Penn State Football: Franklin Ready To See Hackenberg To Make His Teammates Better
James Franklin has avoided heaping too much praise on quarterback Christian Hackenberg this offseason, but there is little doubt Penn State's head coach has bought into the hype.
"Having a great quarterback makes everybody on your roster better," Franklin said earlier this week. "The defense plays better. They want to get the ball back to that guy, because they know he has a chance to do something with it. I'm excited about it, and I think our coaches and our players are."
Hackenberg will have his fair share of obstacles to overcome this season. The absence of now NFL receiver Allen Robinson will mean Hackenberg's biggest safety net is now gone. A fresh crop of targets to work with and an inexperienced offensive line means Hackenberg will need to be quick on his feet and quick with his reads. Otherwise, the season could get off to a bumpy start.
Like all things in sports though, practice and time are the biggest assets Hackenberg will have leading into the 2014 season. After coming to Penn State late in the summer last year, he'll have far more time this year to work on routes and work on the mental side of the game before a single meaningful snap is ever played.
"He can really make a dramatic improvement of watching tape," Franklin said. "Studying our last three years of running this offense with those guys, watching Central Florida and getting prepared for them, and then going out and throwing and getting the timing and chemistry together. They can make dramatic improvements from the end of spring ball to the start of camp."
Obviously, this development comes with one goal always in mind.
"Keeping the quarterback upright is important," Franklin said. "We like that."
Penn State will go as far as Hackenberg can carry the team, and he'll need plenty of help.
Considering that he's bigger and stronger and rocking out with a Fabio-esque hair style, Hackenberg has all the tools to put together another impressive season.
"He's big. He's strong. He's athletic. He's got great hair, and I have hair envy, because I have none of it, and I appreciate a good head of hair," Franklin said smiling.