James Franklin Press Conference Transcript

Read what the Nittany Lion coach had to say at his weekly press conference at Beaver Stadium. We also have a short video clip where he jokes about making the long trip to Temple for the opener.

Durng his weekly press conference at Beaver Stadium Tuesday, Penn State coach James Franklin was asked about his team's travel plans for the 2015 opener vs. Temple in Philadelphia. It will be a slightly shorter trip than last season's first game, which was against UCF in Ireland.

Franklin joked (see above) that the team was taking a multi-legged flight to Philly to bring back memories of 2014.

The Nittany Lions will actually make a three-plus hour bus ride to face their in-state rival, leaving durng the day Friday.

But that was only a small part of the weekly PC. You can see the entire trascript of Franklin's presser below, courtesy of ASAP Sports.

COACH FRANKLIN: Welcome back. Head coach Matt Rhule, got a lot of respect for Matt. He's a Penn State guy. He's from our community. Got a chance to actually have some dinner with him and his wife in Philadelphia when we did our staff retreat. I think he's done a great job there. You know, it's interesting, you look at the scores, Penn State and Temple, you look at the overall record is one thing, but you look at the scores, you know, 2012, 24 to 12, 2011, 14 to 10 at the Linc last time we were there; 2010, 22 to 13. So although the overall record is strongly in Penn State's favor, the games have gotten closer and closer over the years. And I think Matt has done a great job; I really do.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow, one of the best defensive coaches in the country last year. Got a lot of respect for him. It's interesting, we do this Pennsylvania state clinic every year, and we obviously always present, and Temple always presents and other teams in the state, so we got a chance to -- I got a chance to watch Coach Snow present, and I thought he did a great job. I was very impressed, and obviously his statistics back all those things up. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield has done a great job as well. I think you'll probably see a big improvement in their offense in year two under him.

You know, in general, offensive starters returning, they returned nine. Defensive starters they returned from one of the best defenses in the country, they returned 10, and on special teams they returned three out of their three specialists, their putter, their snapper and their kicker. So this is a veteran team. This is a team that expects to win. They've done a great job. If you look at -- the statistics that I think are most important week in and week out, turnover margin, Temple has an advantage there, and I think that's probably the big thing with Temple. You know, one of the things that allows their defense to play so well, they were one of the best in the country in terms of creating turnovers. And I also would make a mention it's going to be a big factor in this game of obviously eliminating that, but then also I think that's an area that our defense, as well as our defense played, that's the one area that we probably weren't as dominant as we would like to be in creating turnovers. That's where I think you can go from being good to elite.

But they have the advantage there. Penalties per game, we have the advantage there. Total offense, we have the advantage there. Total defense, we have the advantage there. Scoring offense, they have the advantage, and scoring defense, they have the advantage. So at the end of the game, the most important stat is how many points you put on the board and how many points you keep off the board. So we need to do a great job there. Those are the main things that I wanted to hit with you.

Again, I appreciate everybody being here, look forward to the opening of the season, look forward to staying in state and opening the season in Philadelphia, which should allow a lot of our fans from that part of the state as well as the region, Delaware, South Jersey and things like that. Should be a pretty good Penn State crowd, I would think. Open it up to questions.

Q. Good afternoon, James. James, Adam Breneman is not one of the three tight ends listed on your depth chart. Is that because of performance or because he's not 100 percent healthy?

COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah. I'm actually really shocked that this is the first question that I got. You know, Adam's a great guy. He's a great student, great family, was one of the most highly recruited players to come to Penn State. As we all know, he had some issues in high school. He's had some issues since he's been at Penn State. But we're supporting Adam every step of the way, supporting him academically where he's killing it, doing extremely well. I think he's graduating I think from the business school of two and a half to three years, doing extremely well, and he's got some challenges that he needs to overcome on the football field. And as you guys know, you usually don't get into these types of things. I think it's Adam's business. I think it's Adam's family's business, and we're just here to support him and every way we possibly can. So I hope we leave it at that. I do know there's been some media that have reached out to Adam and his family and I'd ask if you could go through Kris in the media department and her department, like Kris has asked you to do, because I think the privacy of our players and their personal business, like their health. I appreciate you following those policies, if possible.

