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August 5, 2017

James Franklin

University Park, Pennsylvania

JAMES FRANKLIN: First of all, good afternoon. Really appreciate everybody being here, especially the local beat writers that follow us day in and day out, year in and year out. Also want to thank Kris Petersen, who's done an unbelievable job since we've been here, professional, hard working, really cares about our players and our program. So really appreciate all her hard work.

Obviously, we're in the thick of it right now. Very, very busy. We just got done having meetings and walk-through, and then we have the media responsibilities, and then we'll get a practice in this afternoon.

I'm excited. I think we've had a great summer. There's been obvious improvement in a lot of positions from spring ball to now. The guys have really kind of worked hard and understood what they needed to work on. I think that's kind of nowadays is everybody wants to continue working on or practicing the things they do well, but our guys are mature enough to identify areas of weaknesses, individually and collectively as well, that we needed to improve on, and I've seen that.

I think year two with Brent Pry running the defense and year two with Joe Moorhead running the offense has really, really helped us on those sides of the ball. And then obviously returning the punter and the kicker the caliber of Blake Gillikin and Tyler, I think has helped us from a leadership perspective on special teams as well.

We're in a good place. We've got a lot of work to do. We took a nice step last year, but we've still got a lot of steps in every area that you could possibly imagine to continue in the direction that we want to go.

Really appreciate everybody being here. Open it up to questions.

Q. Is there anything different that you tell a team coming back from like an 11-3 season that you would tell a team coming back from a 7-6 season?
JAMES FRANKLIN: No, I think you guys have probably heard me talk about this enough all off-season. I'd make the opposite argument that you need to stay consistent with your plan. You need to stay consistent with your message. We do the same thing all year long. I make the argument no different than we do week to week, whether we're playing a conference game or out of conference game or what outsiders would perceive as a big game compared to a different type of game.

It's the same thing with seasons. Last year's success or last year's record should not impact us. I'm challenging everybody in our organization to go back to day one as if they've never heard the offense, defense, or special teams installed.

That's the players as well because the reality is, if we can get 1 percent better in the way we take notes in meetings, that's going to help. If we can be 1 percent better in how we sleep, our nutrition or hydration, how we take care of our bodies, that's going to help. So just kind of growing in every area.

I would make the argument it's probably going to have a more dramatic impact because everybody focuses on the Xs and Os, everybody focuses on the bench press, everybody focuses on the schemes. So if we can do a better job than anybody in the country in focusing in those other areas -- treatment, hydration, nutrition, sleep, note-taking, those types of things, discipline -- then I think it can have a really big impact. And those 1 percents in each one of those areas, they add up.

So our message isn't going to change. It never will, to be honest with you. Obviously, we learned from last year's experiences, and it was helpful from a growth perspective and from a maturity perspective, but last year's last year, and this year's this year. We want to take all those experiences and maturity that we gained from last year and then continue growing and evolving.

Q. The secondary, how do you see the secondary panning out this year? And can you give us a little -- any indication on whether John Reid will play? And if not, who will fill that responsibility at his spot?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I'm really pleased and excited with what we've got going right now in the secondary. Obviously, Marcus Allen has played a bunch of football for us. A guy that I think is going to have a huge year for us is Apke. The guy's played a bunch of football for us, hasn't really been the guy yet, and has a chance to kind of step into that role.

Ayron Monroe has done a nice job as well and is fighting for time and for reps and for a more significant role. Nick is doing the same thing -- Nick Scott is doing the same thing. So we're starting to get into a better situation there from a depth. And there's a bunch of other guys I could name, but those four guys for right now.

And then at the corner position, you could make the argument there's five or six guys that we feel good about. Grant and Christian have played a lot of football for us since they stepped on campus, and they're continuing to grow. McPhearson is a guy that's had a really, really good off-season, Zech McPhearson has had a really good off-season, and we're excited about him. Amani has played a lot of football for us as well and brings a lot of maturity and size and length there for us. Obviously, there was a lot of excitement about Wade this spring. He's had a nice off-season as well and is continuing to grow.

And Castro-Fields is probably a guy that there's as much buzz about as any of the newcomers right now. So he's a guy that, of the freshmen, that I think right away is kind of making an argument that he's going to have to factor in.

Anybody I miss? John is in Portland, Oregon, doing an internship at Intel. Actually had the opportunity to do the internship last year and just didn't feel comfortable making it work with his football responsibilities. So he had accepted that internship this summer. And then based on, obviously, some of the challenges he has right now, he's able to stay and kind of maximize that opportunity. So we'll be really excited when he gets back because of his leadership and his knowledge.

