Penn State Football: James Franklin In Element At First Radio Show
James Franklin looked right at home on Thursday night at Damon's for his first radio show of the year. Making jokes, remembering the names of fans he met many weeks ago, handing out shirts and shaking hands at commercial breaks. It's safe to say that Franklin could have done a lot of different things with a skill set that makes him so people friendly, but as a head football coach he has to answer head football coach questions.
Here are a few of the highlights from Thursday's event.
Is the team better now than two weeks ago?
"Definitely. I was really pleased with our practice today. Thursday is usually kind of a jog through. We go full speed on Tuesday and Wednesday with competitive scout teams. I told the scout teams I want them to be Rudys with talent. Thursday is a walkthrough and they were really sharp. We canceled practice yesterday and sent them to the movies. Their bodies are starting to come back from two-a-days. We're in a good place right now."
Value of the wildcat formation.
"I know people are saying you have this great quarterback why would you take him out of the play -- here's the rationale with Wildcat. When you line up in traditional offense when QB hands ball off, the quarterback is doing nothing but hands the ball off. When you line the quarterback up wide people say you don't have to cover him, but you still do. And the game truly becomes 11 on 11 -- you gain a blocker. We have some issues on the offensive line so we'll have to look for every advantage we possibly can. We're going to have to be creative and take risks."
Moving into a new league where everything is new the first time around.
"We did a lot of studies this summer watching tape, evaluating schemes. Where the experience helps you is not the players, you can get that from film, its familiarizing yourself with the coordinators. After playing people a couple of years, you can get a feel for that. We really won't have a great feel for that probably until two or three years, because it's not just the coaches, it's the venues."
Importance of having players recruiting, recruits.
"It's no different than any other business. If you walk into a business and you're treated first-class, they go back to their business and remember that. When we bring recruits on campus, we spend time with them, or they'll go to student union with the players. It's one thing for us to say it, it's another for our current players, and then another is our actual recruiting class. They know they're only going to be as good as the guys they surround themselves with."
Why change the team arrival.
"Coming to Penn State, there's not a whole lot of things that we have to change. We came pulling up to Blue White Game, we walked 40 yards and the place was packed and people weren't able to interact. I said 'Why can't we extend that?' If we can pull the buses up and stop by the baseball field and walk the entire street, and include the band and cheerleaders and make it a real experience. That's an opportunity for players to get to see their parents right before they go on the field. This is something we can add to what we're already doing and show the fans how much we appreciate them."
Changing game prep due to travel.
"We take a game, and then we count back. We'll have a bonus Sunday practice for Central Florida. We give players Mondays off. We'll have a bonus Wednesday practice and Thursday practices and then get into a normal game week. Before that, we didn't talk about Central Florida, it was focusing on being the best Penn State we can possibly be."
New Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour made an appearance on Thursday along with a good number of Franklin's administrative staff members.
Franklin says that his family is in town but is living with QB coach Ricky Rahne while the Franklin house is getting ready.
Penn State has loaded the playbook onto the team's newly purchased iPad's.