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December 18, 2015

James Franklin

Terry Smith

Josh Gattis

University Park, Pennsylvania

COACH FRANKLIN: Happy holidays, if I don't get a chance to see everybody before the holidays get started. Hope everybody enjoys time with their friends and family.

Real quickly before we get into the specifics of the Bowl. Really proud of the guys that we have got graduating this weekend, which is what it's all about. Matt Baney, Tarow Barney, Adam Breneman, Derek Dowrey, Malik Golden, Austin Johnson, Jake Kiley, Eugene Lewis, Angelo Manning with a master's degree which is awesome, Carl Nassib, Nyeem Wartman-White, Trevor Williams, Gary Wooten, Anthony Zettel. And then Chaz Powell who finished his eligibility in 2011 and been driving back and forth for the last year to finish up his degree and has, so really proud of him. Want to thank the administration for being supportive of him and allowing him to come back and finish his degree. That's been great.

We'll practice today. We'll give the guys off tomorrow. In my past, we've practiced on that Saturday but last year, it just caused some issues with guys that really wanted to spend time with their family after graduation. So we won't practice on graduation days any more, even though it was early in the morning and then we'll practice again on Sunday, Monday and then give the guys off for Christmas before we travel.

So the Bowl game, tremendous opportunity to play a storied program like the University of Georgia. I was very impressed with Coach McClendon in the time that I got a chance to spend with him at the press conference. It's going to be great having some of our guys back.

Obviously we missed Carl Nassib. The end of the year, he really didn't play the last three games of the year, so having him back, we're excited about that opportunity. I know him and Kris are thankful to be back in State College because their last week and a half was a whirlwind flying all over the country. I want to thank Kris. She's done a great job for us all year long, and did a great job with Carl last week helping him go all over the country and win all his awards.

Georgia. You know, they are a talented team, big, long, athletic. You look at them on defense, they have the No. 1 pass defense in the country. Offensively, they are big and physical. Their tailback has had a really, really good year and is going to be a challenge for us and then the thing that really jumps out to us that is going to be a concern is special teams.

Special teams, they have been really impressive. Their wide receiver, No. 16, Isaiah McKenzie, 5-8, 170-pound sophomore, he's been electric was a returner, so that's going to be a real focus for us the next week and a half is trying to contain him, as well.

Great opportunity. We have over 30,000 Penn State graduates in the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina area. It's going to be great to see the blue and white down there in Jacksonville, Florida. And we're excited. I thought our last practice, this was one of the better practices that we've had, probably since camp, going good on good, and we made it competitive.

It sounds silly, but we made the team period for five push-ups, the loser had five push-ups, and five push-ups is a major motivator. Guys got after it. It was a very spirited, very competitive practice. We're going to do that again today. Today will be the first day that we'll start to formally implement some of the Georgia plan and then Sunday we will flip to Georgia and go back to scout teams and things like that.

So looking forward to the opportunity. Should be a great game. And excited to go watch our guys go out and compete for the last time as the 2015 football family. Open it up to questions.

Q. Have you had a chance to sit down with Hack and Austin and talk about their respective futures and have they sought out official evaluations from the NFL to see where they might go?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yes, I met with both of those guys, I guess it was two weeks ago. Had really good meetings with them. You know, we have some services that we provide for our families, as well as the players, to get some information. They both have applied for information from the NFL, as well.

So, yeah, that's an ongoing process and have met with both of them, and then you know, what we basically decided more than anything, is just like everything else at Penn State, we want to have a plan and be organized and whatever we decide, it's not going to be just someone coming out and throwing something out mid week on a Tweet. It's going to be something that we are going to try to do together and do it the way they want it to be done, and also is going to represent Penn State the right way.

We are still working through those details and really, still working through some of the answers.

Q. I didn't get a chance to ask you this the other day, but Joe Moorhead, as far as a recruiter, got pretty rave reviews. What's his recruiting territory going to be, and how do you see him working with your staff?
COACH FRANKLIN: At this point we haven't really identified that. Obviously you want to play to guys' strengths, and then also for the coordinators, you'd like to have maybe a little bit smaller area and a little bit more of a regional area, just because of their other responsibilities.

