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February 6, 2019

James Franklin

University Park, Pennsylvania

COACH FRANKLIN: First of all, appreciate everybody coming out. Really do. Obviously a little bit different situation now with the double signing days and things like that. So, as expected, we expected most of our work, the majority of our work to finish up on signing day one and then close up on a few pieces on signing day two.

It will be interesting to see how this thing plays out next year with some of the challenges with the early signing period with some of the staff turnovers that we've had with head coaches at other schools. Will more guys wait until the second signing period or not?

We'll see. So obviously there's been a lot of changes in college football this year so that will be interesting.

But I think overall very pleased with the class. Very pleased with the class and what we've been able to do in our region and obviously opening up some different opportunities this year in Florida, and then obviously in a similar area as Florida, Germany, going to places like Germany.

So it's pretty exciting. And Brandon Collier has done a really good job. It's pretty amazing. He's a young man who actually played for Coach Spencer at UMass and started this kind of European training program and tour. You see guys signing all over the country. So pretty exciting, pretty exciting from that perspective. And we're really excited about that young man that we were able to pick up.

As you guys know, we did have a couple of guys that signed today, and actually had one that had really signed in the first signing period but wanted to keep it private until he went and played in the all-star game.

So Darkwa, Joseph Darkwa, a young man from Germany, 6'5", 272 pounds, a skinny 272 pounds. We were able to watch him on game tape. He's probably a lot more advanced than we anticipated him being. And being able to watch all his workout tapes, very athletic and excited about kind of his future.

Hakeem Beamon -- this is in alphabetical order. Excuse me. Obviously being able to get the young man from Germany was important, especially at the defensive tackle position. But then on top of that, for us being able to go out and get some other guys in this class to finish up.

D'Von Ellies is a guy that signed with us. We're doing pretty good at his high school right now, which is McDonogh High School. And PJ Mustipher from the same high school, same position, both defensive tackles, he signed. Played in the Polynesia all-star game. Wanted to announce it there but signed in the early signing period. Obviously comes from a Polynesian background. Had a bunch of family over there to celebrate, which was awesome. We're really excited about his future and what he's going to be able to do moving forward.

Daequan Hardy was a guy we went back and forth on the entire process. What really helped us was two things: Number one, he came to camp last year, and in our camp ran a 4.4 and not too many human beings on the planet that run 4.4 and we had it in our own camp. That was going into his junior year. And then on top of that he had a dominant senior year. Had a dominant senior year, unbelievable amount of touchdowns, unbelievable amount of interceptions.

I think in the state championship game, I think he had five touchdowns in the state championship game through receptions and interceptions.

So for us, being the state school, we're always going to take care of the players in our state, and he earned it. Kind of more of an old-school approach in terms of having a really dominant senior year and kind of going from there.

Got a chance to know him and his family really well on the official visit. Spent some time around him. Obviously Coach Smith has strong ties there, and we're excited about what we're able to do going in that direction.

Smith Vilbert reminds us a lot of Jayson Oweh. He's only played football for one year. His potential and his ceiling is very high because it's still all new to him. Watched him play basketball, was blown way about his movement on the court. Another guy, 6'5", 243 pounds right now. And I think he's got a chance to be, to have the type of length and type of athleticism off the edge that we're looking for.

So overall really good group of guys.

And then obviously the wide receiver position was important for us in T.J. Jones, another young man that we were able to get out of Florida, Lake City, Florida and Columbia High School. We kind of fell in love with him late in the process. Obviously Coach Seider's connection there came on a visit, got to know him really well, his high school. Had a bunch of offers from all over the country. And again another prospect that we think has a lot of upside.

Feel good about how we closed the class out, how we closed the class out, still got a lot of work to do. Obviously we've already started winter workouts. We did make a change to winter workouts. We've always done those in the morning.

And we moved those to the afternoon, which is something I've never done before. But with our conversations with sport science, we spend all our time talking to our players about the importance of nutrition, hydration and sleep. But then as coaches we get them up at 5:00 in the morning -- it just didn't make a whole lot of sense.

So move that to the afternoon. We're in the middle of that right now. We'll give the staff off for a few days. After today give them off Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, then get them back to work and spring ball will be back before we know it.

