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Fall Football Camp Media Day 2016

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We’ve got your recap of Penn State’s kickoff of their fall football camp to start the 2016 football season.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Media Day David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State football 2016 officially is underway today, with the kickoff of fall camp, and today’s media day offered a look into what fans can expect from the program headed into the 2016 season.

Some of the highlights from today’s press conferences included James Franklin wishing Adam Breneman, who announced he was going to be playing football at UMass this fall, the best of luck, giving the advantage at quarterback to Trace McSorley, a switch on the offensive line (Andrew Nelson to RT), linebacker depth and the building up of the secondary.

From Head Coach James Franklin (full transcript):

  • On QBs: “Mentally, Trace was a little bit ahead of Tommy [Stevens] during spring, but Tommy has had the opportunity to close that gap. So I don't think it will be in the first week...I think we'll get in a situation where maybe by week two or game week that we'll make the announcement.”
  • On Joe Moorhead’s offense: “Me and him think very similar when it comes to the game of football, when it comes to offense, when it comes to how you approach things. Obviously he's got a west coast background when it comes to the passing game. The running game, to be honest with you, everybody's running the same runs. We ran inside zone last year. We're going to run inside zone this year. We ran gap plays last year, we're going to run gap plays this year. It's how it's packaged together. That's a little bit different. The tempos are obviously a little bit different.”
  • On promoting Brent Pry, and the difference between him and Bob Shoop: “Are we going to be exactly like we were last year? No, we never would be, even if we made no changes. You're going to tweak some things, you're going to grow, you're going to play to your strengths and what your personnel dictates and those types of things. And Brent's really kind of embraced that...Brent's been very involved as the co-defensive coordinator for my entire career. Obviously when he was the defensive coordinator at the same level as the defensive coordinator that we had previously, they both had tremendous success.”
  • On the current coaching staff makeup: “I've loved all the staffs that I've had over the last five years, but I think this staff really specific to Penn State, I'm really excited about and feel great about.”
  • On the defense: “We were able to build our defense around a really strong D-line. We're obviously in another situation. We've got to get those guys on the D-line to mature as quickly as we possibly can. Feel good about the back seven.”
  • On using Saquon Barkley in the return game: “We have the depth now that we really feel like we can use some of those players on special teams and I think Saquon is a part of that. What you have to decide is does the starter give you significant -- is there a significant difference between maybe a starter, whether it's a receiver, whether it's a running back or whether it's a corner being your punt return, kick return, and is his value so great on special teams over the next guy that it's worth using him? And then also, how do you feel about the next running back and the following running back or the next corner and so on and so forth? Or do you have another guy on your roster that brings similar value in the return game that it makes sense not to use one of those guys? I think you look at Stanford and [Christian] McCaffrey who is a tremendous player that we love watching and we're forced to stay up real late to watch him, but we like watching him. That's something that Saquon is seeing. Saquon does not have any individual goals. Saquon's goal is to do whatever he possibly can to help the team win and if it's returning kicks or punts, we've got to consider doing that.”

From new Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead (full transcript):

