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Excitement for the Season: James Franklin Press Conference Recap, Kent State

It’s the coach’s first presser of the year—college football’s almost upon us, y’all.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Head ball coach CJF gave his first presser of the season, and he, like us, can’t wait for Saturday— “It's amazing to me that time has flown by and we're already in week one of the season. I am excited to watch the team open the season in Beaver Stadium starting at home.” Same, coach. Same.

Some nuggets from the presser:

  • According to Franklin, PSU has the 2nd fewest senior eligible players on the roster
  • Will Fries, Michal Menet and Connor McGovern are three freshmen Franklin specifically name-checked as young guys on the line performing well in camp
  • On Evan Schwan: “He's a guy that I think studied Carl Nassib and all the things that Carl did when it comes to sleep, nutrition and training last season. He’s tried to model a lot of the same behaviors and I think it's really paid off for him.” Giggity.
  • He’s expecting Mike Gesicki to have a breakout year—and with Nick Bowers out (Franklin confirmed he’s out with injury for the full season) this should be #88’s year. Tom Pancoast has also stepped up for the TEs.
  • Even though Alex Barbir is third on the depth chart, he was name-dropped as helping out special teams—even if only in competition
  • Curtis Cothren is still “in the mix” even though he wasn’t on the depth chart
  • Changes on defense might get fans excited if they work— “Having a little bit more personality, defensively, being able to disguise some things. And we still want to continue to have a personality on defense that we are not going to give up the big play. That's very, very important.”
  • CJF is *still* pushing Saquon Barkley as a special teams returner
  • Kevin Givens might be a big deal at end— “Typically you have under-sized guys that have tremendous quickness, but they can get overpowered at times. Kevin is pound-for-pound probably one of the strongest guys on our team, and on top of that, he's got tremendous quickness and athleticism for that position...Sometimes length is a factor at those defensive line positions, as well, when you're going against offensive linemen with really long arms. But Kevin, his hand placement is excellent, and he's able to really get leverage from his height and also from his hand placement. And you combine that with his quickness, his athleticism and his strength, and he's been a problem [for the offensive line].”
  • On what Kent State’s defensive game plan might be— “I think they are going to go into the game saying ‘we're going to overload the box, take Saquon Barkley out of it as much as we can and force a new quarterback to beat us.’ So we've spent a lot of time working on those type of schemes. There are a lot of different approaches that you could take.” The Golden Flashes have a good returning defense, and Franklin wants to mitigate that.

Full transcript available here.

BONUS: Video press conference content from the University with players