Countdown To Blue-White: James Franklin Discusses McSorley’s Leadership Abilities, Improving Turnover Ratio
James Franklin had plenty to discuss during Wednesday’s post-practice media availability. He began his session off the beaten path; before fielding questions, Franklin took a few moments to clear up some confusion about his attendance at a Sociology 119 class earlier in the week as he felt most people misinterpreted the situation.
“I read a bunch of articles about me going and interrupting a class,” Franklin said. “It’s been like national news of me barging into a class. I was invited to speak at the class, and as I was there, I saw some [players] that weren’t sitting in the front row.”
On a football note, Franklin praised Trace McSorley’s calm demeanor and how he thinks his rising redshirt junior quarterback has progressed as a leader this spring. He said that McSorley was a quiet guy during the recruiting process, and though he’s still rather soft-spoken, his teammates know exactly who to look to in pressure situations.
“When he speaks, people listen. He’s not afraid to speak up and is very close to his teammates,” Franklin said. “I’ve seen him holding his teammates more accountable and get them going but I wouldn’t characterize him a ra-ra kind of person. He’s a no nonsense, blue-collar guy.”
Franklin later discussed how he was pleased with the development of the offensive line — particularly at the guard position. “I think the guys are are doing a really great job,” Franklin said. “As far as standouts go, Mike Miranda is standing out because we didn’t know what to expect. It’s hard to know what you are going to get from a guy that could still be in high school,” Franklin said.
One area of emphasis that Franklin has been trying to hammer home to his players is improving the turnover ratio. In order to do this, he wants his defensive backs to spend more time catching passes from the jug machine — just as his receivers do on a regular basis.
“The receivers and tight ends spend so much time in the offseason on the jugs machine catching balls,” Franklin said. “Wherever I have been, the defensive players don’t take the same approach. If we want to really improve in turnovers, which is an area we can improve, we need to invest in it. The more confident our defensive players are in catching the ball, the more willing they will be to go for the interception instead of just breaking up the pass. You can take a good defense and become great by just making that change.”
Franklin finished his discussion touching on some changes he would like to see in the Blue-White Game that takes place in less than two weeks. Instead of having first and second stringers play the players on the third and fourth string, Franklin hopes to promote competition by playing his starters against the second string players.
“We’ve always wanted to make it more of a game so we have a better evaluation of our team,” Franklin said. “We do this in practice and want to replicate it in the spring game as well.”
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The Nittany Lions moved up one spot following their 33-28 victory over Indiana on Saturday.
Toney finished the game with four sacks, including a crucial one on the Hoosiers’ final drive of the game late in the fourth quarter.
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