As Penn State puts its dramatic week one victory over Wisconsin in the rearview mirror and turns its attention to the home opener against Ball State, James Franklin once again met with assembled media for his weekly press conference.
Here, we’ve compiled some of the news and notes from that media session:
- Franklin was largely encouraged by the way that Penn State played in week one. He felt they played strong, complementary football and won the battle of turnovers and explosive plays, which he called the important statistics.
- The staff has spoken with kicking gurus across the country about how to balance Jordan Stout handling three aspects of the kicking game. Says Stout won the jobs in the preseason and that while the extra point needs to be made, the whole operation was off.
- Franklin feels Penn State needs to improve its two-minute defense and keep teams in bounds when they’re out of timeouts. Also wants to improve four-minute offense to keep the ball out of the other team’s hands.
- Ball State returns 21 starters from last year’s team and 16 “super seniors” which Franklin says will present a challenge.
- Franklin notes that Ellis Brooks’ targeting call is one he felt was harsh and that it’s tough to teach tackling with NCAA rules that change now only how you can tackle, but also how much you’re allowed to practice live tackling. Says he wonders if targeting will begin to be called on ball carriers who lower their head.
- The staff felt left guard Eric Wilson performed strongly in receiving most of the snaps in the second half last week, though a decision on whether he or Anthony Whigan starts on Saturday is yet to be made and will involve game tape and how they perform in practice.
- The defense has started doing a new drill in full team settings that Franklin credits for improved tackling, though he won’t say what they’re doing differently.
- On AJ Lytton’s kick-catch interference, Franklin says he’s happy with the way Lytton performed as it was how they coach it. Adds that certain rule changes have led to bad football plays as Tom Brady had recently discussed.
- Franklin says that trap games can happen for any number of various reasons, and because of that he tries to keep the team consistent in its approach to all games and opponents.
- Jy’Ayir Brown’s attitude was praised and Franklin says it’s something he believes was instilled in his upbringing, something Franklin noticed during an in-home recruiting visit.
- Hakeem Beamon, Keaton Ellis and John Lovett all remain TBD for the home opener after not travelling to Wisconsin.
- PSU deputy AD Scott Sidwell hopped on the call after and stressed the importance of fans downloading tickets ahead of the game as Penn State moves to an entirely mobile ticketing approach.
- So far, around 34 percent of fans have done so, about 5-10 percent more than industry average this far out from the game per Sidwell.
- Gates will open early at 1 p.m., with the team arriving at 1:30. Discounts on concessions will be offered to early entrants in hopes to seat people sooner and more easily.
- Those without a parking pass will be directed to Innovation Park in order to purchase one.
- Penn State will have “various resolution booths” in place around the stadium to help fans with mobile ticketing.