Q. James, I hope you had fun with Red Land on Friday. It seemed like you did.

COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, we did. You know, I think that's one of the things that we've really embraced, and I talked to our team about it the other day. You know, this football part at Penn State and across the country is a big deal, I get it, the wins and the losses. But you know, maybe I'm old school, but I still am a huge believer in the true student-athlete and the complete college experience, and that's doing great in the classroom, that's making a positive impact in your community and that's also having success on the football field. Our guys have embraced that. Over 2,200 hours of community service. I said in a staff meeting the other day that I think P.J. Mullen might have the best job in the world because he gets three emails probably a week where moms or dads or young people in the community send him messages saying "I had the best day of my life," and "thank you very much." Coming back from the Hershey Children's Hospital we got a bunch of messages like that. We got a bunch of messages this week. And I think the opportunity to spend some time with Red Land was part of that as well. Our players do a great job in practice, including them in our team, having some fun with them. And you know, with social media, as you guys know, we've embraced that aspect of it. It allows people outside of our circle to get to know our players and see some of the positive impacts they're having in the community and in the state. So it was awesome. I thought it was pretty cool. That young man who hit that field goal when we really tried to put the pressure on him, how his teammates reacted and how our team reacted, that was the same guy that had the score, the winning run, I guess, the other night that allowed them to go on to the national championship game. We love being able to interact with people in our community, whether it's individuals, whether it's teams, whether it's groups, and our guys have really, really embraced that, especially in the off season.

Q. Real quick I just wanted to ask you about Andre Robinson, the true freshman running back from McDevitt, how has his camp been and what do you see from him so far?

COACH FRANKLIN: Good. Really, really good. There's a number of -- I made the comment before, you know, I think we probably have 12 to 16 other freshman that I think we could legitimately play with this year and could win from week one. You know, some of those guys that started right now, as we've all heard those discussed as reds; they could change to yellows or could go from yellows to greens real quickly. He's had a great camp, he's got great vision. He's got really, really good balance. He's got extremely strong lower body, extremely. Does not go down easy whatsoever. But there's still some areas that he needs to improve. But I expect him to have a really bright future here. He's doing great socially. He's doing great academically, laying a really good foundation for future success. I must say I miss all you guys that are calling in that are not here in person.

Q. We appreciate that, I'm sure. Josh had a lot of praise for Chris Godwin, said before camp started that he was the team top receiver during the spring. What were the most important things you see from Godwin that helped him earn the starting job?

COACH FRANKLIN: You know, I think the thing that probably stands out the most is the things that we see every day that the media and the fans and even our opponents don't get to see. He is a very, very, very intelligent young man, on the field and off. He's a very, very mature young man. That's what allowed him to play as a true freshman last year, not just his physical ability, but his maturity and how he handles himself, and I think all those things are showing up even more this year. Ended the season with a real strong bowl game, as we all know. But you know, if you had a list of characteristics that you were looking for, body type, speed, hands, maturity, intelligence, you know, all those types of things, he's going to have a checkbox. He's going to have a checkmark in almost every single one of those boxes. He gets it. He really does. He's really doing well in school. He's maximizing his opportunities in the community and on the football field. I've just been really, really pleased with him. You know, I saw his family here recently and trying to convince them to have more children. I think you guys have heard me say this before, maybe send them on a romantic vacation to the Poconos or Atlantic City or something like that, because he is a sharp, sharp kid. And you know, it's not easy raising kids nowadays, and they've done a great job laying a foundation for him. Work ethic, you know, positive attitude, all those things we talk about all the time.

Q. You talked in the past about last year the part around Christian needing to, I guess, upgrade or kind of mesh better with him. How did that go in training camp? How did you see the rest of the offense blending with Christian this year?

