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PENN STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 21, 2017
University Park, Pennsylvania
JAMES FRANKLIN: How we doing? First of all, happy Thanksgiving. Hope you get a chance to enjoy time with your family, as we all know how important that is. If I don't get a minute to say that to you, I wanted to do that now.
I also want to thank you guys for covering us all year long. What you do for our football program and for the athletic department, for the university, is appreciated.
Talk a little bit about the last game, the Nebraska game. Offensively our player of the game was Saquon Barkley, defensively was Jason Cabinda, Shareef Miller. Special teams was Billy Fessler. He's a guy that our staff just really felt like made a bunch of tough holds in bad weather. He's a guy that has really done a nice job for us in a lot of different areas, but did a great job on Saturday when it comes to holding.
Offensively from a positive standpoint, rushed for 263 yards, zero turnovers, which I'm really proud of as a coach. The weather conditions weren't great. Not putting the ball on the ground at all, not making any poor decisions with the ball, things like that, I was really proud of that.
I thought we were more physical, 7.5 yards per carry. Our third down has steadily improved all year long. 66%, which is great. Areas to improve, we had three penalties. We won the penalty battle. Probably would have won it even more because I think we declined three fairly significant penalties during the game because our defense had some good plays there.
Our second half start wasn't as strong as I would have liked it to have been. Then I like to just see us finish and cover down a little bit. I like to see offensive linemen at the end of every play by the pile, helping the ball carrier up, push the ball, if the ball comes out, they're there to recover it. I think that's always a real healthy thing to see from a football team, on defense a lot of guys running to the ball, or on offense, a lot of players around the ball carrier to help him up after the play or push the pile or recover maybe a loose fumble or something like that. Just little things as a head coach you look for on film to talk about a healthy program and a healthy environment, doing all the little things right.
Defensively we continue to do pretty good in sudden change. Second series of the game, forced a field goal. Had eight three-and-outs, four sacks. We stopped the run, 2.6 yards per carry. Also good on third downs, 67%. Obviously with eight minutes left in the game, we had 283 yards, 24 points and six explosives, then things changed.
I still kind of struggle with what that answer is. You leave your ones in, you're jeopardizing injuries, people say you're running up the score. You put your twos in, people score a lot of points. You get angry text messages from people who have been drinking and the spread got messed up probably for them. A lot of things go into it.
I do think there's a lot of value. We have a bunch of young players, a lot of experience. We didn't play up to our standard with the young players. They're playing against the ones from the other team. That's a challenging thing.
I know the most important thing for us is the guys that go on the field, whoever they are, they have to play up to our standards. That's kind of where we're at there.
Areas to improve. Didn't handle the second sudden change very well. A lot of touchdown and three plays. Got to be better in our man-to-man coverage, especially at the line of scrimmage. We didn't have any takeaways. I think this is the first week we didn't have any defensive takeaways. I think the week before we had a special teams takeaway. We got to be better there.
Special teams, I think our effort is really good. We haven't been as consistent kicking the ball on kickoff and a few details. We were playing a little more reckless earlier in the year. I think we were also kicking the ball a little bit more consistently earlier in the year. That helps. We got to be a little bit better there.
Overall, pretty good. We lost the turnover battle because of that one flukey punt. We won the penalty battle. We won the explosive play battle and the sack battle. Those are usually pretty good indicators for us.
I will get into the Maryland game now.
Coach Durkin does a great job, a lot of respect for him. Kind of have been competing against him for a number of years. Seems like our paths continue to cross. He was at Florida as the defensive coordinator when we were at Vanderbilt, then at Michigan obviously as the defensive coordinator, and now as the head coach at Maryland. Very respected guy. Does a really, really good job. From everything I see, seems like a really good person, as well. Going to be a tremendous challenge to go on the road and play a conference opponent, which it always is.
You look at them offensively, Walt Bell, their offensive coordinator, they also have Tyler Bowen there, you know Tyler played for at me Maryland, was a graduate assistant, their offensive line coach. Doing a great job.