It's amazing. I mean, our guys can get on the computer, as you guys know, on their laptops, and watch the tape like 20 minutes after practice. It's downloaded, and they don't have to be here to do that. So I found out three days ago that every night John Reid is sitting in his hotel room or his apartment or whatever it is watching all the tape and texting Terry and calling Terry and texting the players and calling the players saying, hey, you know, you did this in Zorro coverage or you did that. Why are we teaching it differently right now? Or is he not using a technique that we want?

John is going to have a huge impact for us this year. We'll see how it plays out, but either way, he's going to have a huge impact.

Q. Two weeks ago in Chicago, you said that Andrew Nelson and Brendan Mahon would be available for the start of preseason camp. How have they looked so far? When do you hope to settle the offensive line going into this season?
JAMES FRANKLIN: They've looked good. All of our guys that have had challenges we're working through. It's not like -- the doc said this the other day, which is a pretty good analogy. You don't go from not running at all to running a marathon. You kind of work your way back into it. That's what those guys are doing.

They've looked good. I think, when you've got guys like that that are seniors, redshirt seniors, that have played a lot of football, they've got a lot of maturity, so if you're going to have a guy that maybe is a little limited in terms of -- they're not limited anywhere physically, but were limited in their reps -- like I said, you don't go from not running at all to running a marathon. They're probably guys that could handle that situation the best, and they've done a good job with it.

They look great. When they get in there, they've done a really good job. They're able to run. They're able to move. They're powerful. They're physical. So it's been good for us, but it's not like they're taking the full amount of reps that the rest of the ones are.

Q. When do you hope to settle the offensive line?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think you hope to settle the offensive line, or when you're in a quarterback competition or any of these different positions, as soon as you possibly can. That's always the scenario. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is let's identify the best five, get them on the field.

And I think your point is a good one, how long at that position, how much time do you need to really build that chemistry up with each other? I think last year, though, we played -- I think it was seven different combinations on the offensive line, and one of the things that I think we've done a fairly good job of is not recruiting one-position players.

I think Bates is a really good example of that as a guy that could play center, a guy that could play guard, a guy that could play tackle. We want to recruit true tackles, and tackles could slide down inside and play guard if you had to. But if you recruit too many guys that could only play center and guard, they're kind of sawed off, kind of short-limbed guys. It eliminates flexibility.

So recruiting swing guys inside that are probably more guard-center body types but have enough length like Bates that could move out to tackle if you had to. So I think that helps us is recruiting guys that can play multiple positions across the line to create flexibility that allows Matt to get the best five on the field.

So hopefully sooner rather than later so those guys can build a tremendous amount of chemistry together.

Q. Hey, James, we've seen a lot of Trace and Tommy obviously. What can you tell us about the development of Jake and, in the limited time he's been here, Sean Clifford?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I'd say that's probably one of the more interesting story lines as coaches, maybe not you guys as media members or the fans, but is who's the number three? Valid point, yeah.

But I guess what I'm saying is that's probably one of the more important things on my mind and on my plate is who's the number three? And then I think we could get into a situation possibly, kind of like we did with Trace, where your number three -- say your number three ends up being Jake. Okay, fine, then you're in a situation where you could redshirt Clifford. Okay, that's wonderful. Well, what if Clifford ends up being number three? So if you get in a situation where you get an opportunity to get your number three in the game, we may do what we did with Trace, where we actually put the number four guy in the game to maybe be able to redshirt the other guy, depending how that thing plays out.

But that's an important battle for us. I think we feel really good about our number one and our number two and what they're going to be able to do for us this year. I think one of the things that's kind of interesting in our program, and I think the quarterback position is an example of that, when we were at 65 scholarships, there was a struggle, a challenge that we had is a lot of walk-ons were playing significant roles on the team and a lot of walk-ons were being put on scholarship, and we felt like that was normal.

So there became a little expectation of that's how it is, but that's not normal. So that was a challenge for us in terms of locker room dynamics and things like that.

Well, I think we're also in a similar situation now where guys felt like what we had been going through the last couple years was normal, and what I mean by that is Miles Dieffenbach, the story I always tell that Miles told me is, when he got here as a true freshman, he was fifth team on the offensive line and didn't get one rep in practice his entire freshman year. And then since we've been here, the guys showed up, and they were in the two-deep right away, and some guys were forced to play or whatever.

