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Penn State Football: Five Questions Heading Into James Franklin's Weekly Press Conference

by on August 30, 2016 6:00 AM

Every Tuesday morning reporters covering Penn State football will prepare for James Franklin's weekly press conference slated to take place around 12:30 inside Beaver Stadium. With that in mind, here is a new series that will address five hot topic items facing Franklin and the program each week.

This week the Nittany Lions are set to face Kent State, a team that enters Saturday's contest prepared to play three different quarterbacks as the Golden Flash ultimately use the game to prepare for the remainder of their season.  Justin Agner will start first. In turn the Nittany Lions will do the same, although with a single quarterback unless the game gets out of hand.

Even so Penn State has plenty of questions still unanswered heading into Week 1.

Will Saquon Barkley return kicks at all this weekend or has that rotation already been decided?

How legitimate Franklin and Barkley's claims that the sophomore back could be used on special teams this year has been something of an enjoyable debate for everyone following the team. Early in the summer it was seemingly a done deal, the long things went on though it appeared that it was a bit more hypothetical than ever really anything set in stone.

Is the middle linebacker position locked down for good?

It's hardly a mystery at this point that Jason Cabinda is a shoe in for the middle linebacker position after playing nearly all season there last year. But with Nyeem Wartman-White back from injury it in the very least has opened the door for competition. Chances are both Wartman-White and Cabinda will get some time in the middle, but there's still a question of that officially getting locked down as the base formation.

Where does Miles Sanders fit in?

Having been green lit to play for the season as a true freshman, the question still remains as to how Miles Sanders fits into the running back equation. There's no doubt that he's getting carries, but how many and at what junctures is unknown. It's safe to assume that he and Saquon Barkley will be on the field at the same time which open the door for receptions out of the backfield, something Penn State hasn't really had in recent years. Barkley had 20 catches last season.

How much better is the offensive line?

Everyone knows that Joe Moorhead's offensive scheme is supposed to take pressure off of the offensive line, but it's unknown how much better the line actually is. Masking a weakness is a positive, but that's not the same thing as making progress as it pertains to improving that weakness.

How big is the playbook right now?

It's Week 1 which means it's safe to assume that Penn State's offense isn't clicking at 100 percent just yet. Couple in the fact that the Nittany Lions "shouldn't" have much issue taking care of Kent State and the playbook might not only be small but not even open the whole way with Pitt watching from across the state in anticipation of Week 2's meeting. So how big is the playbook compared to where it could be in November, and how much do fans get to see come Saturday?

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