COACH FRANKLIN: I feel much better about it, and I see Christian so much more relaxed and so much more confident right now as a player and as a leader because of that. He's really taken control of the offense and that side of the ball. We've also spent a lot of time talking about our captains being the captains of our whole team and not just on offense and defensive special teams, but be willing to lead across this side of the ball as well. But I do, I think you look at our wide receivers, all those guys are back. You know, the depth, the body types, the talent, the athleticism that we have, the understanding of the offense and their responsibilities, feel good about that. Same thing at tight end. Feel really good about, you know, the play makers that we have there. Gesicki played last year as a true freshman; now he's a veteran. On our team he's a veteran, 255 pounds now, is much more confident in playing and fulfilling the complete role of a tight end. Feel really good about our running back situation. I think Akeel gives us a veteran presence, but we have four really hungry guys behind him that have the ability to make plays as well. And then the offensive line, you know, that we've all talked about a great deal, I think is built on their foundation that they laid in the bowl game, which they were really scrappy in that game and fought to find ways to allow the offense and Christian to have some success and we saw how that worked out. So they're building on that. What I really like is I do see the other four returning starters really taking an active role in Paris's success, and allowing him to play with more confidence and take some of the thinking out of it by making calls, making front identifications and things like that.

Q. Your kicking game, your place kickers, how close is he competition between Joey and his backups and what does he have to do to maybe take the next step in your eyes? How's he doing so far in camp?

COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think, you know, it's interesting. We chart every single kick. So we chart what hash it's on, the distance of the kick, the operation time in terms of the snap to the kick when it gets off, so it won't get locked. We have a net; whether it's a live kicking situation or whether it's just on air, there's a net that simulates guys jumping up to block it that has to get to a certain height. You know, we chart it all. And it's very close. I mean you're talking about probably over 250 kicks, and I want to say it's, you know, within a percentage or two of two of them. Joey right now is in the lead. Tyler is a little bit older, a little bit more mature, a little bit more seasoned. But it's very, very close. And you know, the thing that we were just having a discussion before I came over here, you have all these discussions preseason, and game week you go out there in warmups and you say, okay, going in this direction towards the student section, what do we have to get to to be in field goal range, and going away from the student section, what yard line do we have to be to get in field goal range and that deals with weather, that deals with wind, that deals with a lot of things that go into it. And to be honest with you, right now, with Joey I don't know if there's a difference. I don't know if there's a difference whether it's a 28-yard field goal or whether it's a 58-yard field goal. You know, his percentage of hitting and percentage of missing doesn't really change a whole lot. That's probably the one thing I would say with him that he needs to work on is kickers are usually very routine oriented, guys that, you know, are very specific about how they step off their approach, how they hit the ball, even little mannerisms they do, and Joe's more like I would probably characterize him more like Babe Ruth. I mean he just grabs the bat, walk off and smack it. And I like that part of him but I also know if he could have a little bit more of that detail-oriented approach that most kickers or very similar to a golfer, you know, really working on their swing and the consistency in their swing and those types of things, I think would be helpful for him. But I do like the fact that if I go to Joe and say, Joe, we got a 61-yard field goal, can you hit it, there is no doubt in my mind that Joe's going to say no doubt and he'll be running on the field before I even call it. So I like that confidence that he has in himself, and what I think he needs to embrace is just, you know, that approach of being a detail-oriented guy and come up with an SOP, you know, a standard operating procedure of how he goes about his business every single day.

Q. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about Anthony Zettel. First one, how have you seen him evolve as a leader and a teammate in your time there; and No. 2, how has he been dealing with the fact that his dad has been suffering from cancer?