At this point of the recruiting process, we are more concerned about finishing off this class, so his responsibility right now is to build relationships with our current commits and guys that we're still involved with, and he's already started doing some evaluation of the 2017 guys that we were involved with.

Specific areas and things like that, we haven't got into those specifics. Andy Frank has already started working on that, some different possibilities for him, as well as what we think makes the most sense for Penn State. But we haven't specifically identified those things.

One of the challenges is him and Bob have a similar background and they are both coordinators, so it's hard for them both to kind of recruit obviously the same area.

Q. So your specific impressions of Brian McClendon, I was wondering what those were, and also, what kind of an opportunity is this for him to be the interim head coach against a program like this, for a program like that?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, really nice guy, really sharp guy. Obviously he's got a long history with the University of Georgia.

For whatever reason, our paths had not crossed a whole lot before this. But I think it's a great opportunity. Whether it's being an interim head coach or it's being a head coach, it's one of those deals, as an assistant, until you do it, you think you understand, but you really don't until you're in that seat. You can do as much preparing as you want, but until you're responsible for all those things and wearing all those hats, it kind of changes your perspective on things.

Hopefully he'll have a chance here to be a head coach soon, but I do know going through this experience will really help him have a different perspective on things as a coach. We'll see. But I look forward to interacting with him and his staff and his players all week long. But first impression was a great impression.

Q. How many times have you guys practiced so far between the time the season ended and now?
COACH FRANKLIN: I want to say, seven, six or seven.

Q. Back during the bye week, you talked about the red-shirt freshmen offensive linemen and their progressions, and I'm sure you've gotten to see plenty of them, and even the freshmen guys so far during the practices. What have some of your takeaways been? Have you seen improvement you were expecting to see?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, Ryan Bates is a guy I think I mentioned to you guys earlier, that we actually, there was a time there, we were thinking about maybe burning his shirt. He's done some really nice things in one-on-one session. He's done some really nice things in team periods, in competitive periods, against AJ and Zettel and those guys.

Right now, we have him working almost predominately at center. But I think he's a more natural guard. But that center experience is valuable for him in terms of, you know, creating flexibility for us and really kind of taking control from a leadership standpoint. But he's now just under 300 pounds, about 297 pounds I think, so now he's put himself in position where he's big and strong enough to do it.

Gonzalez is a guy that we're excited about. He's about 330 pounds right now, which is about where he was when he arrived, except the weight is different. So if you look at his body fat percentages and things like that, they really changed. He's a powerful guy. He's a guy that can really get movement and create space. Great double teams and things like that. So excited about those two guys.

And then the other guy that I think has really done some nice things for us, is -- I'm lost for a name right now,6-8,330 pounds, Sterling Jenkins, thank you very much. Sterling is probably one of our most improved guys. A lot of times, the guys that are that long, they are not very strong in the weight room. He is really strong in the weight room for a guy with almost 34-inch arms. And his pass sets have really improved.

He still needs to be more physical. That's an aspect that I think is going to continue to grow. But he's got really, really light feet. He's very athletic. When he uses his hands, he's got a good punch. But those three guys, as true freshmen during the red-shirt period, have really improved. And then the other guys, as well, that are red-shirt freshmen that are coming on, like the Noah Behs and things like that that we've talked about, Chance Sorrell, those guys I think have really taken another step, as well.

So, you know, those guys are exciting for our future down the road, in terms of the depth and the size and the size and the experience that we are looking for on the offensive line. Is that kind of what you were looking for.

Q. Saw you on TV at the Home Depot Awards with Carl. Is that the only one you went to? What were your impressions and what was it like to see Carl night after night after night in contention for these awards and what it meant to him and the program?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, it was really cool. Carl is graduating with a biology degree. What we tried to do, just between recruiting and other responsibilities, practice and things like that, we kind of split it up. Kris pretty much went to everything. And then I was going to make the ones that I could make, and then we had some other plans, as well, just to make sure there was somebody with Carl at all these different events, and then his family were able to make it to some. Some of these events don't pay for the families to go, others do; so it makes it difficult for some guys to get their family members there.