Excited how the class filled out excited about what we'll be able to do in the offseason. Obviously a lot more question marks go into this season than maybe we had in the past, but excited about where we're going.

Q. James, with the number of transfers that you have, is that a cause for concern or more a sign of the times?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think that's a great question. And I think the point that you made at the end is how we're looking at it.

It's changed. College athletics has changed. College football has changed. There's been a lot of rule changes in the last five years that have impacted college football.

You've got the graduate transfer that started a few years ago, and that was to allow guys that had graduated with their undergraduate degree to go get a master's degree at another school that offered that graduate degree.

Well, that's not how the graduate transfer played out. That's what it essentially was supposed to be. It's morphed into something that it was not intended to be.

We allowed agents to talk to players from the time they're a freshman now until the time they're a senior. That's a rule change. We weren't able to talk to agents until their eligibility was up.

And I know there was a lot of talk within the NCAA and the membership institutions about deregulation a few years ago. Especially the rules that they didn't really feel like were enforceable.

I don't know if that makes a whole lot of sense, though, because there's still a lot of people that aren't going to do it because you're not supposed to.

And that's concerning. The transfer rule, I think, was magnified this year, obviously, with the changes, with the transfer portal and the perception of guys being able to transfer and get eligibility right away.

And there's so many things that go with that. Our situation is a little different than most, because we have such a large number of guys that graduate early. And most of our guys have already graduated.

So our situation's a little bit different. And for me, ultimately, I want our guys to be able to chase their dreams and be happy and be successful. And we're unbelievably supportive of that.

For me, my concern isn't really about Penn State. I'm worried about college football. I'm worried about what we're teaching young people. I think one of the greatest things that I think that college football and college athletics teaches, it's a tremendous complementary aspect to what they're learning in the classroom -- the mental toughness, the physical toughness, how to overcome adversity, those types of things.

And I worry that we're creating a situation where it's path of least resistance. And in my life I don't know if that's ever been the right choice or the right path.

So I'm concerned. I really am. What I've tried to do, I've tried to look at it a little bit like basketball. Basketball went through this a few years ago. And there's some specific programs that I've thought of and I've studied, but I won't get into the specific programs. But I look at basketball.

And some programs struggled with this, the new basketball rules, the one and done, and they struggled with and they fought it for a while. And those programs struggled. They didn't evolve. They did not grow. They did not adapt to the new environment.

And then over time, some of those programs decided they were going to embrace the new model and grow and move with it. And that's what we're going to do.

I get it. It can be frustrating. It can be confusing. I get all those types of things. But we're going to embrace the new model. We're going to learn to work within it. And it's really the sign of the times in college athletics.

I looked last week. I think at that time there was 1,789 guys in the transfer portal. I worry that all those guys are going to find the right spot. So I just worry. I worry who's advising. I worry about where the information is coming from. I worry that there's a shift right now to the emphasis being on the NFL and not on college athletics, which is, to me, education first is how I got into this industry.

And don't get me wrong. The NFL is a part of it as well. But to me the emphasis should be on getting an education first; and then if the NFL thing happens for you, awesome, and we're going to work very hard at helping you achieve that goal as well. But I worry about this shift.

I worry about the mentality a little bit right now. I see players constantly posting, guys commit and they say I'm going to be at school X for three to five years. Literally, that's the first thing. They're already thinking about three years.

And I'm just a big believer that this model has worked for a very long time, and it's not perfect. It really isn't. And I know this is a long answer -- I probably should stop talking -- but I'm concerned. And this model has worked for a long time.

It is not perfect. But I think about so many people that I know, whether it was small school football, whether it was major college football, that this worked for.

It created opportunities for guys to get a great education; to learn mental toughness; to learn physical toughness; to take advantage of trainers, doctors, coaches and administration; and off-the-field, player-development programs.

There's so much good that comes from this. And I just worry that the direction this is going, that at some point the model is going to break. And I'm concerned about that. So I want what's best for the players. I want what's best for colleges and universities. I want what's best for our game.

But I think we're at a challenging time right now. There's no doubt about it. But I know at Penn State we're going to embrace the new model. We're going to grow. We're going to evolve. And we're going to find a way to be successful in it.