COACH FRANKLIN: The first part, you know, the personal part I'm not going to get into a whole lot of that. Again, I try to leave a lot of these guys' personal businesses, whether it's their family or health, let them handle that how they would want to handle that. I know Anthony opened up in an article recently and I thought it was a beautiful article, I thought it was very well written that allowed people to get to know Anthony on a personal level. But to me that's for Anthony to share. I'm really, really proud of him and how he has handled things this summer. Had a chance to call his dad a few times and visit with him. I do know one of the challenges and one of the things I will share with you is one of the things he got to experience this summer is his sister got married and they moved the wedding date up. So I just, you know, we're here to support him every step of the way. I think he's grown in a lot of different ways, as we all know. He's kind of a crazy, lovable guy, got a lot of personality. Not afraid to show you his personality. Got an interesting background where he's from and how he got to Penn State. I think he's earned everybody's respect in our program by how he works and how he approaches things, and obviously his performance on the field is, I beg to argue, is second to none. So I'm really, really proud of him. I think he's a guy that's come to Penn State, maximized his experience here. He's still got some work to do to finish this thing out the way he wants to finish this thing. But he's seen a lot, been through a lot in a short period of time and has handled a lot of things better than I think most of us would.

Q. Paris Palmer, because of the position that he's going to be playing and all the talk about the offensive lines, he's probably going to be facing a little more scrutiny than the normal junior transfer playing his first major college game. Could you talk a little bit about what kind of a kid he is and how you think he will respond to maybe criticism, scrutiny, the fish bowl, the big crowd that he's never seen before?

COACH FRANKLIN: Well, hopefully he doesn't have to deal with a whole lot of that because we put him in a position to be successful. I would also hope if there's criticism that the criticism comes on me and not on players. When things go well, I want them to get all the praise and when things don't go well, you know, that's my job. So we're going to try and do as much as we can which is difficult in social media now to try to limit those things. But it's challenging. But you know, I think you guys probably got a little bit of a glimpse and chance to see him and you look at the -- you look at when he committed and you know, the statement that he put out when he committed to Penn State. I mean it was powerful and it was well thought out. It was deep and it was genuine. And that's kind of how he's been. He's earned everybody's respect in our program by the way he's worked, though he's gotten a lot bigger, a lot stronger, he's probably 275, 276 when he got here. He fluctuates right around 300 pounds, from 302 to 297, depending on lunch. I was worried the other day, I went over to the Union with Coach Galt, and it was packed like I've never seen it before. Actually, this morning, you know, I drove my daughters to school for the first day of school, and you know, I'm not really used to that, to be honest with you. I'm used to driving in early in the morning and there's no traffic and the lights are blinking because it's usually before 6:00. There is traffic in state college. You know, you go to the union and you go from having maybe 3,000 students on campus to 45,000 students on campus or whatever it is and now these guys gotta navigate how to get lunch in between classes and still get to football on time. But he's handled all of it, all of it really well. And again I think the fact that we're all back as a staff and four of the offensive line men are back and have to understand in the offense all those things helps with his transition. And I believe that.

Q. I imagine it could be tricky when you're taking over a spot for a guy like Mike Hull to try to be too much like Mike Hull. Are you pleased so far with the job Nyeem Wartman-White has done kind of making that linebacker spot his own, leading the group his own way?

COACH FRANKLIN: Let me start by saying, as we all know, Mike Hull was a special player for us, and we told all the NFL people that the guy was special, and he got a little bit overlooked because of the eyeball test when he walks in the room. But if you follow what he's doing in Miami, the guy's finding a way to continue to have success, and I'm really, really proud of him. But yeah, replacing him was going to be a challenge. I think Nyeem has done a great job, but again, besides just Nyeem, it's the whole group. It's Cabinda, it's Bell, it's Nyeem, it's Von Walker, it's Gary Wooten. It's all those guys that are going to play and factor in for us. To think you're going to, you know, take a Mike Hull out of the equation and replace him with this one specific person and replace the impact and the production that he had, I don't think that's realistic, and we haven't really approached it that way. So overall I've been pleased. You know, the one thing I think that Nyeem does bring to the table that maybe even Mike didn't is Nyeem is about a cheeseburger away from 250 pounds. And then Cabinda; they're big, strong guys in there, where Mike was able to get a lot of his stuff done, you know, with his movement, his change of direction and his quickness and his instincts. You know, so I think in some ways between the tackles we may even be more stacked.