But I'm trying to remember the ones I went to. Kris, you may know that better, I think I went to the Bednarik Award, I went to Bednarik, Nagurski Award, those two, and then you did the rest of them. And then obviously the ESPN Awards, as well, went to that one.

It was great spending time with Carl. When you've got 125 guys on the team, you don't get to spend enough time, individual time, with each one of them. But as we all all know, he's an interesting guy, he really is.

I have a lot of respect for Carl and all the things that he's been able to accomplish, and one of the things that I love the most about him is Carl is one of these guys that's very, very comfortable in his own skin and who he is. You know, the type of student he is, the type of person he is, the type of player he is, how passionate he is, how motivated he is, how much he cares about Penn State and his teammates.

He's a guy that really took this whole Penn State experience and ran with it. Really proud of him. It was also cool to watch him kind of interact with all those other players at the different national awards. Got a chance to introduce him to a lot of people. He Tweeted out a picture of him and Coach Switzer. Me and Coach Switzer have gotten to know each other fairly well the last couple years, so I got a chance to introduce him to him, and he enjoyed that. All the other players; we sat right behind McCaffrey and his mom and dad at the ESPN Awards, so it was good getting a chance to spend some time with them.

I think Carl kind of had an "aha! moment." I think it's one thing that, you know, you're leading the country in sacks and tackles for loss and all those types of things and you think you're a pretty good player. But now, you're going to all these national awards with all these players you hear about on TV and you see and you're one of them, he kind of had an "aha! moment" and said, maybe I am pretty good.

It was really good. I think Kris enjoyed it. I know I enjoyed it. It was taxing. Obviously that trip that Kris and Carl had to take out to California for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, it's a long trip but well worth it, especially when Carl looked at all the people that had won that award before him, it's pretty exciting. I am really proud.

When we got last week, we've done some new things in our lobby promoting some of our award winners, so all the undefeated seasons we have up in our lobby now and all the national award winners and academic award winners, and to think Carl is now going to have three national award things up there in our lobby, which is amazing, again, when you think about where Carl started. I think it's one of the better stories in college football in my 21 years of doing this; it's probably one of the better stories that I've ever been associated with.

Q. What have you seen from Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens in these developmental practices and also, how do you think they fit into what Coach Moorhead wants to do with his vision for the quarterbacks?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think those guys are guys that have a lot of different skills that could fit into a lot of different systems and that's to me how we want to recruit moving forward and how we've always recruited. You want to recruit guys that create great flexibility. And Trace and Tommy both do that. Obviously Hack does, as well. I think all three of those guys.

I mentioned that last week when I said we have three quarterbacks that we're really excited about, and Kris came into my office and said, everybody was buzzing about that, which three were you talking about. Well, there's only three scholarship quarterbacks in our program now that I can talk about; talk about kids that are committed to us. That wasn't part of the discussion.

So the three I was talking about, so we're clear is Christian Hackenberg and Trace and Tommy. And then obviously we've got other guys in the program that are doing a good job for us, as well, in Billy and Jackson. But I think those guys sitting behind Hack now for a year or two years, has been valuable, to learn from all the things that Hack has done well and learned from some things that they may do differently based on their skill sets and things like that.

That's valuable, that time. Me as an assistant coach sitting behind head coaches and learning from their experiences, and I think both of those guys have had the maturity to approach it that way.

So hopefully they will have another year to season and learn, and be ready when their opportunity comes.

Q. That was my question, those three quarterbacks you're excited about, so thank you for clarifying.
COACH FRANKLIN: There you go. Cleared it up. Considering my NCAA rule, I can't talk about anybody else, I don't know why anybody would assume it was anybody else than the three on our roster.

