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Sights And Sounds: The Final Penn State Football Preseason Camp Report of 2017

The team is now in game-week preparation mode.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Media Days Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State is wrapping up preseason camp and there are still no injuries or major setbacks to report. That is good news. That is the only news that truly matters. Redshirt freshman cornerback TJ Johnson has elected to transfer out of the program but his departure should not have an impact on the field this season.

There are still a few days of practice left to finish out the week but according to coach Franklin, the team is now in Akron mode. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the team considers itself to be in game-week preparations. We fans of the team need to take this to heart, getting our preseason preparations tidied up in order to be ready for opening kickoff. The countdown of days until the season begins for Penn State is under ten.

Here is coach Franklin giving his last preseason camp press conference. Or is this his first in-season talk of 2017?


  • The coaching staff has begun talks with players as to their eligibility status heading into the season. The ‘red, yellow, green’ method of characterizing the players remains intact but Franklin isn’t ready to be specific as to which players are on each list. He said that there shouldn’t be any surprises concerning players that are expected to redshirt and those that will be given the green light to play as freshmen.
  • The depth chart is coming together but the staff won’t make any final decisions until next week. We can expect the team to release a list of players, calling it a depth chart, early next week. Just a few short days later, on Saturday, we will see for ourselves where the players stand. The season of speculation is almost over.
  • Even though the numbers of players in camp could have provided an opportunity for more hitting than in years past, the makeup of the team was such that it focused more on fundamentals and cleaning up technique. With a great deal of veteran players that have no need to bang a lot in camp, such as Cabinda, Barkley, Allen, etc., there was a focus more on fine-tuning over developing the physical aspect of the team.
  • The quarterbacks are doing a much better job of understanding when to throw the ball away instead of trying to make a play with their athleticism. The team charts the decision-making process of each quarterback during camp just as it does the completion percentage and other traditional statistics.
  • He mentioned Steven Gonzalez and Juwan Johnson as players that have stepped forward during camp on the offensive side. Christian Campbell and Troy Apke were mentioned on the defensive side as players that made significant improvements over last season. It sounds like Apke has won the starting job at safety opposite Allen, and Campbell opposite Haley, which isn’t surprising since the two have the most game experience.

Wide Receiver Coach Josh Gattis

  • Depth is great at the position. Gattis feels that there are six players that will contribute with regularity.
  • Gattis controls the lineup at receiver so preparation during the week will dictate the starters and players that will get the bulk of the playing time.
  • He mentioned Trace McSorley as being an unbelievable leader and that year two in the offense is looking better than last year.
  • Gattis would not be shocked if Juwan Johnson dominates this season. Also DaeSean Hamilton is continuing to work on his game and improve.

Christian Campbell And Trace McSorley

  • Campbell spoke of getting pressure on the quarterback to help the secondary create turnovers.
  • John Reid is helping coach up his teammates even though he is not able to play. He will be a resource during the season for the secondary.
  • McSorley senses a better feeling heading into this season, with much less uncertainty than in years past. He spoke of Connor McGovern and his confidence that has rubbed off on the other lineman.
  • Joe Moorhead continues to impress McSorley with his knowledge of the game and ability to explain to the team what it needs to do in a certain situation.
  • Juwan Johnson is becoming a serious problem for defensive backs that are challenged with covering him. McSorley spoke about Johnson’s skills and the work that he did last year with Chris Godwin to gain the knowledge he needs to play wide receiver this season and beyond.

Videos From Practice

Marcus Allen is known for his fun approach to the game even while being one of the hardest hitters on the field. Here’s what a day at practice is like for the senior safety.

One unit that will be getting a great deal of attention this season is the offensive line. Their youthful exuberance is noticeable but so too is the massive size and athleticism of the players. We get a good look at 6’8” redshirt sophomore Sterling Jenkins (No.76), he moves pretty well for a guy that weighs 336 pounds.

Look at Ryan Bates’ feet toward the middle of this video. He’s like a ballerina in shoulder pads. He’d stand on his toes if it weren’t for the instability of the grass beneath him. His singing needs a little work but that usually comes during the second full season in the lineup. He’s a classical triple threat; singing, dancing, and blocking.

Another group that will be getting attention early in the season is the safeties. It is expected that Troy Apke will start opposite of Marcus Allen, but Ayron Monroe and Nick Scott will be in the rotation as well.

DeAndre Thompkins (No.3) and Irvin Charles (No.11) are doing something that resembles dancing. The guys are getting excited now that opening day is closing in fast.

Since I’m old I don’t know what dance it is that they are doing. If I had to guess, I would call it The Anthill. First you walk up to your partner and affirm that you sat on an anthill by slapping hands, but then you see that your buddy has ants on his hand so you kind of miss the slap. Then you figure a way to get the ants off of you without touching them. You do the dance and presto! No more ants. It’s The Anthill.