Q. Without having Adam there, how does that impact the tight end position? You obviously lost Jesse. How are things shaping up kind of there without him?

COACH FRANKLIN: I think you'd like to have four, but we do have three we feel pretty good about. You know, I think Wilkerson has had a strong camp, really worked hard in the off season and has really helped himself and helped our team.

I think we talked about Mike already, just the fact that he's so much bigger and stronger. I think that's going to be helpful for solving some of those issues. And then Kyle Carter, who's kind of the savvy vet, has played a lot of football here. So I feel really good about those three. You know, hopefully we stay injury free and don't need to either, you know, have to burn a red shirt or something like that, but we feel good about the three that we have, but there's no doubt that you'd love to have Adam available for this week and you'd love to have his play-making abilities, as well as his maturity. He's one of the more positive guys in our program, one of the better leaders, one of the more natural leaders I think we got.

Q. You earlier talked about the pieces around Hack. What about Hack himself, going back to the last game, bowl game, which he played very well, right through camp? What specifically do you think he's improved?

COACH FRANKLIN: I think the thing, like I said before, I would describe him as much more relaxed, much more confident, not really in himself, but in the offense, the players around him. I think, you know, like I had mentioned before, it's hard for guys to be the type of leaders they're capable of being last year when they don't know the defense inside and out; they don't know the offense inside and out; they don't know the special teams inside and out. So how do you take control of that in the off season when you don't really know it that well. So I've seen him, I've seen him take so much more ownership in what we're trying to do, the trust that he has in the coaches and the trust that the coaches have in him, they're putting a little bit more on his plate in terms of the run game as well as the pass game and protection. So I've been pleased. I think he's had a really strong camp. I know he feels good about it. We've had a number of conversations. I know he feels good about it as well. You know, but we still got some work to do. The thing we gotta do is we gotta go out, have a great week of practice and then play well on Saturday and then come back in Saturday night and Sunday morning and look at how we can refine it, what are the areas that we can improve, what are the things that we can build upon. And you know, I think he's in a good place right now physically, mentally, emotionally, the whole deal.

Q. Two-part question. First wanted to clarify, do you anticipate getting Breneman back at some point in the season, and secondly, you said experience. I'm curious what the main difference is this season with your receivers and your tight ends and how they've matured.

COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, I mean the second part of the question, I think is what you said, they're bigger, they're stronger, they're more mature. They know the offense better. They chemistry with the quarterback and all the throwing in the off season, it's not anything dramatic, just more natural, you know, growth and maturity that happens. Adam, again, you know, I don't know. I can't speak on that. I'm not going to get into a whole lot of details about it anyway, but I can't speak on that. As we all know, everybody kind of handles situations differently. Everybody's body reacts differently. So I'm not sure.

Q. Just kind of segueing off of that question in a sense of with all the weapons that you do have on offense, do you expect to rely on the tight ends more heavily than recent years or can you just talk a bit about that?

COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think, you know, as you guys know, the weapons are important from a developmental standpoint. But again, you know, this game is played in this league and most of the major leagues across the country are played up front. It's how well are you on the defensive line, how well are you on the offensive line. If you look those times when a Division I, what I still call Division I would play a 1AA. Those games would usually be pretty close, especially a good 1AA. Where the difference is is on the O line and D line. Those teams usually get wore down as the game goes on. I think that's where the tight ends can help. They can help with the running game, they can help with the pass game, more so than they did last year. They bought into the blocking aspect of their jobs. They've gotten more physically prepared to be able to do that as well, which should help our offensive line out and should help our passing game because our run game I think has a chance to be a much bigger factor in our season, which will take pressure off a lot.

Q. Even though you guys flew across the world last year to open up, what's been your experience in gearing up for an opening game in terms of coming out of camp and how fresh the team is, and how you guys look to this point?

