Penn State Football: Hackenberg Not Lacking Confidence Heading Into Camp
For Christian Hackenberg it's back to business.
His hair has been trimmed from its near mullet-like status. He answers questions like it's game week, he has a Blue White scrimmage under his belt and a spring full of early morning workouts taken care of. Penn State may not start practice for a few more weeks, but it's clear that Hackenberg is already prepared for what lies ahead.
So to say that he isn't lacking confidence would be an understatement. He may have only been on campus for over 12 months, but there is very little Hackenberg hasn't seen and even fewer things he hasn't cone well on the football field.
Even so, Hackenberg is still learning -- not only what it means to play college football, but what it means to be a leader.
"I'm a lot more confident in going out there and getting the guys ready to go," Hackenberg said this past weekend. "I feel more confident in the system. Last year I was still learning the system so it was really run by guys like Jesse James, Allen Robinson, those kinds of guys. I just listened and threw the ball. This year I have to take the responsibility, I'm one of the more experienced guys in the offense. So I've had to step up, but it has been great, I enjoy it."
And that's good news for Franklin and Penn State fans. Hackenberg is obviously at the top of the list when it comes to players crucial to the team's success, but all the talent in the world can only get you so far. It's how you lead that talent and how you work on the days between the games that will largely determine the program's success.
Because of that, Hackenberg and his new crop of receiving targets are already out on the Lasch Building field working on routes and patterns together. Defensive backs are working on coverages and Sam Ficken is kicking as often as he can. It may not be under the supervision of coaches but it's work getting done and improvements being made.
"We go three or four times a week," Hackenberg said. "We'll either work on routes or timings or do 7-on-7s or 1-on-1s to get more competitive there. Try to get guys ready for what camp is going to be like."
For Hackenberg himself, the new coaching staff does provide him with a chance to re-learn a few things, but for the most part the change isn't nearly as drastic as it was transitioning from high school to college.
"It was a lot easier than coming in last year," Hackenberg said. "Just being able to go out there and pick it up. I had spring ball and now I have this whole summer. So I've just be repping things out whenever I can. Going out and doing it with 7-on-7s, so it has been a lot easier and I definitely feel a lot more confident going into this year with this offense."