Penn State Football: James Franklin Pinstripe Bowl Press Conference Recap


Although the 2014 regular season if finished, the Penn State Nittany Lions have one more game to prepare for. The Nittany Lions will meet the Boston College Eagles on December 27 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Head coach James Franklin and the team welcomed the media on Saturday for Media Day.

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The coaching staff, along with several players, headed over to the Beaver Stadium Media Room after practice to talk to the press about the upcoming game.

Before getting into details on preparations, Franklin talked about the challenge of facing Boston College and the opportunity for fans to travel to a location that is not very far away.

"“Playing Boston College and Coach (Steve) Addazio is a really good challenge for us. I think the location is great, especially starting out the season in Ireland. That’s going to make it affordable and a great opportunity for our fans to travel and see that game. “"

Below are some of the highlights of Franklin’s talk with the media ahead of the Pinstripe Bowl. A transcript of the press conference can be found at

I was wondering if you could tell us about how productive the first handful of practices have been, and maybe some specifics on what you’re doing to try to get some of these young guys a little bit better.

JF: Yeah, I think they’ve been very productive. It’s great to see these guys that have been on scout team basically for the entire year to now getting some legitimate reps in practice. So basically we’ll go five reps with the first team on both offense and defense. We’ll go four reps with the twos, and then we’ll get three reps with the threes. Typically during the season you’re just working the ones and the twos against the scout teams. So, the fact that they’re all getting a chance to work is really good.

We’ve also had some younger guy scrimmages. So what we’ll do, say we’re going helmets and shoulder pads. We’ll go full pads for the non travel guys, and every once in a while we’ll scrimmage them. We’ll scrimmage them at the end of practice, just 10 plays, talking 10 minutes, 10 12 plays. Today we did a skelly for those guys as well. You’re working the punters in. You’re working the back up kickers in and seeing what they can do and create some pressure environments for them at the end of practice as well. Just to give some of those young guys an opportunity.

So the way I kind of look at this period before we get into the specific bowl prep, it’s 50 50. It’s 50 percent concluding the end of last season, and it’s 50 percent getting a head start on spring ball is kind of the way we look at it. So far, so good. I think the other thing probably that’s important is we’re getting some guys back. You look at that last game of the year , we played with 41 scholarship players, so the fact that we’re getting some of those guys back healthy and into the game plan and into the depth chart has been really helpful as well.

In 2013, you got a chance to see Tyler Murphy in action while he was at Florida. Is there anything you took away from his game that can help you prepare for this match up now? I know it was a couple years ago, but anything you saw that can help you prepare the team?

JF: No, we have enough film (from this season). You don’t really need to go back to 2013. We have enough film based on this year and the entire season to be able to break it down, which we think are the best games to evaluate them; similar offenses and defenses and stuff like that. There is no doubt he’s been really important for them. He’s been a big part of their success. A big part of their offense. He’s a kid that went away, but came home and has done a nice job for them. He’s going to be a major factor in the game and in the running game. 

How important are these practices for an offensive line that didn’t come together until late in the season and to get game experience playing together?

JF: Yeah, I think it’s really important because you have those redshirt guys. Especially the redshirt guys that have been on scout team that you’re able to start working those guys back in as well. It’s even the meeting time. A lot of times those guys were in scout meetings trying to learn how to run the opposing offense or opposing defense. And now they’re in those meeting sessions as well. They’re getting a bunch of one on one reps. As we all know, the development of our offensive line is critical to our success moving forward. You’d love to be able to coaches have always talked about trying to get a rule in place where the bowl game is kind of not really connected to the season, and you can play pretty much everybody in the bowl game and it not count against eligibility, that’s never gone through, but it’s always been a discussion point, because you’d love to be able to play some of these guys in that situation. But, they’ve done a nice job. You think about the (Brendan) Brosnans and the Noah Behs, and the Chance Sorrells, and the Chasz Wrights of the world. We’re excited about those guys and their future.