They're a no-huddle offense, tempo, check with me, RPOs. Majority of 11 personnel, but will mix in 10, 12, 20 and 21. Use multiple formations to try to create a number advantage. They love to run the counter play. They love to run the split zone play. Then they'll attack the alley using smoke and mirrors, taking shots, running screens. They do a really good job offensively.
D.J. Moore is a guy we've been impressed with, a kid out of Philadelphia. Really reminds you of Chris Godwin, strong, explosive, powerful guy, play-maker for them.
Lorenzo Harrison and Ty Johnson, that runningback tandem there. Both similar, kind of low center of gravity, really good balance, break a lot of tackles. There are the challenges we have.
Defensively Andy Buh, him and D.J. were together I think at Stanford, is the defensive coordinator and does a nice job. Has been coaching ball for a long time. Very respected. They're a 3-4 Okie defense. Slide to a four-down front. Experienced, disciplined, athletic. They're going to play cover three, some variations of cover one. Pressure, 29% over all, 57% on third down. Then they kind of got a guy at each level that we have to spend some time on.
No. 5, Cavon Walker, linebacker No. 1 Jermaine Carter, then No. 4 Darnell Savage, a kid out of Delaware. All three of those guys are playing really, really well.
Special teams Pete Lembo, I got a lot of respect for, has been a head coach. Obviously now being a successful special teams coordinator. They're very sound. They play extremely hard on special teams.
Last two notes. Troy Apke won't play the first half of the game obviously. I think you guys are all aware of that. Then the other thing is, not really dealing with this game, but I did want to say this. I think it's really inappropriate, in my opinion, from my perspective, to ask a player whether they plan on playing in a bowl game when we're not even into bowl season yet. We're focused on Maryland this week. I know you guys don't have to ask questions that I like or agree with, but I think to ask a player about whether they're going to play in a bowl game when we still have a game yet, we don't even know what bowl we're going to, is inappropriate.
To be honest, I don't like the question anyway in general, taking we're not even in bowl season yet. I think that -- I don't agree with it, so... I'm not going to agree with everything that you guys do, everything you ask. I know for sure that you guys don't agree with everything I do. But I did want to get that off my chest.
Open it up to questions.
Q. You don't have any bowl questions, do you?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Just trying to get travel situated, but other than that, no.
Q. With no classes this week, how does the players' routine change? You've invited players to your home. How many do you expect this year?
JAMES FRANKLIN: The schedule changes not as much as you would think from a football perspective because we still have all of our NCAA hourly responsibilities, which doesn't make complete sense because really the hours are based on, in my opinion, a schedule that has to balance school. Right now we don't have that.
What's interesting is, in the past, Monday was a big community service day. We're not allowed to do that. We had to do the community service today, which the guys want to do. It would have made more sense to do it on Monday, their day off, than a practice day like today.
For the most part it allows them the rest and recovery. They get to sleep in, catch up on maybe some schoolwork or some responsibilities that they have to do there. I know some community service.
Sean Spencer, the D-line, they gave out 65 turkeys today that Sean raised through his clothing apparel line, Dog Chaos, whatever he's got going on. That's really cool.
At Thanksgiving, a lot of guys are going to their position coaches. Then I have a number of young staff members that don't have families that are coming to my house. Got probably about five or six players that are coming to my house. I probably have another four or five players that their families were going to come up, they were going to go to a restaurant after practice, come to our team meal. I just said, doesn't make sense to go to a restaurant, come to my house. I think I have four players and their families coming, which I think is awesome. I want them to understand what Thanksgivings are like at the Franklins. I don't want them to come up dressed up and formal. It is sleep, it is eat, it is watch football, fall asleep on the couch, play ping-pong, board games, pool, eat, sleep, rotate the rest of the day.
I'm hoping that they'll come and slobber on my couch and eat turkey and just chill because to me it's just about family and about spending quality time with each other and taking a time to be thankful for all the blessings that we do have, so...
That's the plan.