Q. Kind of like when you played Maryland with the interim coach, are there a lot of wild-card playing a Georgia team with an interim coach and really some GAs that are going to be running some things with regards to how you prepare for a team that they may be doing a lot of different things than they did during the regular season?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think it's hard to kind of recreate yourself at this point of the year. I do think there will be things, parts of the package that maybe they want to emphasize more than others, than maybe the previous coaches would have done. So yeah, you'll see a different flair. You'll see some changes there.

But it's not like -- it's not like we're going to go out there and it's going to be the wishbone. There's going to be a lot of similarities to what they have done. They will just emphasize, no different than when we played Maryland. It wasn't like we had not seen those blitzes and pressures from them before. But not to that percentage.

I think up to that point, they may have been blitzing 25 percent of the time and then that game, they played that pressure coverage and blitz like 75 percent of the time. So that's probably the biggest difference is you'll see a certain aspect of their game emphasized more than others.

Q. I don't know the exact number but you're about to take a lot of college age guys to Florida for an entire week. Curious your input on the off-the-field agenda, any requests, recommendations, anything that you're particularly looking forward to, and how you're going to handle that part of it.
COACH FRANKLIN: Are you trying to scare me more than I'm already scared?

Q. I'm just stating a fact. You have a lot of guys college age going to Florida.
COACH FRANKLIN: I can't tell our guys enough how proud I am of how they have handled themselves. You guys have heard me say this before: Every team meeting, we start the team meeting with examples of college athletes, high school athletes, pro athletes, football or outside of football, that are making mistakes. And you know, in our society, as a college athlete or as an athlete in general, you can't make mistakes like maybe you could 25 or 30 years ago.

So they are under a microscope and there's some pressure associated with that. Our guys have really been outstanding with those types of things. That's how we want to do it at Penn State. They want to do it in the classroom and in the community, and they have been great.

We are just going to continue talking to them about it, the importance of making great decisions, the importance of surroundings themselves with positive people and positive environments; not only holding themselves accountable but holding their teammates accountable.

I'm pretty confident that we are going to go down there and represent ourselves the right way again. Does that mean that 125 18- to 22--year-old males don't make a mistake from time to time? They do. But I've been very pleased, the year and a half that we've been here, how we've done that and we are just going to continue to keep talking about it, keep educating them about it, keep loving them about it, and hopefully we'll continue to make great choices.

Florida is an aspect of that. Obviously we want to do some things to enjoy it, to allow them to experience maybe a part of the country or region that they haven't been to before, and the Bowl usually has some activities for them and then we want to have some activities for them. And then we want to be able to give them the free time. The free time is what you worry about.

And then we usually have a process where the closer the game gets, the curfew gets earlier and earlier, and then we do bed checks. We'll have our strength staff, what I call our bouncers, our five strength coaches. They are the kind of enforcers and they go do bed check.

And then what I've learned after 21 years of doing this, you always have double bed check. Because I've been places where you go do bed check and they know bed check is coming and they are snug as a bug in the bed, and you don't realize they are fully dressed, and then you leave bed check and then all of a sudden, the pillowcases and the bed sheet's out the window and they are scaffolding down the side of the hotel (Laughter).

So we do double bed checks and things like that. But more than anything, we just talk to our guys about making great choices and make sure that we want to have them a great experience but we also want them to focus; that we are also there to play a game and to represent Penn State the right way.

Q. Will the players be able to go home for Christmas? When do you plan to arrive in Florida? And is your philosophy to go down just for a week? Joe, when he was here, he would go down for two weeks and some people on the team liked that and some people didn't. I was just wondering if you could talk about your philosophy.
COACH FRANKLIN: I think that's something, obviously, that we need to discuss moving forward. I was actually discussing that last week at the ESPN Awards. I didn't know that Joe did that. He would go for two full weeks.

Obviously right now, kind of where we're at, still working through some things as an athletic department. There's a heavy price tag that comes with those decisions. I do think whenever you go to these Bowls, I've been around places that you may add a day or add two days. I don't know if we would ever go down a full week in advance. But I think you always want to be able to get down there, get adjusted, get some practices and feel comfortable, and then obviously based on weather, things like that, be able to acclimate to those things. Those are things to look at in the future and some discussions of how to do that.