Q. Getting back to that, the transfer issue, what is your level of concern losing that kind of depth off of your roster? And would you consider bringing in graduate transfers to fill some of those spots?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think that's what's happening all over the country, is you're losing graduate transfers. You're losing guys to the portal. And you're going to have to approach and take transfers from other schools.

That's the situation that a lot of programs the country are in right now. So, yeah, I think you're going to have to look at it from both perspectives.

Q. How are you handling the situation with these kids who are transferring but are still in school? Are they still members of the team? Are they working out with guys? It seems like that would be an interesting dynamic.
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, that's all the things that go along with this that are tricky. And the NCAA has left it a little bit gray so each school can kind of handle it how they want to.

I also think this is something that the beginning of the year, the compliance directors across the country went up and said here's this new rule, and then kind of left it at that and didn't get into great detail. And the same thing with coaches. And each school's handling it different.

So you may have a policy that you're going to cut the scholarship at the end of the semester, and that they're moving out of the locker room and those types of things.

But another school is treating it differently. And then the players will come and say, well, this school is doing it this way. And another school is doing it different.

So, it's challenging. I think obviously there's going to come a point this year, because it's new to everybody, that it's kind of a work in progress and it's kind of fluid.

But I do think there's going to come a point where we're going to have to sit down and say this is how we're handling it moving forward. It's not new anymore, there's no gray area and this is how we're going to have to do it -- that takes what's in the player's best interest into account, but also gives you a chance to manage your own roster and understand how we're going to handle it here at Penn State.

Q. James, where do you see Daequan Hardy fitting in on your roster at this point? And what led to him getting an offer so late in the process?
COACH FRANKLIN: Okay. I'll repeat it. I think I kind of already answered the second part of the question but I'll go through it again. But the first part is we recruited him as a corner and possible athlete. We know he can be a wide receiver as well. A lot of conversations about that.

We know he can be a return man. We know he can be a special teams guy, but it really came down to taking Daequan to what I had mentioned earlier, is we had documented times from our camp from two years ago on him that ran a 4.4, and it was evaluating his senior tape.

He had a dominant senior year. I want to say over 25 touchdowns. I want to say over 10 interceptions. I want to say five touchdowns in the state championship game.

And I think what happens sometimes with coaches, you get so caught up in the eyeball test and measurements. Daequan's not a big, imposing guy at this point of his career. But if you put the tape on and watch his production, he had as good of a senior year as anybody in the country.

That combined with the fact that we had documented times on him and knew he ran a 4.4, we said, hey, we've got a kid in our state who's an unbelievably productive football player and is a winner, that this is the type of guy that really this is what it's supposed to be about. You're going to have guys that you get involved with early on and get them on board. There's guys going to be in the middle and there's going to be guys late.

I think Christian Campbell, you remember Christian Campbell and Torrence Brown are two guys we offered the night before signing day and both had really good careers here. One is bouncing around the NFL right now. And one had a great career for us before it was cut short with some injuries.

So there's a lot of paths of how you get to a certain place. That's in recruiting. That's in relationships. That's with jobs.

I remember interviewing for my first head-coaching position and that thing took a lot of turns. But it worked out the way it was supposed to work out. So that's life.

Q. You guys, since we last talked, obviously parted ways with David Corley. How difficult was it for you to come to that decision? And also going along with Coach Parker coming in, what do you think are some of his best attributes, and how did you identify him?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, you know, I am -- I think you guys know I'm a relationship-driven guy. So whether that's with the players, whether that's with the staff, whether that's with my family, those things are really, really challenging for me.

I'd love to go through my whole career with never doing that. I've done it now -- in nine years I've done it twice. And I still struggle with that today because I understand the impact that it has. I look at the whole picture of it.

But I also have a responsibility to the other coaches and staff members in my program. And I also have responsibility to our players. And I also have a responsibility to the lettermen and to the fans and those types of things. So you've got to balance, balance that. But it's not an easy decision.

And I never make these decisions on an island as well. And it still bothers me. It really does. And, again, I gotta have loyalty to a larger group as well.

In terms of Coach Parker, a guy I've been tracking for a long time, obviously he was the interim head coach, that we got a chance to watch and see up close.

A lot of people that I trust and respect in the industry spoke highly of him. Obviously having guys on my staff that have worked with him before in Ja'Juan Seider, that carried a lot of weight for me as well.

And he crushed the interview. He crushed the interview. So I feel really good about what we've done. I feel really good about where we're going. And got a tremendous opportunity to make a significant impact.

Q. 2020, I know you want to maybe take a break, but you can't really do that in the recruiting. The region, according to people in my industry, is pretty stacked next year. Just what do you see from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania next year? Is it comparable to recent years? Is it going to be better? People think it's going to be one of the best classes in the region.
COACH FRANKLIN: That's a good point. You look at recruiting class rankings and you look at where the schools are that typically recruit at the highest level and how many players they have within their own state, how many players they have within their own region, that factors in.

And over the last couple of years we've had some challenges there. So being able to adapt and grow, I think, is really important. But I do think the region is really strong. And that's important. It really is important, because obviously the closer they are, the better chance you have to develop the type of relationships that you need.

So we're going to have to take advantage of that. And that is within a six-hour, probably a six-hour radius of campus. We're excited about it. We've got a pretty good start on it.

We've got to keep hammering through. And I think that's going to be kind of the nature of our program moving forward is we've got to continue developing like crazy. But I also think, depending on how college football continues to evolve, we could be young. We could be young. I also know there was a program a few years ago that lost a bunch of players to the NFL, had one of the youngest rosters in college football, and won a national championship.

So, again, you love to have experience. You'd love to have those veterans on your roster and we'll work like crazy to have those guys here, but you also have to embrace the situation you're in and focus on the positives and try to work as hard as you possibly can to eliminate some of the negatives and some of the weaknesses.

But they're there. Everyone has them. But we're going to spend our time focused on the positives and the strengths.

Q. Going back to Coach Parker, had you ever interviewed him before? What specifically did he do in the interview for him to crush it? And then what did you see in his time specifically at Purdue and Duke that kind of made him stand out to you?
COACH FRANKLIN: I had not interviewed him before. I had not interviewed him before. I thought that the Purdue experience is an important experience. And I think it's a unique experience.

I think as an assistant coach, everybody kind of sits there and thinks they understand what it's like to be the head coach until you're actually sitting in the chair.

So having that perspective of having some guys on the staff that have been head coaches before, having some guys on the staff that maybe have filled that role in -- like he did as an interim, I think it gives them pretty good perspective. And we saw a team that day that played really hard, played with great passion. And from what I understand from the people I talked to, that's why he got the job, is he was very well thought of from the players, very well liked, very well respected. And that's what they needed at that time.

So all the people that I've talked to and all the background checks that I've done, that's what's come up on him. And during the interview, it's a guy that comes in and has a presence and has command of the room, and then a guy that obviously has the detailed and specific understanding of the fundamentals and the techniques that are going to allow our guys to be successful at the very highest level.

On top of that, you're talking about a guy that's going to be able to build confidence. The fact that he played the position, I think, helps. It's not mandatory, but I do think it helps. It really does.

I think all those things -- understanding scheme, understanding scheme and how your position fits into that scheme. I don't know if I mentioned this to you guys before, but we lose Saquon Barkley and we actually rush for more yards per game and more yards per carry last year, but we dropped significantly in the passing game.

We didn't make the plays that we'd been making. And we dropped too many balls. And there's a lot of factors that go into that. There's not one responsibility or answer for that; there's a number of them.

I'm looking at it as a great opportunity. I know he's looking at it as a great opportunity. And we've got some talented guys that we're excited to see what they're going to be able to do this spring and going into the summer.

Q. For the 2019 class, are you finished there or are you waiting to hear from recruits out there? And second, given you're replacing so much depth, how important is it to have so many guys enroll early and already on campus with you?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think that's a great point, the second part. Typically we've had about between four and six guys at mid-semester.

Although we've lost, we pretty much have the same number we have right now typically going into spring ball and winter workouts, our total numbers on our roster right now.

So it's pretty similar. So the 14 mid-semester guys with scholarship and walk-ons, is helpful there. And then you had mentioned -- what was the first part activity question?