Q. Miles Sanders' development this year, what have you seen from him, biggest changes from last year to this year?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Miles is a guy our staff is really excited about. I think everybody else has had a chance to see some flashes from him. Good and bad. Miles has been behind one of the better runningbacks if not the best runningback and college player in college football. That's a really good challenge. You're a good player, behind another good player, that's difficult.
I also make the argument that Miles has been in a lab. Miles has been in a lab with one of the best professors in the country to learn from. I think that's invaluable. I'll never forget when I was in Green Bay, we drafted Aaron Rodgers that year. Aaron was able to sit behind Brett Favre and learn.
I think there's a lot of value to that. Sometimes it's hard. But Miles has handled it great. I think one of Miles' challenges in the past was ball security at this level. He's really improved in that area. He's gained the coaches' trust, his teammates' trust. He always could run, but he's gotten bigger, stronger, more explosive. He's learned from Saquon. He's learned from Coach Huff. More than that, he's really just a great kid. He's doing really good in school. I'm proud of him.
I know Saquon, you see how he is on the sideline when he gets in the game and makes plays. Saquon came up to me, Miles is going to be really good.
I think I saw Tommy Stevens even put something out here recently about how excited he is about Miles.
I think the biggest thing is ball security. He always could run. I think he's gotten better with his ball security. I think he's gotten better with his pass production, excuse me, pass protection, which is common for young players. Very, very excited about Miles and his future.
Q. Trace has been your quarterback for almost two full seasons now. In what areas have you seen him grow the most on and off the field?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think the thing with Trace is you know what you're going to get, every game, every practice, every meeting. There's value in that. No different than people you work with or from your boss or whatever. Having a guy that's just so consistent. Academically, almost every semester he's been a strong student. You really know what you're getting. There's a lot of maturity there. Football is very important to him.
I think he's become really kind of a little bit better in every area. Trace probably doesn't have one thing that blows you away. It's not like he's 6'4". It's not like he runs 4.3. Not like he can throw it 80 yards, any of those types of thing. He does everything well. He's worked really hard to refine and get better at his craft. His arm has gotten stronger. He's a better decision maker. He's running better. He's just gradually chipping away at every single area.
He's gaining a lot of confidence. The players have a lot of confidence in him. So do the coaches. It's not like I can pinpoint and say, This one thing. He didn't really have any glaring weaknesses on the front end. That's kind of who he is. He's a winner. He's athletic. He's smart. He's savvy. He's tough. He throws it probably a lot better than people give him credit for. He's just kind of gradually gotten better in each one of those areas because he comes to work every single day with a great attitude and prepares.
I've just been really pleased with him. He's probably a little bit more outspoken than he has been in the past, but he's still really not that guy. The most important thing is his teammates and the coaches all react well to him. There's a lot of confidence when he's in the huddle.
A lot of the things that I just said about Miles, I could say the same things about Tommy. Tommy has grown so much. We're excited about him. Good and bad, he's been able to sit behind a really good player that's been having a lot of success and learn. I think it like anything in life: it's how you perceive the situation, how you embrace it. We got two really good veteran leaders with two really talented players behind them, as well. That's exciting.
Q. Tommy Stevens, is quarterback the toughest position for players to be patient with their roles? You mentioned he's embraced it. How does he show you that every day?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Well, no, don't get me wrong. When I say he's embraced it, it's not like he's happy being the backup. He wants to be the guy. But his relationship with Trace is really good. His relationship with Billy Fessler and the other quarterbacks in the room is really good.
When he gets his reps, he maximizes his reps. That's in practice and games. His relationship with Coach Moorhead is really good. How the other players on the team respond to him is excellent. There's tremendous confidence.
I remember a couple years ago talking about a guy, Trace McSorley, with this. I see that with Tommy. One of the things I did a few months is I showed Tommy an example of all these really good college players that kind of waited their turn, then took advantage of it when the time came.