  • The best opening statement I’ve ever heard: “My opening statement is, I'm not much for opening statements. I hope everyone's enjoying their summer. It is great to see everyone, and I am excited for camp.”
  • To help silence the critics who are concerned Moorhead won’t be able to install his offense: “Throughout the interview process James talked to me a lot about his vision of where he wanted the offense to go and it was compatible with what we did before at my prior stops, so I think it's gone very well throughout spring and during the summer in our installation meetings prior to camp and heading into practice today. So I think we're one-hundred percent on the same page.”
  • On the ideal QB for his system: “You're looking for someone who can beat you with his brains, beat you with his arm and beat you with his legs. When you have a quarterback who is a threat to run the football successfully, either by design or when the play breaks down. I think that makes it that much more difficult to defend your offense. If you're asking or leaning one way or the other, we're looking for someone who can do both...but you want a passer who can run rather than a runner who can pass. Simply because what we ask our quarterback to do in our passing game from a drop back perspective. But it becomes a point where if a guy's not athletic enough, it really doesn't matter how good of a passer he is, if he can't function some of the things we're asking him to do in the run game, then it's just not a guy who would be a great fit for our system.”
  • On Barkley: “A guy that has all the tools necessary to be a superstar. He has small back skills in a big back body. He can run by you, he can make you miss, he can run over you. He can hurdle you. He's good in pass protection. I think the thing we've seen from Saquon in the spring and heading into camp is a maturity and an ability to handle the leadership role that is incumbent upon guys that are as good as him. So I think he's a great fit for what we're going to do offensively and has all the tools to be a special, special player.”
  • On possibly using more than one running back on the field at a time: “We have the ability to run our scheme because we don't create a new offense by personnel groupings, so essentially you take out the tight end, you put in another running back and we have a similar set of plays that we're able to run from either of those personnel groupings...Ultimately aside from the quarterback you look at who your next best five skill players are and who gives you a chance to move the ball and be successful. So certainly a two-running back, three-wide receiver set is something that we can do…It's something we've done in the past.”
  • On receivers: “We don't just have talent, but we have depth and talent, not just looking at the guys who are penciled in to be starters but their back-ups, as well...So we have outside receivers with Saeed [Blacknall}, Chris [Godwin], and then our slot receivers with DaeSean [Hamilton] and some of the other guys. They're just prototypes for the system, so certainly with their athletic ability, playmaking skill, we're looking for big things from the receiving corps this year.”

From new Defensive Coordinator Brent Pry (full transcript):

  • On losing three DL starters to the NFL: “I think we've got great depth. It's unproven depth, but the roster in that unit right now looks better than it has since we've been here...There's talent. There's just not a lot of experience. There are young guys, highly recruited. There are old heads that just haven't played a lot because they've played behind those guys. So there are some challenges, but we're excited about where we can go this camp.”
  • On how it felt when the players lobbied Franklin for Pry to get the promotion: “That's why I do it. That's why so many of the guys I know in this business do it. It's the relationships with these guys. It's the relationships with the rest of the staff. I tried to not just be the linebacker coach. I tried to have relationships with all the guys, not just on defense, and I think that's important to their overall experience in the program...So I'm flattered that those guys felt that way. That's not always a good thing. Sometimes if you're too likeable it means you're not hard enough on those guys. But we try to find a balance. I love the relationships. It's certainly an awesome part of this profession, getting to know these young guys.”
  • On the linebackers, and who might play Mike (middle linebacker): “We've got the versatility. Those guys are going to roll through multiple spots through camp. They're in a place that we can do that with them. We're going to train Manny Bowen some at the Will. He's been strictly a SAM to this point. Brandon Bell's going to play some at Mike... Jake Cooper for a young guy has played a lot at Mike and a lot at Will over the course of the fall and spring. I think that there's competition in that room because everybody wants to be the starter, and everybody wants to be the guy...Jason [Cabinda]'s got some strengths that you just don't find everywhere in his leadership, his command, his confidence, his knowledge of the game. The awesome thing in the room is that Nyeem [Wartman-White]'s got a lot of those same qualities. So it is an important decision. I think there will be some separation, some delineation between those guys in what takes place.”
  • On the secondary: “I feel very good about our secondary...The way we challenged routes in the spring, we are far more aggressive. I think those guys are playing with some real confidence back there. Marcus [Allen] and Malik [Golden] have played a lot of football. Grant Haley's played a lot of football.Christian Campbell's played a fair amount. John Reid's played a fair amount. You know, there is some quality depth there, there are some guys there...A big part of playing in the secondary to me is confidence, and we've got a confident group.”

In addition to the team’s typical coaches and select player press interviews, a few players were camera-ed up, and went live on periscope: