Coach James Franklin spoke with the media following practice on Wednesday. He touched on several topics but his loyalties came to the forefront when lightning struck off in the distance. Coach was quick to deploy assistant athletics director Kris Petersen, asking her to tell the players that remained on the field after practice to head for safety.
Franklin then assured the reporters in front of him that they were fine to remain where they were, exposed in the wide open field.
The topic of weather came up when discussing the game versus Michigan State two years earlier, when a long delay forced the team to endure difficult circumstances. Coach Franklin turned the line of interrogation back onto the reporters, who he implied had the ability to ‘clean up’ the messy weather, considering that Penn State is a leader in meteorology.
The exchange happened while Franklin was asked to comment on the potential return to the field for offensive lineman Juice Scruggs, who was injured in a car accident. Lightning struck, disrupting his answer, and then coach said that it will be a medical decision. Once Scruggs is able to defend himself, and play without additional risk of injury, he will be on the field.
The media and coach Franklin braved the weather long enough to touch on a few other topics.
- Franklin on Noah Cain. “Noah is going to show up when it’s live. His running style and things like that. It’s breaking tackles. It’s falling forward. He’s the guy that’s going to get four yards on a consistent basis. He’s going to get a twelve yarder, then you are going to look down and he had 100 yards.”
- Coach said that fellow freshman running back Devyn Ford tested well during the offseason, showing the team first-hand that he has the top end speed that is needed.
- While the backfield is loaded with talent, coach conceded that it would be better if the group was spaced out in terms of class eligibility. Journey Brown and Ricky Slade have three years remaining to go along with Ford and Cain, making the top four on the depth chart underclassmen.
- It is easy to understand why C.J. Holmes opted to switch over to safety, hoping to follow in Nick Scott’s footsteps with a chance for a larger role with the team in the future. Holmes is a talented player and has three years left to make his mark.
- When talking about incoming safety Jaquan Brisker, coach Franklin was excited. “He’s long, he’s rangy. He’s athletic. He’s a details guy. I’ve been really impressed. You guys have heard us talk about championship habits. I see him do the little things probably earlier than I had anticipated. Balls on the ground he’s scooping and scoring. He’s got positive energy with his teammates. I’ve been impressed with him, I really have.”
- Coach spoke about the defensive line. “Antonio Shelton is a smart guy, really strong. He’s about 314 pounds, he can run. We’re excited about what he can do for us this year.”
After practice Audrey Snyder of theathletic.com tweeted out what she observed during the open portion of the practice session. CJ Thorpe was quick to clarify the situation. It probably won’t be the last time that Thorpe gets pushy after a play this year.