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Countdown To Dublin: UCF In Sight As Team Almost Ready To Flip Switch

by on August 17, 2014 10:00 AM

Training camp only just started, but the Nittany Lions are already running out of time.

With two weeks under the belt it's just a short nine days before coach James Franklin and company will be packing their bags and heading to Ireland. As classes start and the number of practices remaining continue to dwindle, each and every rep, pass, film session and defensive huddle becomes that much more important. 

As of last week Franklin wasn't ready just yet to flip the switch and take on UCF prep just yet even though he's happy with what he has seen so far.

"It's been great. We've had great energy at practice," Franklin said. "Guys are flying around. We've gotten better. I've dramatically seen us get better. Especially on special teams ... I like where we are at right now."

"I think we've got some really good football players. I really do. I think the staff being together now is really valuable. And I see it showing up in a lot of different areas - how we plan, how we come out here and how we are effective. I don't know if there is anything that has surprised me, but overall, I've been pretty pleased with what we have been able to do."

Penn State will have a good amount of rust to work off in Week 1 -- especially on the offensive side of the ball -- the good news for fans though is Franklin's confidence in the progress the defense is making. It's a unit that should be Penn State's best this season but it's only a few injuries away from having some serious issues.

"I've been very pleased with our defense as a whole," Franklin said. "When you look across the board at the guys we have on the field, really all 11 starters and some more depth, I think our defense has a chance to play really well. I think they can play fast and play with confidence. With the strength of our D-Line, I'm depending on those guys to help the secondary, as well. Because hopefully the quarterback isn't going to be able to hold onto the ball very long."

Penn State might still be focusing on itself right now. The team is working on the fundamentals and all the little details that will help the Nittany Lions succeed. But sometime in the not so distance future it'll be time to flip the switch. 

Because it'll be game week in only six days.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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