COACH FRANKLIN: I think the biggest thing is I like consistency, so we're going to do a similar thing as we did last year. We're going to fly to the Temple game, and we're going to do about 12 connections on the way. So we're going to fly to Boston and then Chicago and be on a sleepover with a 300-carrier plane, because I like the consistency that it creates. Obviously kidding. But I do think -- I do think, you know, going through that experience last year, although it was painful in some ways, I do think it really helped our staff get adjusted to Penn State and all of the things necessary to travel. Obviously a home game in our own state is going to make things a lot easier. Our people go out in the summer and they go visit all these hotels ahead of time and make sure that we have all the wrinkles ironed out and the discussions -- we typically don't stay at a hotel or travel to a place that hasn't had an NFL or college team before. And then I think our team in general, you know, we have so many more players at this point that have played in games, played in the system. And I think it helps. You know, opening games are still opening games. You're never sure -- you never completely know what you're going to get until you get out there. But I think with our staff kind of understanding Penn State better and how we travel as well as our team understanding -- even our Friday night routine, our Saturday morning routine. All those things I think will help.

Q. Dovetailing off of that question, how excited is your team after a long camp ready to finally play somebody that's not wearing blue?

COACH FRANKLIN: I think they're really excited. I think, you know, you get to that point, you know, where you're ready for camp to start, you're excited for that. You're sick of running around in your shorts in the off season. And then once camp starts, you're excited about that. Then after you're in camp for a couple of weeks, you're ready to play someone else. I would say that myself and the staff and the team is in a much better position this year than last year. Last year we were excited to play the first game, but I think we could have also used another two weeks of preparation. I don't feel that way as much. I feel like our staff and our players are ready to play this game. We need the rest of this week to clean a few things up, but I feel good. I feel good about where we're at, and I feel good about our off-season approach. But I do think our guys are ready to get out there and play. I do know we're playing a Temple team that's confident. The way they played this last year, the way they should have went to a bowl last year. You know, I think we're playing a confident Temple team as well. You know, there's a sign in our football locker room, just like there is in probably almost every football program in the country, which is "Fear None But Respect All." And that's our approach.

Q. Do you think you guys kind of got ahead of the curve a little bit with some of the true freshmen last year, not only playing them, but playing them as much as you did, nine guys and a handful of them got a lot of starts, and the second part of that would be what do you think that does for inner-player bond, team unity for veterans to see true freshmen play and be counted on like they were last year?

COACH FRANKLIN: Obviously I think it helped for this year, but at times it was painful last year, you know, that we were relying on so many young guys in so many key spots. So yeah, I think that does help. You know, it's interesting because I do think it helps build relationships and chemistry with the older players and younger players, but I would also tell you that it can also create some challenges. You got Miles Diffenbach, who told me a story last year, that when he showed up, he was fifth team on the depth chart and didn't even really get a rep in practice, and our freshmen showed up last year and they were second team and taking almost as many reps as he was in practice. And I think there's a little bit, you know, in football, a rite of passage, you know, that you're sent to the scout team for a year and you earn your stripes down there and then kind of come up, where our guys, we didn't really have the ability to do that. So yeah, I think there's the ability of these guys playing that allows the older guys and the young guys to form a bond and connect, but I also think that some of them old guys say, you know, Penn State's a blue-collar program and you come in and you earn your stripes. And you know, that was a lot of the different dynamics that we had going on last year that maybe we hadn't had in the past.

Q. How would you evaluate Carl Nassib?

COACH FRANKLIN: I am a huge Carl Nassib fan, huge Carl Nassib fan. He's to me what everything that's right about our country; he's to me everything that's right about college athletics. He's to me everything that's right about Penn State and Penn State football. I've said it before, we're talking about a guy who's majoring in premed and killing it. You're talking about a guy who walked on here at 6'5, 218 pounds; now he's 6-7, 278 pounds, and I think he could still put on more weight, big, he's strong, violent. He's aggressive. But he runs well. He's dependable. I think he's going to have a huge year for us. I love the guy. I think the team gets sick of me talking about him, because I constantly use him as examples for some of his peers as well as some of the young players in the room that if you believe in yourself and you got great work ethic and you're driven, you know, then you got a chance to do some special things. He's a guy, you know, I'll get text messages from 2, 3:00 in the morning, you know, about what winning means to him. I mean you know, I love him. I love him. I wish we could clone more of him. I love the guy.