Now we're in a situation where guys that redshirted last year, they have seen the evolution, and they're saying to themself, well, all the redshirt freshmen the next year have huge roles. Well, that's not necessarily the case anymore. You've got to come in, and you've got to earn those roles.

So it's an interesting dynamic, and I think that's a little bit kind of what we have at quarterback and a lot of different positions. Guys are going to have to learn to be a little bit patient. There's going to be some guys are going to come in and impact right away, and there's going to be some guys are going to be able to sit and be able to learn.

I was in Green Bay, and we had Brett Favre, and we drafted Aaron Rodgers that year, and I think one of the best things for him is he was able to sit and take his time of learning the NFL game and sitting behind Brett for a couple years. So when he was able to step in there, he was ready.

So it's an evolution kind of in our organization and our locker room of how this is playing out. But I think your question is an excellent one because that's my concern as well is figuring out who the number three is as quickly as possible, and I think it's going to be a battle. Jake is doing some really nice things, and so is Sean.

Q. Longest line of questioning with competition, how do you handle the depth chart with the guys? I know you want to create that, but this time of year, do you announce it? Obviously, it's a reward for the guys that are playing well. How do you handle that with the players when a depth chart is either released or you're thinking about it?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think that's another good question because we literally talked about that this morning, and how I want to approach it this year -- first of all, I always let -- it's not like we post a depth chart anyway. I just let the position coaches kind of handle that kind of on their own.

The only one I get involved with is in the quarterback position, like last year me and Joe sat down with the quarterbacks and brought them in and had a discussion about it. But besides that, I want the position coaches to be the head coaches of their position and handle that.

But what I did say is come Sunday I want an updated depth chart that we can go over as a staff -- offense, defense, and special teams -- and I want that depth chart to reflect, if we were playing a game on Saturday, who would be the guys that were getting reps in and what's the order of it, and I want to communicate that to the players. So I want the players to know, right after this week, if the number three guy just beat you out and you were the number two guy and you're no longer that guy, I don't want it to be a subtle thing in practice where you've noticed one or two reps that guy is starting to get more of. No, he beat you out, and you know that. So now you have the opportunity to fix that before the first game.

So you clearly know where you stand week in and week out, and I think that's really important. I think it's going to magnify the competition. I think it's going to give the players really good, honest feedback of where they're at. And that's something that I've always believed in professionally, when I was an assistant and now as a head coach. I want to know right away. I always hate, and still do, the HR meeting you have at the end of the year where your boss tells you all year long you've been doing all these things wrong. Don't wait until the end of the year to tell me. Tell me now so we have an opportunity to fix them.

That's what I want with my staff and with my players. I want them to get immediate feedback so they have an opportunity to fix what we think is a problem or an issue. I think that's going to spike the competition level up a little bit, like I heard in the past around here where the guys that have been covering Penn State for a long time, where it was like 75 different jerseys at practice. First team wore one color. Second team wore another color. Third team wore a different color. When I came here and I walked out of the locker room, it was like 55 different jersey colors. Now, you guys were never allowed at practice. So you probably don't even know what I'm talking about.

But my point is that instant feedback that they used to get back in the day, you'd walk to your locker, and your jersey color had just changed. You'd gone from first team to second team. And we're going to do the same thing by week but more from a depth chart perspective.

Q. James, what would you say is the biggest challenge the team faces after the success from last season? And second question for you, is there any update you can give on Damion Barber trying to get to campus?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, we're confident that Damion's going to be here. We've got some great feedback this week. So we're really confident that Damion will be here. The problem is, once you set your 105 by the NCAA rule, it's not like you can pull a guy off of it and sub a guy in. It's not like the NFL where you're getting on the waiver wires and changing guys.

So we have some challenges when it comes to that, but most important thing is will he be here before school starts? And we're pretty confident that that will happen.

And then the first question was?

Q. What would you say is the biggest challenge the team faces?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think kind of what you talked about, and I think we've been talking about all off-season, is not spending a whole lot of time talking about what you just did, which is the success of last season everybody wants to talk about. We've talked about it enough. The fans have talked about it. The media's talked about it. We've talked about it as an organization. They've been given rings. We've talked about it enough. So that's behind us. We have moved on.

And trust me, we have talked about that in great detail with our players. But, you know, again, let's not -- it's not like I'm asking them to bury their head in the sand and act like that didn't happen. They earned that. So you'll recognize that, but on the other hand, those points aren't going to carry over, and those wins aren't going to carry over. We have guys that had critical roles on the team and they're not with us anymore. We just have to be disciplined enough not to get caught up in the hype.