He's just handled it really well. Is he satisfied? No. But he's handled it really well. He's been a great teammate. He's prepared. When his opportunity comes, he's going to be ready for it. When he gets his reps and opportunities, he maximizes it. I thought the play he had on Saturday where he bounced, bounced, bounced on one foot down the sideline, kept his balance, avoided a guy, was one of the more impressive athletic plays I've seen since we've been here. The funny part, I gave him a hard time. He did all the hard stuff, got himself under control, started running, then planted to cut back and get it out of bounds. He could have jogged into the end zone without that hard play.
I think he's got a bright future. Still think we're in a little bit of a transitional stage as a program that there's still some positions and still some areas where they've seen players play as freshmen or play as sophomores. That's really not always the case at programs like us.
It's funny. Me and Charles Huff were talking this morning about Ingram at Alabama. I think there was an article sore something that came out that when Ingram showed up at Alabama, he was the seventh string tailback. The guy won the Heisman. We talk to the guys about that all the time, as true freshmen or redshirt freshmen, they're playing, but not playing as much as they want to be playing, and they struggle with that.
There's so much football in front of them. If they just keep a really good attitude, keep working hard, keep trying to improve, then their time is going to come at some point. When it does, they'll be ready.
That's the challenge of getting 18- and 19-year-old kids to understand that. And sometimes they don't. We just try to use example after example, try to show them those things.
But Tommy has been great. He really has. He's been great for our team, for our locker room. I know there's a tremendous amount of confidence in him and excitement about his and our future.
Q. Your linebackers, beyond Jason and Brandon, your seniors, how do you think the younger guys have performed for you this year? Have you gotten what you would want from them? What do you think your depth is like at linebacker right now?
JAMES FRANKLIN: You always want more. You always want more production. That's also where they're backups, because you're still developing guys.
I think Cam Brown is a guy that's got a very, very bright future. Strong, athletic, long obviously, has played a good amount of football over the last two years. He's still got a lot of room for growth and development as well. But we're excited about him.
Jake Cooper is a guy that's kind of been waiting his turn. We're kind of waiting for that 'aha' moment to happen for him where he can stay healthy long enough, practice, games, things like that, that he's going to have a chance to contribute and produce, and we need him to.
Jan Johnson is a guy we're excited about, the opportunities he's had, the time he's played. He's played pretty well.
You'd love for Jason Cabinda and Brandon Smith to be staggered a little bit from a class standpoint. That's not the case.
Koa Farmer is a guy that's done a nice job for us as a first-year starter at linebacker after transitioning from runningback to safety, from safety to linebacker. I think he's just going to continue to get better as he gains more and more experience.
Then Jarvis Miller is kind of the young guy that we need to step up. He's big, he's strong, athletic, he can run. Needs to be more physical and consistent.
Then we got some young guys coming in, as well.
I think sometimes there's a little bit of confusion is we're really a 4-2-5 defense. I think sometimes when people look at our numbers or our linebacker situation, we basically play with two linebackers, then the third guy is really a hybrid. He's always going to be a hybrid, whether it's a safety, whether it's a corner. When we were at Vanderbilt, the guy that played that position was a converted corner, from corner to safety, from safety to linebacker, and played well.
I sent our defense an article the other day I saw about Washington's defense. They're pretty much always nickel. They have played with a 6'3" guy, they've played with a 5'9" guy, and have been very successful on the defensive side of the ball. So I think that's a little bit of something that maybe people don't completely understand, is really we're a 4-2-5 defense in a lot of ways.
Q. The running game on Saturday picked up. I don't think Saquon had a single carry where he lost yardage. We had Chasz Wright on the phone today. He said Coach Limegrover and Coach Moorhead challenged the offensive line. What did you see from the line this time around that's been different in sustaining blocks and things?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I don't know if it's different as maybe it seemed. I thought we matched up well against Nebraska. I think that was part of it.
I do think it was emphasized this week, and it always is, but maybe a little bit more so. Obviously I thought Trace did a good job of getting us in the right play with his reads. I thought Joe did a great job in how he called the game. I thought Saquon did a really good job of lowering his shoulder and just hammering some in there.
