Excitement Surrounds Penn State Football At B1G Media Days

Day two at the Big Ten Media Days saw James Franklin wrap up the coaches’ press conferences and continue to build hype for the upcoming year. The head coaches from Minnesota, Michigan, Rutgers, Northwestern, Nebraska, and Purdue each spoke first, with only Kyle Flood from Rutgers referencing the Lions.

When asked about a potential budding rivalry, he said, “When it comes to [Penn State] week, it’ll be the most important game that week,” and added that there are three components to a rivalry — competitive football, geography, and recruiting. He didn’t name Penn State directly as a rival, but noted that it could be in the early stages of becoming one.

Franklin’s portion of the press conference predictably centered around the offensive line, Hackenberg, and rivalries.

He started off talking about the return of scholarships and the return to bowl games. “You think about the story that’s being told… So many positive things are falling into place for us,” he said. “We have a two-deep at every position now, some positions three-deep, it’s going to have a major impact on everything.”

“Last year we had one returning starter [on the offensive line], this year we have four returning starters,” he continued. “We’re still really young. I’m excited to see how much progress we’ve made in camp once the pads come off.”

Yesterday, Maryland’s Randy Edsall claimed Penn State as his rival, while Kyle Flood hinted at it in the morning. When Franklin was asked the inevitable question, he went the other way. “We haven’t had a true rival in the Big Ten, we’re just focused on Penn State […] We approach it one game at a time.”

He continued to praise his team’s progress in the offseason, citing Hackenberg and Akeel Lynch specifically. He credits the former with his maturity and leadership, and the latter with his completeness as a football player. Franklin then went on to challenge the media to write more scathing articles about the offensive line, saying that allows them to play with a chip on their shoulder — so stay tuned Coach, we might be able to oblige later this summer.

We’ll add to this story when Franklin, Anthony Zettel, Jordan Lucas, and Angelo Mangiro are made available to the media this afternoon. You can watch his full press conference below.

*UPDATE* 

James Franklin, Anthony Zettel, Angelo Mangiro, and Jordan Lucas addressed the media during the afternoon portion of Big Ten Media Day.

Zettel had plenty to talk about, discussing his family, his NFL aspirations, and the famous “Tree Tackle” among other topics. He made it clear that he aims to be selected early in next year’s NFL Draft, and that he wants to use this coming season as a springboard. “The NFL is the goal, and it’s the reason I came back,” Zettel said. “I want to have a good year, and I want to help this team be as successful as it can.”

Zettel also touched on something near and dear to Penn State fans all over the country, discussing how his team endured crippling sanctions levied by the NCAA. “There are very few schools in the country that could’ve overcome what we overcame.”

James Franklin sat down at the Big Ten Network desk to talk about his team, and what he expects out of his guys in 2015-16.

Franklin began by keeping it light, saying that he only gave fans a glimpse of his potential on the mound last night. “I didn’t want to give the Phillies everything that I had,” Franklin said. “I didn’t want to put them in a position where they’d have to sign me or anything.”

On a more serious note, Franklin addressed his franchise quarterback, and how he’s developed over the course of his Penn State career.

“All the physical and mental adversity he went through will benefit him in the long run,” Franklin said. “He had an inconsistent run game, and was throwing to three freshmen. Now, Hackenberg is in a much better place. I’m excited about him because of all the other pieces of this puzzle.”

Franklin continued to touch on recent occurrences, including the number of recruited scholarship players playing for the team, and the decision to remove last names from jerseys. Franklin said that currently, the team is at about 80 recruited scholarship players, and that the number is “right in the ballpark” compared to other schools around the country.

Franklin noted that the decision to remove names “meant something to people,” and that he felt it was important to take this step back towards tradition, as it was “part of the healing process” for the team, and the community as a whole.

We’ll be live in Happy Valley on August 6, when Penn State Media Day kicks off. As always, be sure to follow along as we keep you updated on Penn State football.

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About the Author

Doug Leeson

Doug is a sophomore and Onward State's Assistant Managing Editor. Dislikes: popcorn, Rutgers, and a low #TimberCount. Likes: "Frozen," Rec Hall, and you. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DougLeeson.

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