Q. And Jordan Lucas is a guy, you said in one of your interviews that he's somebody you really saw kind of turn the corner as far as a leader and his maturity. What have you seen from him through camp as far as leading secondary where there are some of those younger guys?

COACH FRANKLIN: I think he's doing a much better job of leading. I do. Next question.

Q. DeAndre Thompkins is listed as a first-stringer. What do you see from him? What improvements has he made? And also John Donovan is listed in the booth. Will he be in the booth or on the field?COACH FRANKLIN: DeAndre is stronger now. He's gotten a lot bigger, much more confident in his assignments. I think you're going to see him with much more of a chance to show up on offense with his speed. I think you're going to see him as well and have ability to make some plays in space. But I think he's a great example of why redshirting works sometimes and why it's the right model for some kids. John Donovan, you know, that was something that I brought up in the summer, and we wanted to make sure that everybody was okay with it, probably late in the summer, and Hack was okay with it. I just think -- I don't think there's any doubt that the best place to call a game from is in the booth. You're away from the emotion of the game. You got the best view of what's actually happening on the field. You know, you can take notes. You know, you can study tendencies. You just -- it's just a better environment, in my opinion. But in the past we've had Ricky in the booth as well. So I did think the conversation and the communication on the sideline with Hack is critical, but the only way I thought it would make sense is if Ricky came down to the sideline, and Hack was in agreement with that and okay with that, so was John and so was Ricky. The other thing is you also want to look at your environment on the sideline, do you have strong voices, you know, from a leadership perspective as well as from an adjustment perspective as well. You know, having Herb Hand on the sideline, I would say probably as well as you guys would, we have a strong voice on the sideline, a strong and loud voice on the sideline. Herb can handle a run game and protection adjustments. You got Josh Gattis handling all substitution and personnel on the sideline and passing game adjustments. And you got Ricky Rahne getting on the headset in between series with John and Hack and talking through things together. So I think this is the ideal situation of how I think we probably should do it and that's why we made that decision.

Q. You mentioned earlier rites of passage. Is Saquon going through a similar rite of passage and what potential do you see in him this season with diversity at the running back?

COACH FRANKLIN: I would say all the true freshmen that are playing, I think we have four of them we've identified, Saquon and one of them; Juwan Johnson I think is one of them. John Reid is one of them. And the fourth, Brandon Polk. So I think all of them are kind of going through that. And I think you can handle a lot of the different ways. You can say, okay, early on you're going to get a handful of reps and it'll be a specific role that you'll fulfill. But whether it's, you know, running back you'll play on first and second down, but you won't play on third down where you'll maybe get more exotic blitzes and pressures. Whether it's a receiver handling certain plays, whether it's a corner, again, maybe being in on first and second down, but not third down or maybe not in the red zone or whatever it may be. You look at these different things and try to play to their strengths, and what you're really hoping for with these young players is that not that they're, you know, 100 percent ready to play against Temple, that they have a role against Temple, but by game five, these guys aren't freshmen anymore. They're veterans and they're ready to go. You know, and then you may have a couple other guys who came out of the yellow category and became greens, and maybe by the fourth or fifth game they're now playing a role and now by game eight or nine now they're veterans. So yeah, I do think there's a little bit of that. The speed of the game, the complexity of the game is completely different than what they're used to in high school. But I would also say that we wouldn't be playing any of these guys if we felt like they were significantly deficient in an area, if we felt like mentally they weren't ready to play or emotionally they weren't ready to play or physically they weren't ready to play, you know, any of those types of things, then you probably wouldn't. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but we felt like all those guys bring enough to the table that we thought it was in our best interest as an organization to play them as well as their best interest, and every decision we make is really based upon that, what's, No. 1, what's the best interest of the team, then No. 2, what's the best interest of the individual.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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