It's funny, Saquon lowers his shoulder and gets four yards. Everybody kind of is rolling their eyes. Unless he goes for 80, it's not as fun and exciting. But they're the ones I'm most impressed with, is being willing to hammer that thing up there and get a positive play.
I know I answer this a lot this way, you probably don't like it, but I think it's all those things. I think we matched up well. I think Saquon did a good job of sticking his foot in the ground, getting north/south more consistently. There's a fine line with that. There are times where he does cut back, lose yardage, he goes for 80, everybody thinks it's awesome. When he gets tackled for a loss, that doesn't go over very well. That's part of it. I think it's partly Trace, partly Joe. It's all those things.
But obviously whenever we're able to be balanced, run the ball, get Trace involved in the running game, it helps our protection, it helps our throwing game, and we're difficult. That's where I think we scored, what, 56 points or something like that. You're not really going to do that being one-dimensional, and we weren't on Saturday. That's when we're at our best. We need to take that, build on it for our confidence. I thought Mike did some good things, Bowers, Pancoast as well.
We just got to build on that because we can't be one-dimensional.
Q. Can you update us on the status of Manny Bowen and Irv Charles?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Manny is not available. We'll make a game time decision on Irv.
Q. I think Tyrell Chavis has played pretty well as the season has gone on. Doesn't get a lot of attention publicly. How much do you think he's improved? How do you approach his development coming in later in his career?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I'm just so proud of Tyrell. I get emotional kind of thinking about Tyrell, his background, what he's overcome. It was so awesome to see him with his mom and his dad, Coach Spence, on the field for Senior Day. It's one of these things I would love to be able to share with you some of Tyrell's background. That's not my place to do.
I do think Tyrell's story is inspirational to people, to other kids all over this country, to kids in this community and in this state, and really all over the place, the Richmond community he grew up in.
I'm just really, really proud of Tyrell. I'm proud of the type of teammate he's been. He probably is the most appreciative kid in our program because of some of his background and some of the things he had to overcome in junior college, things like that. He just really appreciates the opportunities and the support and the things that he's been able to get here at Penn State.
The guy is going to be a success. He is a bright light. He is positive energy. It's amazing. Every single day in team meeting, he's going to do something or say something to make everybody laugh, make everybody feel good. He's just a special, special guy. I'm really proud of him. I really am.
We're not a big junior college recruiting team. We're going to identify some guys every year. If it makes sense, we'll go in that direction. But it's great to see what Tyrell has been able to do at Penn State and what the impact he's made on our team is.
That's probably the thing I love the most about college football, is you have so many kids from so many different backgrounds. That's what I love about college football. I think it's such an unbelievable lesson for all of society because the guys in that locker room couldn't care more about one another, couldn't love each other more, and couldn't be more different. We have such respect for each other and appreciation for differences and backgrounds, whether it's poor kid, rich kid, middle class, country, rural or urban, suburbs, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, everything else. I think that's what is so great about our game.
I'm really proud of him. I know he's made a huge impact on our team on the field, but I think he's made a bigger impact on our coaches, his teammates, just how he is with himself.
Tyrell is going to be very, very successful. I think he'll have an opportunity at the next level. I think there's no doubt that he's going to be prepared to go on and be successful when football ends.
Q. Who is the best ping-pong player on the staff?
JAMES FRANKLIN: On the staff? Moorhead is pretty good. I can hold my own. My wife is pretty good, if you consider her on the staff. I'd probably say a battle between Moorhead and myself.
Q. Are you okay with a non-Thanksgiving question?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Please.
Q. Just curious on the pass-rush. Have you seen enough of a pattern now to evaluate whether you need reinforcement for the rest of this year and looking beyond this year?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, I'm not sure of your question. I mean, we're going to need reinforcements every year. That's what recruiting is. I'm not sure what you're asking.
Q. Do you think it's good enough for the rest of this year, or are you looking at some guys plugging in that you're going to need going forward?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Well, we don't have much of this year left. We have this last home game, then whatever opportunity we have after that. Hopefully we can get Buchholz back, which obviously we all know he's a very experienced, productive player in both the run game and the pass game.
