Franklin Talks Spring Ball, Blue-White, More During Monday Presser

Story posted March 15, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Andrew Field

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State head coach James Franklin met with the media on Monday afternoon to talk about the start of spring practice, new coaching hires, injury updates and more. Here are some quotes and highlights from the presser.

An Increase in Team Physicality and the Adjustment of New Coaching Hires

Franklin began with comparing the differences in this year's team to that of seasons past, and one thing that stood out was the size.

“From a physical standpoint, this is the biggest team we’ve had,” Franklin said.

In terms of weight, Franklin said that the 24- pound average of the team is the heaviest during his time at Penn State.

Franklin was pleased with the new additions of Mike Yurcich, Anthony Poindexter and Ty Howle to the coaching staff.

“I feel really good about all three of those moves we made in the offseason,” Franklin said. “Not only have they jumped in with both feet from a football perspective, but they’ve culturally been great fits as well.”

He went on to say how he thinks that the staff has taken an “aggressive approach” this offseason and that they’ve been able to keep the same terminology as staffs prior, which has helped the veteran members of the team stay comfortable.

Plans on the Blue-White Game

There is still no date for Penn State’s annual Blue-White Game, which is usually played in April.

Franklin commented on the potential status of the game.

“There are some discussions going on with that at the university level,” Franklin said.

There is no word on whether the game will be played and if fans will be in attendance.

“I think for us, our entire focus is on what can we do to best position us for next year,” Franklin said.

The head coach mentioned getting back as close to normal for next season, and that he thinks things are trending in that direction.

Last year’s spring game was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update on Noah Cain

Running back Noah Cain, who suffered a season ending injury on the opening drive against Indiana, is hopeful to return to spring practice.

“We fully expect him back,” Franklin said. “When that is, it’s hard to say.”

Franklin later mentioned that a potential timetable for the second half of spring practice is when he hopes for Cain to strap the pads back on.

Is the Team Motivated After Last Season’s Result?

The 2020 Penn State Football team finished with it’s first losing record since 2004 at 4-5. The Nittany Lions did however end the season on a four-game winning streak after losing the first five. There were both positive and negative aspects to take away from the nine-game season.

“There’s tremendous lessons to be learned from last year,” Franklin said.

He went on to say that there was no chip on this team’s shoulder after last season, but in general, in terms of coaching specifically, he is always motivated and  “ raring to go.”

“Obviously last year was an unbelievable opportunity to grow and learn and be challenged in a way that we’ve never been challenged before,” Franklin said.

He mentioned being honest with the coaches and the staff from last season and even more honest with himself.

“For me, I probably grew as much both personally and professionally in 26 years of doing this,” Franklin said.

Franklin’s Family is Back

Last season was difficult for the team not only in terms of the ups and downs of COVID-19, a long losing streak, and season-ending injuries but also a tough period of time for Franklin; he lived at home alone for multiple months without his family.

Now, they are back in State College, but Franklin still can’t live in the same house, and as a result, he lives in an apartment over the garage.

“About the most contact I have is, I’ll go over when I get home from work,” Franklin said. “I stand at a different window in the house with my hood up and mask up until someone notices, and I usually scare the heck out of them and they scream and then we laugh.”

With spring ball starting today, Penn State usually has 15 practices with the final one culminating in the Blue-White game. Whether that plan is carried out remains to be seen, but surely there will be more updates and news in the coming weeks.

 

Andrew Field is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email aaf5329@psu.edu.