I actually make the argument, the way last season started really, really helped me at the end of the year to say, listen, you can't listen to the praise now. No different than I didn't want you to talk about the criticism, I didn't want you to listen to the criticism early on. That's me as well. Minnesota, the fans telling me exactly how they felt in that game. That, I think, in a lot of ways helped me help the program at the end of the season stay level and stay consistent and not get caught up in the emotions and the highs and the lows.

So I'm a big believer that you savor all of life's experiences. The only way you really can appreciate and recognize the good is if you've been through the adversity and the challenges.

What we talked about a little bit last night with our players -- I think sometimes we forget. We see these guys, and they're 6'5", 315 pounds, and they've got a beard, and we think that they're men, and they're not. They're young men that are still growing and evolving, and they have problems, and they have issues with their families, with their girlfriends, with school. They have them. At this level, it's not just football. It's total development.

I think in camp you have to make sure you realize that. We're so kind of focused on football right now, school's kind of starting to stop at the end of summer session and starting to get ready for the season, but these guys still have moms and dads and girlfriends and people calling them from home with challenges and issues. So kind of balancing all of those things.

Q. What's impressed you so far with your defensive linemen in camp? Particularly, guys like Shane Simmons and some of those younger guys that we really haven't seen much of.
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think you guys probably saw, when you came out to practice the other day, we look differently. The thing that's interesting, say you ranked your defensive line from 1 through 18 or whatever the numbers are, and you look at the body types, and you look at the size, and you look at the development -- it's different. You go out to practice the first couple days. I'm kind of talking to Coach Galt, and I'm covering my mouth, I'm saying we look different. Physically, we just look different.

I think one of the things we've probably done each year is we keep kind of upgrading. We kind of keep upgrading the way we're developing these guys in the off-season, the way the top end guys, your first two teams in the program, the strides that they're making off-season because their motivation and because they've had a taste of success and liked what came with it. And then also kind of the young guys in the program that realize they're going to have to work even harder to close the gap on the first two teams. It's all those things.

I think it's 65 scholarship guys and the walk-ons having such a significant role and being appreciative of that, but we've got less walk-ons. So it's impressive, and I think our D-line is a really good example of that. You look at Corey Bolds and you look at Fred and you look at Yetur Matos, none of those guys look like true freshmen. They are big, strong, physical, developed guys who can run. That's going to make our defense better. That's going to make our offense better by going against these guys every day at practice.

I think one of the discussions in off-season was defensive end and finding some production at that position and guys are going to have to step up. I think Sharif is a guy that has a chance to kind of have a breakout year and take that next step. I think Torrence Brown has played a lot of football for us and is kind of the old wiry vet and I think is going to be very, very productive for us.

And then there's some guys like you mentioned. Shane looks great. Shaka is a guy that everybody is going to say, well, he's not 260 pounds, so you can't play D-end in the Big Ten. I don't know about that. I remember walking in during spring ball and telling our coaches, change your mindset. Don't allow the fact that this guy's not this or that, and you say, well, he can't play because of this. Watch the tape, and watch how he's straining in the run game now more than he ever has. Watch him in the pass game on his third step before the offensive tackle is taking his first. He's going to bring something to us that we haven't had, to be honest with you.

Buchholz is a guy who's played a lot of football for us and is kind of a swing guy. Colin Castagna is a guy that's played a lot of football for us in a backup role that's fighting for a more significant role. That's kind of an interesting position as well. And I think Shaka is a guy that's got our defensive staff excited, and I would say probably Yetur Matos is the freshman that everyone is excited about, and we're going to need to find a way for him to have a role for us this year.

Q. You mentioned a desire to put together an updated depth chart tomorrow and what that's going to mean for the guys on the roster, they're going to be aware of it. Any first year players, whether it's true freshmen, redshirt freshmen, who haven't been on the field at Beaver Stadium during a game that you feel are giving you a lot to think about as you formulate that new depth chart?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think the two true freshmen that jump out right away is Castro and Yestur right now. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of guys, but these are the guys we're already saying are going to factor in. Over the next week or two, there's going to be other guys because we have no problem playing true freshmen. We encourage it.

And then I think you've got some redshirt guys like Shane, like Shaka. Those guys are going to have to kind of step up for us, especially at the position that they play.