I think we had four sacks last week. That's a positive. I think they have two sacks and we had four sacks. So that's a positive.
But, yeah, we're always looking for more pressure on the quarterback. We're always looking for more sacks. That's always every year going to be a situation where we need to continue developing the guys that we have and then continue to try to bring in more reinforcements. That's always going to be the case. I think in one year we led the nation in sacks as a defense, then one year individually with Carl Nassib. It's not like we felt we were in a good place coming next year. You're constantly trying to grow, improve in those areas.
I like where we're at. I think we can be better. That's in both of those situations. That's developing the guys that we got. What you're really trying to do is you're trying to find guys that can master one move. In college I think a lot of times guys try to be good at four moves, then they end up not being good at any one. Have one move you master that you feel like is your signature move, whether it's a sped rush or a long arm, an up and under, whatever it may be, master that. Then you have to have the complementary. That's what we try to help them do. Here is your best move, then you need to have a complementary move.
To be honest with you, it's all of it. You could have one great defensive end, but the defensive end across from him better be really good, too, because a lot of times the sack doesn't happen just based on one guy, it's a couple guys forcing a guy in the pocket in a certain direction, which creates an opportunity for someone else. It's being really good at D tackle to push and be explosive. It's really good on the edges to take advantage of the opportunities that the D tackles presented, or vice versa.
We need to get better there. But, yeah, I think we're headed in the right direction.
Q. With the D-line, Torrence Brown is a guy that teammates have said they want to play for him. How do you think he's handled everything thrown his way?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think Torrence is one of these guys since the day he stepped on campus, he's just a very mature guy. He's very appreciative of his entire experience here. He's one of these guys that treats everybody with respect, old guys, young guys. He's got this real big brother demeanor to him. As we all know, he's got that Barry White voice, deep. He's very kind. He's very caring. He's very supportive of his teammates.
I think he's just a universally respected and liked guy in our locker room. He's a guy that I'm hoping is coming for Thanksgiving. I know his family is coming into town, or they were planning on coming into town.
But he's just one of those guys that everybody really likes and respects because of how he treats others, and how he kind of goes about his business, you know. I can see why when Torrence got hurt so many people were affected by it, because he's just been such a good guy, been such a good teammate, that I think a lot of people with empathize with him.
Q. How do you assess Lamont Wade's development? What do you see as his primary strength and areas that need improvement?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Lamont is a true freshman that obviously came in with a lot of hype. I think his greatest strength is his confidence, his competitive nature. He's also a guy that can run. He's not the biggest guy, but I think he'll hit you. He plays big. Had a great spring ball. Really got a lot of reps and matched up with our wide receivers, which for an undersized corner is probably a challenging situation, which he handled it really well.
I think this year he's done some really good things. I think there's some areas that I think he knows that he needs to improve on, and we need to help him improve.
But I think he's got a really bright future because he's confident, because he's smart, because he's tough, because he's explosive, because he's fast. He's just a natural football player.
But, you know, I think I have told you guys before, I think playing offensive tackle and corner at this level are probably the two hardest positions, as well as quarterback with all the other responsibilities that are on there. Probably the three toughest positions to play in college football of the you're basically trying to cover the best athlete on the other side of the field in space, and you're not the one, you know, that's making the decisions, you're reacting to somebody else's decisions, which makes it even harder.
I'm pleased with him. But the exciting thing is he's got a lot of football left ahead of him. There's definitely some areas, I think challenging at the line of scrimmage is something he can do better to get people off balance. In high school, guys could just rely on their speed and things like that. That's not going to work at this level. But I could say that for a lot of these guys.
Q. The punt return game, DeAndre has not been getting a lot of opportunities. Is that something opponents are doing to take him out of the game or are there some decisions he could be making better?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I think he has made enough big plays in the kicking game that people are concerned punting to him, and also what he's been able to do at wide receiver. I do think people are trying to kick it away from him or kicking for hang time and trying to get coverage, those types of things.
