Penn State head coach James Franklin addressed a crowded Beaver Stadium media room on Monday afternoon to discuss preparations for the upcoming 2014 season. Monday marked the first official day of training camp. The Nittany Lions will practice for the next three weeks before traveling to Dublin, Ireland to take on the Central Florida Knights in the Croke Park Classic.
Coach Franklin talked about a variety of topics relating to how the team plans to prepare for the season. Without getting into specifics of how the camp will be run, Franklin did say that he and the coaching staff need to maximize the amount of time they are given with the players. Franklin said they will use as much time is allowed and to everything according to Big Ten and NCAA rules.
Franklin did divulge the point at the focus in camp will switch from a traditional training camp to game preparation for the Golden Knights. “About two weeks into camp we will flip the script and start preparing for Central Florida.”
He also noted that while how training camp will be planned out as much as possible, things always change. “We plan out ahead and over time based on many variables, we’ll tweak and adjust practice- cut back, cancel, modify, have extra meeting time, or decide to turn practice into a walk-through.”
Much of the talk surrounding the Nittany Lions this offseason has been the lack of depth and experience on the offense line. Franklin admitted that another big problem on the offensive line is body type and a lack of flexibility in positions.
According to Franklin, he plans to develop an offense that will help the line and make use of the running game. He also intends to do things to help quarterback Christian Hackenberg get rid of the ball faster, taking pressure off of the line.
Things will be a work in progress for the Nittany Lions this season, especially early on. However, even though some players are now on their fourth head coach in four seasons, Franklin doesn’t think there is a big difference in the offensive system that he is going to run compared to the one former head coach Bill O’Brien had in place the last two years.
“We run a similar system with a lot of the same concepts. There’s a lot of carry-over between the two.”
Penn State is still under NCAA sanctions that include a ban from postseason play. While they can’t compete in the Big Ten Championship, the Nittany Lions can still compete to win the Big Ten East division.
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