But yeah, I think our plan is we practice today. We give them off tomorrow. We practice Sunday. We practice Monday. And then we're allowing guys to go home for Christmas after that and then I think we're leaving on the 28th.

So there's a period of time that the players and coaches get to spend with their families and enjoy themselves and then we have been able to get a good amount of practices since the season ended, take a little break and then get back into almost a normal week and get ready for the game.

Q. Regarding Saquon, how did the reality of the season match your expectations from last winter, and where do you think he can get better?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think Saquon is just scratching the surface to be honest with you. He's still figuring things out. He's still growing. I mean, you think about that guy with a whole off-season of strength and conditioning and speed work, of continuing to study defenses and understand coverages and fronts. Yeah, he's just at the very beginning of it. Although he's physically developed, he's just going to get bigger and stronger and faster and more explosive and more confident. And the more confident you get mentally, the faster you're able to play.

Again, I think I said to you guys before, that I knew that he was a good player. When we got the job, he was committed to another institution and we knew he was a good player and get him on our squad. And then he went out and had an outstanding senior year, which I thought was special. I thought he had a really, really special senior year. And that's when I thought, yeah, this guy may have a chance to help us as a freshman. And once he arrived, his demeanor or and his approach and his attitude was he was going to do everything in his power to play as a freshman, and not just play but have an impact.

And then I think pretty early in practice, it was clear he was going to need to have a role, and then depending on how he grew and how he matured, would determine how big that role was going to be for us.

Q. To follow up on that, that stretch from Ohio State to Northwestern, he had 20 or more carries after missing those two games, and I think 32 combined in the last two games. Was that a more a matter of game flow, or I guess how do you think he held up down the stretch and how will this relative time off benefit him and that position group specifically?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think the time off will help him because from the time he went down, he wasn't really healthy after that. At some point he was able to come back from, that our medical staff was come for cable with him being able to come back at some point. But he wasn't 100 percent, and I think the time that he's had off, most of our guys are close to being back to 100 percent now, which as you guys know, we're still relatively thin. So having the depth is important for us, and having guys ... (video break)

COACH SMITH: Those guys, we're really looking forward to those guys in the spring, allowing those guys to compete for some playing time and contributing, whether it be on special teams or in the secondary itself. And then at the corner position, you know, a guy like Amani Oruwariye, who is in his second year here, he's showing some promise. Daquan Worley is showing some promise. And then the true freshmen, Garrett Taylor, has had a great last month.

So there's guys that are showing a lot of promise, and we're just looking forward to having the opportunity to work with them more and more.

Q. I wanted to follow that up about Kevin Givens. Is he still an end or is there any chance of a tackle?
COACH SMITH: Kevin is still at end. I did not omit him on purpose. Just there's so many guys up front on the defensive line. Kevin is having a great year for us. We're really excited about him. He's really explosive and powerful and he could be a similar-type player as an Aaron Donald like we watched last night. He has that type of pop and explosion and clearly he has some work to do to close that ground but he's going to be fun to watch.

COACH GATTIS: We're excited to get back together as we start our practices for our Bowl game. We are looking forward to a tough competition by Georgia and look forward to getting down to Jacksonville and play a really good football team.

Q. The theme of the day so far has been young players you guys have been able to get a look at in developmental practices. Some of the guys that stood out to you on offense?
COACH GATTIS: A lot of our young guys have really taken advantage of these extra practices, guys like Irvin Charles, Juwan Johnson, Sterling Jenkins, Gonzalez and Bates. So we're really excited about a lot of the young talent we have in the program. These guys got a really high ceiling. They will continue to learn. They are a very talented group but they are also a very smart group when it comes to football. So they take a lot of pride in learning the offense.

So we're excited what the future holds. These guys obviously got to keep to continue to develop, but they have all got bright futures.

