News & Notes From James Franklin’s Opening Summer Press Conference

Penn State football is right around the corner.

With training camp fast approaching, James Franklin held a summer press conference Thursday morning with multiple members of the Penn State coaching staff.

Penn State is heading into one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory, with first-year starting quarterback Drew Allar most likely taking the helm of the offense alongside running back duo Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen.

With the team’s season opener against West Virginia approaching in less than 100 days, Franklin touched on developments in the wide receiver corps, the quarterback room, player status, and the expectations for the upcoming season.

On The Wide Receiver Room

The Nittany Lions added transfer wideout Dante Cephas to the group after the conclusion of spring practice but Franklin highlighted receivers that were mostly already part of Penn State’s corps.

While Franklin said that he was looking for a few more players to step up after the Blue-White Game in April, he noted that there were a few players that had made the leap from the end of spring to summer. Names like Liam Clifford, Malik McClain, Kaden Saunders, Anthony Ivey, and Malick Meiga jumped out as Franklin tries to fill out his depth chart.

Omari Evans, who had a strong Blue-White showing in April, was also mentioned as a player that gave Franklin a bit of security, as the head coach stated that he had three wideouts who had already proven themselves in Beaver Stadium.

“I think there are more guys that are going to be a part of this conversation. After training camp, I think there are guys that are close enough to have a chance to help us win in this conference,” Franklin said. “But they had to take a step.”

Franklin also mentioned Cephas, who has been on campus for a few weeks. While Franklin said that he hasn’t had extended contact with the transfer, he revealed Cephas’ personality “meshes with our locker room really well.”

On Spring Ball Absentees Returning For Summer Practice

During this year’s Blue-White Game, tight ends Theo Johnson and Tyler Elsdon, along with linebacker Tyler Warren, were all notably absent from the field. Now, Franklin says they’re all back and ready to go for the remainder of the training program.

“They’re all good to go,” Franklin said. “We had a decent number of surgeries right after the season ended but now they’re all back and ready to go.”

Overall, Franklin said missing out on spring ball is not going to have a large impact on play throughout this season and was good practice for players lower on the depth chart.

“Sometime’s that’s a blessing in disguise,” Franklin said. “It forces the other guys to get a ton of reps.”

On The Quarterback Competition

Despite overwhelming speculation that Drew Allar will take the reins of the Penn State offense next season, Franklin has yet to name a starting quarterback.

Entering his 10th year of coaching at Penn State, Franklin said his quarterback strategy is the same as always.

“Every year, it’s the same philosophy,” Franklin said. “It’s a competition at every single position. A lot can happen between now and the season.”

Franklin joked that even in what seemed like Sean Clifford’s 15th year with the program, he still had to compete for the starting job. Franklin believes that this type of plan sets players up well for a potential professional career, while also making every player the best that they can possibly be.

“It’s the right thing to do, not only for our entire program but also for the player,” Franklin said.

On Managing Expectations

With heightened expectations normally comes heightened pressure, but Franklin maintains that it will be business as usual for the Nittany Lion squad.

Franklin highlighted what the program means to not only the school but also the community where they play. While having high expectations for his players on the field, Franklin also has high expectations for his players off of it.

“My expectations are to have great workouts, go to class and have a great day in class, and go into the community and make great choices,” Franklin said. “I want to have a great training camp, get better, and be in the best position we can be to beat West Virginia.”

Aside from wanting his players to be the best that they can be, Franklin says he doesn’t have any heightened expectations for his players on the field.

“At the end of the day, all that stuff doesn’t matter,” Franklin said. “What really matters is do our habits and our actions align with who we say we want to be and where we want to go. If not, it’s just talk.”

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About the Author

CJ Doebler

CJ is a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. He is from Northumberland, Pa, just east of State College. CJ is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, but chooses to ignore the Pirates' existence. For the occasional random retweet and/or bad take, follow @CDoebler on Twitter. All complaints can be sent to [email protected].

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