaning in regard to the offensive line, keep looking! He said he doesn’t feel any better or worse about the offensive line since spring practice without having seen the unit play an actual game. Donovan Smith is the only experienced lineman returning, but Franklin is glass-half-fulling it. “I do think we’ve got some guys who’ve gotten bigger and stronger. I do think the fact that we’ve got a defensive line that we have confidence in will help, because iron sharpens iron.” He also gave a nod to Coach/Boss Herb Hand’s experience to coach up the line.
- Franklin confirmed that he expects most of the receiving production to come from the tight ends after significant losses to the wide receivers. That certainly makes sense, as only two wideouts who caught a pass are returning from 2013 while the tight ends return three experienced options.
- I remember when Bill O’Brien made everyone laugh by poking fun at the mobility of Matt McGloin in 2012. Franklin took the opposite route today, saying Hackenberg is a mobile quarterback, but he just hasn’t been used that way. He stopped short of disclosing whether Hack will take part in any designed runs this year, but expressed complete confidence in his ability to do so should such a situation arise.
- Ireland isn’t going to be a sight-seeing trip. “It’s not like we’re going to be touring the countryside. We got a tight schedule,” Franklin said. His goal? Make sure his players get good degrees so that they can get good jobs, make money, and vacation to Ireland at some point!
- Leadership is the one of the ultimate college football cliches, but at least Franklin provided some insight into how he views it. His leadership council consists of the full senior class, six juniors, four sophomores, and two redshirt freshmen. Franklin and his staff have discussed adding a true freshman to that group, just so that every class has someone to look to.
- You’ve probably heard by now that Franklin is a pretty cool guy. Today, he started things off by asking how our summers have gone. Before every question, he asked the questioning reporter how they were doing, once repeating it before a reporter gave an answer. “Isn’t it nice how we’re doing this, guys?” he said at one point. Later, Franklin leveled with the group, saying that he struggles with answering questions while simultaneously withholding important information about his gameplan. “How do I answer your questions and give you the information that you need without talking directly to [UCF coach] George O’Leary? Because he’s watching this right now. Hi, George!” It’s obvious that college coaches withhold a treasure trove of information from the media, so might as well make light of it.