Q. You talked a good bit in the preseason about what we could expect from Chris Godwin, but how much did he exceed your expectations? Were you confident that he could be so great at the 50/50 balls and have the kind of year that he did?
COACH GATTIS: I was very pleased with Chris Godwin's performance this year. I think people saw a glimpse of what I was talking about. He's a very talented player, very mature player. Takes a lot of great pride in how he practices and prepares himself, and I think that showed up in his production on the field.

So he's got a very bright future. He's a great kid. He's an awesome teammate. He's truly a leader for us on our team and he's a guy that we're really, really excited about and he's only going to continue to get better. As you can all see, he had a great season, and he's looking forward to building on that Bowl game as future seasons come ahead.

Q. Irvin and Juwan Johnson are two of those bigger body guys that you have. How difficult did you think it was for them not being able to be out there this year, because obviously everybody wants to play. What have you seen from those two specifically?
COACH GATTIS: They handled it great. They are competitors, so they did want to go out and contribute. Those two guys, they love the game of football. That's one thing that really stands out about those guys. Juwan is always in doing extra work. He's always in the weight room getting an extra lift or going outside with the quarterbacks. You see him and Tommy going outside and throwing. They just do that because they love the game of football.

We are really excited about those two guys just as much as we are about everybody else in our program. They are going to have a bright future here, and we are really excited to get them on the field here at some point.

Q. Coaching profession, you guys all know each other. How much do you guys keep tabs on coaching hires? Maryland now has three head coaches for the defense. How much do you talk among yourselves, how much is that of interest internally?
COACH GATTIS: You see things through social media or through the Internet, but we don't spend a lot of our time during the day reading up on a lot of that stuff. We can only control what happens in our program and in our building and make sure that we have the best staff, the best players, and we get those guys ready for the game.

And so there's a lot of coaching changes that happen in college football, that's the nature of the business, but we mostly focus on us and focus on everyone that's in our building.

Q. Have you met Joe Moorhead before and what are your first impressions of him?
COACH GATTIS: My first time meeting Coach Moorhead was at the Pittsburgh Nike clinic. Listened to him speak there and was very impressed with his presentation. He knows what he's talking about and he's been very successful as an offensive coordinator and play caller. His offenses produced really, really good numbers. It's a friendly offense for every position on the offense.

We are excited. Coach Moorhead has been kind of buried away in the office these past through days studying our roster, studying our film as well as kind of going through a lot of the HR stuff that he has to do early on.

So I know our kids are excited. We're looking forward to having Coach Moorhead around from here on out, and you know, after this Bowl game, we'll switch over and kind of make the switch and start learning his offense.

Q. How much of a grind was it leading up to the dead period in recruiting, and what's it like when that switch is flipped? Is it a relief or are you kind of in the mode of I still should be talking to people, still should be doing that sort of thing?
COACH GATTIS: It's a grind. After the last game, you don't get a chance to kind of put that game to rest because you're moving on to recruiting, evaluation period opens up. So we hit the road. We've been going for the past two weeks, so it seems like a lot of time has been away from our players. We're excited to get back and get around our guys and get more into these develop mental practices, as well as we start preparing for Georgia.

Recruiting never stops. Right now we're in a dead period, so we are able to take some days away from being on the road and be around our guys. But we have to continue toward building on our future, as well as developing the players that we have in our program today.

Q. Austin and Christian submitted paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory board. You played in the NFL for a little bit, did you go through that process and can you describe what that was like for you and what type of advice would you give to somebody nowadays looking to get that type of information and that type of input?
COACH GATTIS: Yes, I did go through that process. I was fortunate enough as a player, I submitted, just to get the feedback. Me as a player at that time, I knew I was coming back. I didn't have kind of the options that some of these other guys have but I did go through that procedure.

As far as getting the feedback from the NFL, and it's a very honest feedback that the NFL gives you and they tell you what's in your best interest and each kid has to sit down and weigh their best interests, not only from their football; their academic, as well as their social life and family life structure standpoint.