Q. 2019 class.
COACH FRANKLIN: It's hard to say the 2019 class is finished. There's some guys that obviously are still deciding and then there's -- there's some guys that may show up later in the process. You never know. But I think obviously I'd say the majority of our class is pretty much done, but it's hard to ever say it's completely over, because there's going to be guys that sign late.

Q. You mentioned how difficult it is to let personnel go. But at the same time after the Citrus Bowl you said about the special teams that it wasn't up to your standards all season long. So just curious what went into the decision to retain Phil Galiano and how confident are you moving forward that he's the right guy for the job in 2019?
COACH FRANKLIN: Again, I have tremendous confidence in all of our coaches, in all of our coaches based on their experience, based on their background. And for me, I don't make decisions just based on one area. It's a body of work. It's how are they with the players. It's how are they in terms of the staff. It's in terms of development of the individual players. It's in development of the scheme. It's in production on game day. It's an organization and practice. It's the type of role model they are for our players. It's all of it.

And for me it always comes down to is this the right thing to do for our program long term? And is the investment that we're making, are we going to get a return on that investment and how long are we going to have to wait for that return on that investment?

So for me, the guys that we have on our staff and the guys we have in our organization, we feel very confident on. And again there's a lot of different paths and there's a lot of different journeys to get there.

Some guys, guys are going to walk in and there's going to be an immediate impact. And some guys it's going to take a little bit more time. And I get that. And I understand that. But I'm a big believer that the men that we come to work with every single day, and that's our players and that's the coaches and that's all of us. And so that's where we're at at this point with our staff and with our players.

Q. Tommy Stevens' status, what is it? And he's had a lot of challenges this past year. How has that impacted his development not only as a player but then as a leader? He has more experience on the squad, being here, than anyone else?
COACH FRANKLIN: I'm a huge Tommy Stevens guy. I think Tommy is kind of the opposite of what you see going on in college football right now, because what we're seeing in college football right now is probably very similar to how the quarterback situation has been playing out really for the last number of years.

He's a guy that obviously as we all know there was a battle a few years back with Trace McSorley, and I stated to you guys and stated to them that that battle is a lot closer than people realize.

So Tommy decided to stick it out and stay with Penn State with maybe the greatest social media post of all time with his announcement to stay.

And it's been awesome. I think the challenge that he had this year is he had an injury. He had a pretty significant injury. And obviously it affected his ability to continue training and developing and playing the role that we needed him to play. And it's kind of led us to this point.

So we got into a situation where Sean was able to take advantages of some of those opportunities that Tommy wasn't available for. And now Sean has gained a lot of confidence from that experience as well.

But I've got so much respect for Tommy. I've got so much confidence in Tommy. It's going to be a tremendous spring. It's going to be a tremendous summer. And I've got a lot of confidence in the guys that we have in our quarterback room. I really do.

I think Coach Rahne has done a great job of coaching and developing those guys and they've taken a lot of pride in it. But I think Tommy Stevens is a really good example that we all should be celebrating about a guy who made a decision and has done a great job academically and is ready to take the next step in the program.

Q. Would he be listed as your number one quarterback in the spring depth chart?
COACH FRANKLIN: So obviously we're not in a situation to name a starter really at any position. But, yeah, when we start out, you know, you've got to put them in order. So Tommy will be number one and Sean will be number two and Levis will be number three and so forth down the line.

But at every position we have an open competition. And guys will have to battle. And that's even for returning starters. Returning starters have got to go out and they've got to prove that they deserve to come back and be the leader at that position. So that's across the board.

And we want all our guys to embrace that. We want our guys to embrace that competition and have fun with it and understand it's going to bring out the best in them. It really truly is. It's going to be a really good spring.

Q. Darkwa, four weeks ago, I think, is when you got his offer. Four weeks isn't a long time to recruit to anybody. When they're across the ocean I would think that's logistically insane. Have you made the trip across the Atlantic? Have you done it before? And can you take us inside the month that convinced him to invest his future in Happy Valley?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yep. We'd been recruiting him longer than that. But the offer, exactly, the timing is right. I think our relationship with the coach helped. I think how we communicated with not only the kid but the parents helped.

He's an interesting kid because he speaks four languages, which is impressive. Especially in our country where we don't embrace that like a lot of other countries do.

