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News & Notes From A Rare James Franklin BJC Press Conference

Penn State football usually practices on Wednesdays. This week, the team played laser tag in the Bryce Jordan Center instead.

And a surprise laser tag outing in the BJC means a last-second change of plans for James Franklin’s post-practice press conference. The head coach spoke to the media from the BJC green room and if you’ve never been in the BJC green room, it’s basically a war bunker. No internet signal would dare attempt to break through its thick walls.

No internet means no live tweeting! We imagine this is what journalism was like in the old days — reporters emerge after being trapped in the bowels of the stadium with breaking news. White smoke billows from the BJC if Drew Allar becomes the starting quarterback. One lantern is hung from Beaver Stadium if Tyler Elsdon is named starting middle linebacker, two if it’s Kobe King.

Anyway, we compiled the main points from his presser since we weren’t able to tweet it.

On Caziah Holmes And Ken Talley’s Departure

This is Franklin’s first time addressing the media since running back Caziah Holmes and true freshman defensive end Ken Talley entered the transfer portal. Franklin said Holmes’ departure won’t have “a huge impact on kind of where we were trending, which is probably why it happened in the first place.” With blue-chip true freshman running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen entering the program, Holmes likely would not have seen the field much this year after redshirting in 2021.

It was a bit of a different story for Talley, and it’s still unclear if he opted to leave the program himself, or if the team ushered him into the transfer portal.

“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to talk about any of these guys and the specifics on why they’re leaving. That’s their personal business,” Franklin said of Talley. “We want them to be able to leave and go on and be successful. But it didn’t work out for a variety of reasons.”

On His Starbucks Order

Franklin gave a tongue-in-cheek “I’m not going to get into that” response to a question about his Starbucks order after he mentioned that he typically goes with his daughter and analyst Frank Leonard. Why? Well, he’s embarrassed.

“I just started drinking coffee a few years ago, and my coffee is essentially an ice cream sundae,” Franklin said. “So, I’m not gonna sit here and say it because it’s not a good look.”

It’s called “espresso,” coach.

On The Middle Linebacker Competition

The preseason competition at middle linebacker is one of the marquee matchups of training camp and was called a “legitimate competition” between Tyler Elsdon and Kobe King at Media Day.

As of now, it appears that Elsdon has the edge in the battle, mostly due to his experience in the program.

“Elsdon is a little bit ahead,” Franklin said. “Kobe’s still figuring that all out. You got to remember he’s a redshirt freshman and [the mike] is basically the quarterback of the defense. He’s going to play in game one. There’s still time between now and the first game before we actually name the starters.”

Franklin also shouted out Robbie Dwyer, who he compared to Jan Johnson and said will have a significant special teams role this season.

On True Freshmen Buzz And Depth

Drew Allar, Kaytron Allen, Beau Pribula, and Nick Singleton. Those skill players have been the big talk of Penn State’s true freshman class, and Franklin knows it, saying there’s been “buzz” about the running backs in particular.

“I think the two quarterbacks have really done a nice job,” Franklin added. “We’re probably further ahead from that standpoint…there’s more depth at the quarterback position, but really probably across the board.”

Depth continues to be a major theme of the Nittany Lions’ preseason, as does Franklin taking a “measured approach,” which he mentioned again Wednesday.

“I think we’re in a good place,” Franklin said. “But at the end of the day, you guys will tell me and everybody else very clearly how we are after the Purdue game.”

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected].

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