I think you look on the offensive side of the ball, Miranda is a guy that's put the offense in the situation where we're kind of having some difficult conversations, like we did last year with McGovern and Menet and those guys, where do we play him this year? Because I think he's shown that he belongs. That's an exciting one for us, I think, as well.

I'm probably missing a few guys, but there are the guys that probably jump out to me right now of guys ready to kind of take that next step and have a more significant role in terms of redshirt, in terms of true freshmen. And, again, as we all know, it's only been one week, and some of these guys' heads are spinning a little bit. So I'll have a better idea probably in two more weeks.

Q. Question on Saquon. I know the caveat is that he has a year of eligibility left, but the reality is he has very high draft expectations coming into this season. How does that impact how you approach what you want his role to be this fall?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think, for Saquon as well as a lot of our guys that have played a lot of football for us, and we know who they are -- I would put Jason Cabinda into that category. I'd put Mike Gesicki into that category. I'd put Marcus Allen into that category. There's a bunch of guys.

My point is those guys taking the full amount of reps every single day at practice when they've been playing for us at a high level for three years, we don't need to necessarily do that. So if we cut their reps from five to two reps and give those three reps now to the twos and the threes that have an opportunity to kind of use those reps to close the gap and give the coaches more confidence that we feel like we have legitimate depth, that's where the value comes.

During the games, obviously, those guys are going to be the guys that we're relying on significantly to be playmakers, to be leaders, to have significant impact on the games and in our organization.

Saquon, obviously, there's a lot of excitement, and rightfully so. Once again, he's earned it. He's a special guy. But we've got a lot of guys that have special roles and have made tremendous impacts here. So we're going to use Saquon in every way we possibly can to give our team the best chance to be successful, short term and long term. And that's obviously running the ball. That's getting him more involved in the passing game because everyone is going to be focused on not allowing Saquon Barkley to beat them as a runner. And then also in special teams as well.

Q. Sandy had said that --
JAMES FRANKLIN: Where are you starting this season? Are you in a good place? You got a good vacation? Are you looking at things like the glass is half full, half empty, wet blanket? I just want to know where we're at starting the season off.

Q. Half full for sure.

Q. Yeah.

Q. Sandy said that Penn State is 100 percent committed to you. She has discussed your contract. Is it something that's taking a little bit longer than maybe was anticipated? Could you address your extension at some point.
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, I'm in football mode now. So I'm focused on the season. We've been talking about this for a while, and I feel good about it. I don't have any concerns, but my focus is on our team and the 2017 season completely. I'm not -- Kris will tell you. We get interviews requests. We get this, we get that. Once the season starts, it changes a little bit for me. So I kind of put the blinders on and jump in the submarine. To me, everything that we do and I do is about getting the team ready to be successful.

I feel good about where we're at. I don't have any concerns, but my focus is completely on the season.

Q. I know you touched before on the total development and the off the field stuff. These guys have families calling them and stuff like that. After missing the Rose Bowl, how have Saeed Blacknall and Manny Bowen responded over the past seven months?
JAMES FRANKLIN: They've been great. And to be honest with you, they've been great before that. There's going to be issues that come up when you have 125 18 to 22-year-old males that you're responsible for. I think sometimes people look at athletes and football, in particular, and we act like these guys are different than any other group in society. There's issues in society. There's going to be issues in college athletics and specifically in football.

I think the most important thing is, when those issues come up, you deal with them, and you deal with them as a leader of the organization. And do the players take responsibility and say, I made a mistake. I'm going to take the consequences of the decisions I make. I'm going to learn. I'm going to grow. And I'm going to evolve. To me, that's what life is about, and that's what college athletics is about. That's what education is about. It's about growing.

And I'd also make the argument that these guys and these kids are growing up at a point in our society where you can't make mistakes anymore with the camera phones and the blogs -- you know, it's challenging. I made mistakes in high school and college. I think we all did. So the most important thing is putting our players in position to be successful and to learn and grow.

I'm a huge fan of Manny Bowen and the challenges that he's had to overcome in his life and how successful he's been here at Penn State. I'm a huge fan. And same thing with Saeed. Huge, huge fans, huge supporters. I love those guys, and I believe in those guys, and I'm not just talking about over the next four to five years here at Penn State. I'm talking the next 40 to 50 years.