He speaks -- I hope I pronounce this right -- he speaks Twi, the native language of Ghana where his family is originally from. His mom moved to Germany 30 years ago. He speaks Twi. He speaks German. He speaks English. And he speaks a little Dutch is how he explained it to me.

So, when they came on the visit, they came with his brother who is fluent in English. Came with mom, who understands English, but is a little shy and also isn't comfortable necessarily communicating back. So that was tricky. And then dad was not in Germany at the time, I think he was in Ghana.

So then we were trying to go see dad because he was the one guy we hadn't saw, but he was in Ghana and that's a whole other type of trip.

So we never actually went. We plan on going out this spring. But we just couldn't make it work at the end with the other things that we had to do. But obviously the way technology is now with Facetime and all those things, it really helped. But, no, we've not been out there.

I don't know if you guys know, but Terry is like the world traveler. So like every offseason he goes on some unbelievable trip with his family. I think last year they went to Africa. I forget -- he's been everywhere, literally going some unbelievable trip. They're going somewhere this summer too, he was just telling me the other day.

You can imagine, Terry was like "I'll go." But he wanted to go for like two and a half weeks. Bring his wife and his kids and those types of things.

But, no, it was -- I can't really say that any part of recruiting him was your usual situation. It's very different. But I do think the way -- if you look at this program, it is growing. I mean, it's amazing how many guys have signed out of this program in the last couple of years. I see this becoming more and more of an emphasis.

Q. (Inaudible)?
COACH FRANKLIN: No, I think the only thing I've done is Canada. The way the NCAA rules are, they're tricky. So, for example, when we recruited Sutherland, Sutherland was going to boarding school in northern Virginia, at Episcopal if I remember it correctly. The way NCAA rules are, you have to go as the head coach and I only get one day and I've got to do both visits in the same day.

I went to the school, went to Virginia met with his coaches and had to fly to Canada the same day to meet with the parents. Maybe the best home-visit meal I've ever had. Dad's Jamaican and he made Curry chicken, which is one of my favorite things, and sweet plantains, and me and Terry crushed them.

And a similar situation with Daniel Joseph, who was boarding school in Chicago, in Canada. But that was a little bit of an easier trip, obviously. But I think that's the extent of my type of travel. I needed a passport for.

Q. Going back to the wide receivers. Obviously a ton of talent and youth in that room. As a result, this is a crucial year for their development. So with Coach Parker's hire, where do you want to see the most improvement aside from obviously eliminating drops?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think it's overall skill development and confidence. I think that position is a really good example of kind of what we're working through right now is you've got really talented guys.

You've got -- KJ Hamler has done some fantastic things. You've got Jahan Dotson who kind of came on at the second half of the year and did some really good things for us.

You've got Cam Sullivan-Brown. You've got Justin Shorter and Mac Hippenhammer. You've got a bunch of young, exciting guys that are coming on. And we've got some other guys in the program, too, that we're excited about. So it's going to be interesting.

And the two freshmen coming in as well as some of the walk-ons, being able to earn some opportunities. I think Lutz is an interesting guy. I think Chisena is an interesting guy. Chisena is a guy that we recruited -- in some ways, he went his senior year, ends up winning the state 100 meter and all of a sudden the track program steals him from us. Just kidding.

But goes and runs track for a couple of years and then comes back to us. Big guy who can flat out run, a 4.3 guy. So there's some interesting storylines there. And I know Coach is interested in working with those guys.

I think you also know, you guys have heard me talk about the further away from the ball you are away the easier it is to get on the field earlier. A bunch of those young guys will have a tremendous opportunity to step up and make some significant moves.

Daniel George is obviously the other guy. All he does is catch. All he does is catch Beaver Stadium record touchdowns, the longest touchdown in Beaver Stadium, 97 yards.

So there's some talented guys there that we're excited about and obviously we feel really good about the tight end position and offensive line and quarterbacks and defensively. But we're going to be young, but we're going to be talented and it's going to be exciting and it's going to be really competitive.