Obviously it's a stressful time for a lot of kids because they want to make the best decision, and you can imagine, 19- and 20-year-old kids getting pulled into lot of different directions, not necessarily are they all for the benefit of the kids. The kids just have to make sure that they are leaning on the people close to them, leaning on making the right decisions that are not only going to help them be successful for the next four to ten years of their NFL career, but the next 40 years of their life.

It is a stressful time for the kids, but our kids have handled it great. They have stayed focused to the season. We haven't had any distractions. That's first and foremost. So they have been great teammates throughout this whole process and they are looking forward and they are excited for this Bowl game.

After the Bowl game, as Coach has always stated, those guys will handle things the right way and any decision they make, they will release it in what time manner that they decide with Coach Franklin. We are all 100 percent supportive. Obviously we love those guys as players, we love those guys as teammates, just like each man in that locker room but we know in the end, that those kids will make the best decisions for them.

Q. On the feedback, what exactly is it? Do they give you sheets of paper with strengths and weaknesses? Is it personal or what round we think you're going to go?
COACH GATTIS: It's usually in a round standpoint. Now that was 2006 for me, 2005, 2006. So things could have changed. But it's just like getting a test score back from an ACT or SAT. You open it up and has a round that they kind of see you at as far as if there's a top three or midyear guy, or for some later rounds, they do obviously give you the feedback that it would be your best choice to stay in school.

I think the NFL has been cautious over the last few years because you've seen a number of college athletes declare early for the NFL Draft and a percentage on a number of those athletes that are not getting drafted is increasing. The NFL is taking a hard approach about how they are evaluating these younger athletes, because ultimately, we want what's best for each athlete, and what's best for each athlete is that they get their college degree. Because no matter if you go to play two years or ten years, you're always going to need that degree to fall back on.

So they want to make sure that they are given the best advice possible to make sure that these kids go ahead and be successful in life, not just on the football field.

Q. What kind of improvements have you seen from Brandon Polk this year besides the speed sweep stuff, just kind of as a receiver, what strides have you seen him take this year?
COACH GATTIS: He's taken a lot of strides. As a young guy, a lot of people don't understand how hard it is to come in and play as a true freshman. Not only is he juggling, learning an offense, but he's juggling, taking 12 credits and getting acclimated to his college schedule. His maturity put him in this position and where he's able to handle a lot of things.

Obviously he's a very talented football player. When the ball is in his hands, he's one of the very few players in college football that is electric on the field. But he's grown as a receiver in his route running and his ball skills, and really understanding concepts and understanding spacing. So he's another kid that's got a very bright future. I love working with him each and every day he's developing. I'm very, very pleased with where he is.

Obviously when we're playing the amount of players that we are playing, some guys may not get certain opportunities as others, but he's truly made an impact. And he changes the game in a number of different ways which a lot of people don't notice because when you're a defensive coordinator and you're on defense, you've got to account for that guy being on the field. There's some things behind the scenes that maybe he does to certain defenses that he may not get credit for as far as making them have certain calls, making them have certain adjustments to the sweeps or whatever.

But you notice on film how defenses play when he comes in the game. Very pleased with his production. Very pleased where he is in his development and really excited about him moving forward.

Q. Saquon and 14 of his 15 catches over the last four games. As a receivers coach, do you work with the backs in that realm, if at all, and how would you evaluate the strides he made with that part of his game?
COACH GATTIS: Well, Coach Huff does a great job. I don't work with Saquon and the running backs any. Coach Huff does a great job preparing those guys in every facet of their game as far as the run game, pass game, protections. Really having those guys as the game plan goes out each week and preparing those guys to go out and be successful. Coach Huff has done a great job preparing him as well as all of other other backs.

And that's one thing in our offense: We don't want just one-dimensional players. We don't want guys to just go in there and pass block or just go in there and run the ball or pass or catch the ball. We want well-rounded players. That's an area where we try to develop our players to be well-rounded in every aspect of their games and Saquon has done that. He's a very mature kid.

Obviously we all know how talented he is, but he's a guy that is a football junkie. He loves football. He asks questions every day. He prepares extremely hard and so his success has only come off his preparation and really proud of the way Coach Huff has handled him and continues to guide him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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