Q. We all take part in promoting this sport and being a part of it, whether we think we are or not. So I'm not divorcing us from this. But did you see "The New York Times" photo essay on the brains a couple weeks ago? I guess it was about two weeks ago. What were your thoughts of it when you saw it, if you saw it? Did you see it?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, I'm obviously aware of what's going on in our sport and our society and the focus and the concern. It's something that we all have to be aware of and we have to be open to it. You look at football, there's been a lot of rule changes the last couple of years because people realize, people realize we've got to take a hard look at these things because the most important thing is the health and the welfare of our student-athletes, of anybody that's playing the game, is making sure that we're making really, really good decisions that's going to take care of our guys, of our athletes. So I think that's number one.

I also am a defender of the game of football, that I believe in it, that I believe in the importance in our society. I believe in the importance in the education system. I believe in the importance of developing leadership. And, obviously, I'm biased, but I don't think there's any doubt that we can't ignore the studies and the research that's going on out there.

I'm very proud of what we're doing here at Penn State with Tim Bream and our doctors and the research and things going on that we're doing on our own with the university. So it is something that we're all very aware of, and we're going to continue to ask tough questions and continue to hopefully make the right decisions for student-athletes. In that order, for student-athletes first and then for the game as well.

Q. "The New York Times" thing I'm talking about?

Q. Coach, the end of the Rose Bowl, there were two plays back to back with pass interference where guys weren't really turning their heads around and adjusting to the ball. Is that something you have a bigger emphasis on in practice is making sure guys are turning their heads when they're downfield covering receivers?
JAMES FRANKLIN: To be honest with you, we've had a lot of media sessions from the end of the Rose Bowl game to now. I really would prefer to be talking about moving forward in the season and not things -- we could have covered things from the Rose Bowl after the Rose Bowl game over the last however many months.

But, yeah, all the things that we see in each game that we play each year, we write notes down. We grade it. We put drill work in individual sessions together to improve in those areas and to work on weaknesses. So everything that any fan or any media member or any person that's watched our season and watched the games, I can guarantee you we've watched it more. So have our players.

And based on watching all those things as games and then watching them in cut-ups and then when we do our install tapes and things like that, and then when we come up with our practice plans in areas we need to get better and areas we need to improve, that's what it's all based on. It's based on doing the latest studies out there of what are the best techniques when it comes to tackling, when it comes to coverage.

What are other people teaching in terms of best practice? What can we do better? What are the strengths of each position? What are the weaknesses? Things like that. Playing the ball in the air since the beginning of the forward pass, that's been a challenge for defensive players. I'd make the argument playing defensive back may be the most difficult challenge in all of football physically, that and playing offensive tackle. I think, if you take the physical and mental aspect, you put quarterback in there as well.

Trust me, we've watched all those things as well, and we have drills and meetings to make those corrections.

Q. You kind of briefly touched on the expectation -- the personal expectations and the hype that kind of swirl around Saquon. I guess, in our interactions with him the last couple years, it doesn't really seem like that stuff fazes him or gets to him. Why do you think that is?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think part of it is that's kind of who Saquon is in his heart and in his soul. I would also say that his parents have really done a great job of that. I love his parents. I love his family, his upbringing, the honesty in that home is impressive. You look at the interviews they've done, they are very honest. They are very direct.

And to be honest with you, they have never made football a thing that defines Saquon or defines their family. They've stayed very level headed.

Now, are they aware of Saquon's talent and Saquon's future and Saquon's opportunities? Yes, and they've worked very hard at doing research on their own and with us as well about what those things are.

But Saquon, I think that's probably the thing that our team respects the most about Saquon is how he has handled the success really from day one at a very early age, at a very early part of his career. There was buzz since that hurdle at Buffalo -- excuse me. In the Buffalo game. There's been a buzz about him, and he's handled it really well, better than I would have ever handled it at that age. There's no doubt about it.

And I think that's where he kind of has earned everybody's respect, and I also think there's just such a humility to him and almost -- and I don't want this to come off the wrong way. Saquon's mom and dad are going to watch this and see this and so is Saquon, and I don't want them to misinterpret this. But almost like he is naive to how people see him and react. It's like he's unaware of it. I think sometimes when you use the word naive, it comes off in a negative way. But it's a positive for him because it's like he does not have a true understanding of the significance of it.

And even like when we do the poster give out and he's getting like assaulted on the street, it doesn't really faze him. He has great interactions with every person he comes in contact with, and then he gets on the bus, and the players give him a hard time, and he just kind of stays true to who he is. I think that's a credit to Saquon. I think that's a credit to Saquon's family. I think it's a credit to the community that he grew up in. And I think it's a credit to his teammates here at Penn State. He's special.

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