Q. You mentioned Tommy Stevens as being an example of a guy that maybe goes away from that trend that you're seeing in college football. Lamont Wade would seem to fall into that category as well. What were those conversations like when he wanted to maybe look around and then obviously announced he was going to stay at Penn State. How delicate is that time when a guy is looking around -- some obviously say they want to go and grad transfer, whatever, and some in this case look around and come back?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think that's where this thing was tricky. The funny thing is Tommy Stevens is really the original transfer portal. But to me he did it the way it should have always been done, and I think could still be being done right now.

He came and talked to me. Had some concerns. Wants to start. Was graduating. Had two years left of eligibility. And we kind of said, let's kind of talk this through together and what are your objectives and all these types of things. And we were able to come up with an understanding between the two of us -- and his family and his high school coach -- that, hey, look around and if you find something that makes sense for you, then there's nobody that's going to be more supportive of you than us.

And he looked around and didn't find that and said I'm staying and kind of went from there. So I think it's a really good example.

I think my issue with all of this is when we put rules in, new rules, we overcorrect. So we go from one extreme to the other extreme. So I think obviously part of the reason we got to this situation is you had a small number of coaches that were abusing the ability to block kids from transferring to schools.

So we went from coaches could block you anywhere to now no blocking, just free agency. And to me there could have been -- there could have been a model that made sense. It could have been the NCAA come out and say you can't go to any school that's on the schedule but you can go anywhere else. Or the school can block five schools and that's it.

But we went from one extreme where the coach could block anything to the other extreme where you can't block any. And I think that's the problem that I see with the NCAA and the member institutions sometimes, is we overcorrect.

I think we saw that at Penn State. We overcorrected some things. So I think that's a challenge. That's a challenge. And to me there was a model that could have been a sweet spot in between the two of these that we're not the situation we are right now, if that makes sense.

Lamont, Lamont was a little bit like that. Lamont came and talked, but now the challenge is you go in the transfer portal, it becomes public. Tommy's situation never really became public. Lamont's situation becomes public. There's a lot of voices. There's a lot of noise.

The good thing is back to the recruiting process, had a really strong relationship with mom and dad. Lamont's a year away from graduating; this doesn't make sense. This doesn't make sense. To be able to talk it through; he's able to look around.

And to Lamont's credit, you know, he's frustrated. He wants to play more. He wants to have a big impact. And we want that for him, too. So it's talking through all these things.

And to me that's what it really should be about. It shouldn't be about the NCAA coming in and telling you how to do things and overcorrect; it should be the head football coach, the AD, the parents, the kid all sitting down and saying, look, let's do what's right; let's do what's right for Lamont. Let's do what's right for Penn State. Let's do what's right for college football and come up with some solutions.

So that's how that played out. But it's a tricky deal. It is a tricky deal. It's a tricky conversation. And I have some concerns right now about where this is all heading and does it get to the point where you can't really make anybody happy because one group wants this and the other group wants something else and does this model just blow up at some point.

And I just believe that college athletics and specifically the game of football has done so much good for young people, for families, for me, for guys that I've been able to coach, for the coaches I've been with, that, you know, I would hope that coaches and ADs and presidents would all kind of sit down in a room and come up with these questions and decisions and answer together, because I think what happens now is you've got presidents that look at things from one perspective; you've got ADs that look at things from another perspective. You've got coaches that look at things from a different perspective. And then you've got the student-athletes.

And the reality is you've got to get everybody in the room at the same time and talk through some of these things and come up with a compromise. It's never going to be perfect. It's never going to be perfect.

I think you guys have heard me say this before that this doesn't just impact football. It impacts the entire college model. And in a lot of ways whether we want to admit it or not, football, in a lot of cases, allows the whole college model to work, specifically at places like Penn State.

And you have the differences some conferences that average 16 or 17 collegiate sports. And you've got other conferences that average about 30 collegiate sports and they're very different models.

So it's an interesting time. But, again, our focus is we're going to embrace it. We're going to evolve. We're going to grow. It looks different to our fans. It looks different to our lettermen and to the media. It looks different to me. It looks different to me. But we're going to embrace it. We're going to grow and we're going to keep loving these kids. And we're going to keep helping them grow and develop as students and as players and as people.

And we're going to find a way to run out there in Beaver Stadium and play an exciting brand of football and work hard at making everybody proud.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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