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Penn State Football: Five Things To Look For As Franklin Wraps Up Season

by on January 20, 2017 2:00 PM

As the nation's eyes continue to focus on Washington DC, James Franklin will address the media on Saturday morning to recap the Nittany Lions' 2016 season and any lingering questions before the offseason begins and National Signing Day arrives next month.

While the vast majority of the biggest questions have already been answered about Penn State's immediate future, here are a few things to keep an eye out for on Saturday morning.

1. Scholarships.

Penn State has already awarded two scholarships to players already in the program this offseason in Josh McPhearson and Billy Fessler, opening the door to ask about any other players who may have picked up a scholarship since the season ended. In terms of the bigger picture, this should give everyone a better idea of the recruiting landscape over the next few weeks and for the 2018 cycle. It might only be a difference of + or - a player, but sometimes it only takes one to make a difference.

2. Health.

With spring ball closer than it seems, the team's health, especially for players who missed most or all of 2016-17 is an important thing to note. Chances are the entire team will be healthy by the time the season finally arrives, short of practice injuries, but all told getting an update on the overall status of the team and its returning players will be a key detail to the early stages of the 2017 campaign.

3. Staff changes.

Not so much in terms of assistants, but Franklin has an extensive network of Graduate Assistants and staff members working behind the scenes. While the vast majority go unnoticed, any meaningful changes would happen around this time of year. It might not make a big difference, but it's an interesting detail, especially if any new faces are brought in to the fold.

4. Changes to the game.

As is the case every offseason, the potential for rule changes across recruiting and the game itself are evaluated and voted on by coaches and the NCAA. This year doesn't look to have any major updates to either aspect of the game, but Franklin has been an outspoken voice on the recruiting trail even before coming to Penn State. What he thinks of the current landscape will be interesting to hear about, especially with Signing Day just a few weeks away.

5. What's next.

With the program likely moving past the Rose Bowl loss and on to 2017, this will be the first time for James Frankln to set the tone for the upcoming season and the internal level of expectaion. For the most part Franklin has kept a fairly even approach when it comes to hyping things up during this tenure at Penn State but with a likely Top 5 ranking in the preseason and plenty of optimism, it's going to be hard to avoid fanning those flames on Saturday.

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