Injuries, News, Franklin Talks Thompkins And More From Dublin
It's a surprisingly sunny morning here in Dublin as Penn State prepares to hit the field Thursday for the second practice session of the trip later today.
The Nittany Lions have brought around 300 people when you count the full roster of assistants, administrative staff members and all of the people who help make the massive engine of Penn State football run.
Weather should be just fine with temperatures heating up and the skies clearing as we get closer to game day at Croke Park. James Franklin says he doesn't care about weather conditions, but it's safe to say everyone involved would be happy to get rid of the drizzle we've seen so far and bring in the sun.
Penn State's plan for Thursday is pretty straightforward. The team will be taking care of business in house before a practice scheduled for mid-afternoon. The media will be meeting with James Franklin shortly after 4 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EST). From there Penn State will travel to the Guinness Storehouse for dinner and a tour before heading back to the hotel to rest up for Friday.
Here are a few team notes to digest as Penn State gets one day closer to Game 1 of the 2014 football season.
-Penn State corner Jordan Lucas says that UCF's wideout corp is maybe the best the Nittany Lions will see all season. They return plenty of talent and are smart route runners and blockers down the field. If nothing else Penn State isn't taking them lightly after they put up solid numbers in UCF's victory last season. At the same time, Penn State's secondary should be improved this season.
-In a similar vein quarterback Christian Hackenberg says Saturday isn't about revenge for last season's loss, just about getting the season started off on the right foot. Hackenberg expects that UCF's experienced defense will bring a few new looks that they didn't have last season but knows that it helps to have played UCF last season to gain some familiarity with the defense.
-After a strong spring practice, De'Andre Thompkins seemed to be a name to watch moving into the season. After the release of the depth chart this past week Thompkins was down much farther than fans and media expected. Here is what Franklin told StateCollege. when asked about Thompkins progression:
"There were actually five guys who came in mid-semester but for some reason we always end up talking about De'Andre Thompkins," Franklin said. "I don't think any of those five guys right now are in the first, second team but I could be wrong about that. But you know, I think De'Andre is in great shape for a true freshman who just showed up on campus. He's extremely fast, he's a great kid. He needs to get a little bigger and stronger, he needs to play fast within the scheme which are the things he tried to work on this spring. He could still end up having a huge factor with us this year depending on how things go and we're going to continue to evaluate him."
-Adam Breneman was in attendance at practice but on crutches and simply watching after surgery to his left knee that is expected to keep him out for the season.
-Defensive end C.J. Olaniyan was wearing a blue non-contact jersey at practice yesterday. It's unclear -- but likely -- that it is simply a precautionary measure. Offensive guard Donovan Smith wore a similar jersey earlier this spring but seemed unhampered by any aliments. Olaniyan's involvement should become more obvious during full speed practice on Thursday.
-Injured offensive linemen Miles Dieffenbach continues to be a factor on the team despite injury as he has taken over the role James Franklin calls "assistant offensive line coach."
Keep track of Ben Jones as he navigates Dublin by reading his Penn State Football/Ireland Travel Blog.