The team opened the final ten minutes of practice on Wednesday to the media and gave interviews as well. This was the first batch of news since the team opened camp last week. As with the off-season, less major news about the team during camp is probably better. Almost nothing substantive can be determined at this point other than negative news such as injuries or discipline problems. Thankfully to this point Penn State has none of those to report.
Here is the video of James Franklin’s interview:
Some of the takeaways.
- Practice has been much different than in years past due to the team having three full lines of players that are competitive. The overall ‘competitive juice,’ as Franklin put it, is more consistent than in years past.
- The team is focused on increasing takeaways on the defensive side of the ball and making plays that are above the call of duty.
- Speaking of the offensive line, Franklin said, “We’d love to play with the same five all year long. I don’t think that is realistic in this league. Just the way football is, you’ve got to have depth and that is one of the things that I am excited about because we do have depth at each position for the most part.”
- The chemistry in the locker room is increasing due to the fact that more players are able to feel as though they have a large contribution to the team. With the depth chart filling out to the point where the third-line players know that they could contribute later this year, or in later years, the attitude is improving overall.
Sights and Sounds From Camp
For those of you who are prone to motion sickness, you can try focusing on the road ahead of the bus, or skip this one altogether. This video was taken from the BTN Bus Tour as it made its way through State College. The video starts roughly at the intersection of south Atherton and University Drive, and ends when the bus turns into the parking lot between Holuba Hall and the Pegula Ice Arena, just across from the Bryce Jordan Center.
Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley surprised BTN’s Tom Dienhart when they came to the BTN bus with a birthday cake. How many potential Heisman candidates does it take to carry a birthday cake? Apparently two.
The Big Ten Network seemed to like the atmosphere at practice, sending this tweet that includes ambient music in the background.
Doesn't get much better than this, folks. pic.twitter.com/EOnhizLII7— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) August 9, 2017
Maybe one of our readers will be able to place the song in the video, or the one that Jason Cabinda is singing along to without knowing the lyrics.
Here is Ricky Rahne, the passing game coordinator/tight ends coach and possible heir to offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.
Jason Cabinda and Mike Gesicki spoke to the press as well. Cabinda is now a seasoned veteran and his confidence and calm are infectious. Gesicki, who struggled to find confidence both off and on the field early in his career, is now in a solid groove and poised for another productive season. While it is the preseason and no earth-shattering revelations were exposed in the media session, it is notable how comfortable Gesicki is while speaking to the press. His unspoken nervousness, illustrated by a few drops during his underclassmen years, has turned into a quiet confidence. It no longer feels as though he is uncomfortable while talking with the media. He has the forehead of a confident man even while his other mannerisms are being fine-tuned. It’s a reminder that there is so much hoisted on the shoulders of the players at times other than playing football. We hold their feet to the fire for what may happen on the playing field, yet to be a leader on a team that may contend for a national championship, we expect even more than just playing football at the highest level.
Both Cabinda and Franklin mentioned that they expect senior receiver DaeSean Hamilton to have a huge season. Franklin noted that there are stronger and faster receivers on the team, but none is more polished. Cabinda spoke of Hamilton’s work ethic. Here is Hamilton trying out the BTN’s Snapchat sunglasses while catching footballs and being heckled by Marcus Allen.
The BTN sat down with Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley as well. It was nice to hear from the two leaders of the Penn State offense.
Here is the interview that Franklin gave at the end of the day as the shadows were lengthening on the practice field and the players were done for the day. He touched on his focus on one game at a time and how it has to be a thorough effort, not just lip service.