Is there a few decisions that you'd like? Yeah, that's myself, that's the players, that's everybody included. But the hard part is, you know, where do you align, because you got a guy like last week who one time kicks it 15 yards and the next time punts it 55 yards, all over the field. A lot of people are using the rugby style punt where they roll out, hold onto the ball as long as they possibly can for coverage down the field. There's a lot of things that kind of go into it.
If I had to grade his overall year, I think it's been really good. I think we got kickoff return guys now that people are concerned about. You see what people are doing in terms of pop-over kicks, things like that, almost the entire game on our kickoff return unit, same thing with punt. People are concerned about those guys getting a chance to make big plays, are spending a lot of time during their practice prep to come up with a solution.
I would grade him very high at this point. I think there's a few that he would like to have back, and so would we. I think there's no doubt that people are scheming to try to lessen the impact he's going to have on the game.
Q. With the home schedule now over, when you host official visits, how is that process transitioning to beyond the season?
JAMES FRANKLIN: I actually prefer it. I think most coaches do prefer it not during the season. I think when all possible you'd like for in-season visits to be unofficial, and you'd like for the end-of-the-season visits to be official visits.
The way the calendar has changed now in recruiting, especially with all the new stuff going on, I don't know if that's possible. I think we're going to get more and more visits in the summer, during camp, which I'm not sure how that's going to work out yet. Then during the season, it's challenging just because, to be honest with you, you don't get a whole lot of time with them. Friday night you're with the team the whole time. You'd love for them to go out and enjoy themselves with the guys, but most of the guys are in a hotel. Friday night is weird. Then you get Saturday, and almost the entire day is dominated by the game, so you don't get a whole lot of time with them on Saturday. You get a little time Saturday night. Coaches are exhausted by the time that comes. Then you spend some time with them Sunday morning, they leave.
For a kid that maybe is out of the footprint, has never seen a game day environment at Penn State, there's definite value in that. But for other guys that, you know, you really want to show them what you're about, what your organization is about, what your university's about, because at the end of the day the school's rankings are wonderful, the stadium size is wonderful, but it's about you have a son, and you're basically handing your son over to us. So it's about people and it's about relationships.
The hard part during the official visit weekend, during a game day, you just don't get as much time as you'd want. I actually prefer the ones in December and January.
Q. (No microphone.)
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think just like now I can go to breakfast, I can go to lunch, I can go to dinner with them. It's a lot more concentrated amount of time. They get to really see me. I get to really see them. They get to see my staff. They get to see our staff, our wives.
If we would have had a couple kids on official visits this past weekend, say on Saturday from 8 in the morning till 12 at night, during a non-game official visit weekend, I'd probably be with those kids six to eight hours on and off. On a game weekend, I may get an hour and a half with them.
For the most part, most of these kids, they know us, we know them already, but I still think there's a lot of little details and questions and feeling and gut feeling that has to happen that's hard to pull off.
Q. I know you aren't too into individual stuff, but Saquon is a little over 300 yards away from setting the all-time rushing yards at Penn State. How do you view what he's been able to do here?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Maryland, Maryland, Maryland, Maryland, Maryland, Maryland, Maryland.
We'll have a meeting, I would assume we'll have some media meetings, after the season, kind of in between the end of the season and the actual bowl week. I'll be happy to kind of look back on the season, perspective. Even some guys, maybe not him, but careers, what they were able to establish in their careers and things like that.
Obviously it's significant. But I just feel like I'd prefer to have those types of conversations looking back at the season, looking back at careers at a time other than this.
I get it. I know you got to ask the question. There's some things you want to do about that. But the tone of how the Saquon conversations have been going for the last couple weeks is not the tone I want with our team right now, not the team I want with Saquon.
I get that. I don't control what you write, what you want to talk about. I prefer to keep my team as focused as possible on Maryland, then at the end of the season talk about some bigger picture things and some perspective, then after the season maybe do some things, as well, after the bowl game completely ends, so...
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