Penn State football is preparing for spring practice, but as coach James Franklin pointed out on Monday afternoon. Nobody actually knows if it’s going to happen or not.
“Nobody has really come out and said it either way,” Franklin mentioned during a media session Monday. “And I guess what I’m saying is, what 2020 has taught me and I think has taught us all, is that you’re going to have to be prepared for what comes. Especially when you’re dealing with a pandemic.”
Franklin point is a fair one, the Big Ten and NCAA have generally given guidance and notice of the plans for competition and practice regulations amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While spring ball is still a small distance away from its usual time of the year, neither the conference nor the NCAA at-large has said much in the way of how that might play out.
When exactly Penn State would begin practice is uncertain in terms of specific date, but generally the spring period – which concludes with the Blue White game – ends in mid April. Penn State’s 2020 Blue White game was canceled due to COVID-19 with the Nittany Lions having gone through very little offseason programming.
Of course if there is some semblance of a silver lining, it’s that Penn State and the rest of the college football landscape have been working in a pandemic for a few months now. The Nittany Lions seemingly one of the few teams in America to make it through their entire schedule.
“It’s easier to say that we can pull off spring ball and do it the right way after already being through a season,” Franklin said. “But no one has said anything. […] It’s hard to tell how the Big 10 is going to handle some of these things how the NCAA is going to handle these things, but we’re moving ahead and prepared and planning on doing it all.”
Whenever exactly Penn State starts its offseason programming, the Nittany Lions will need all the time they can get. Between a hiring of new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and the various defensive woes to be worked out by defensive coordinator Brent Pry, the entire program will have its hands full with things to take care of in 2021. Franklin and his staff welcomed seven new freshmen this past weekend as early enrollees, a key time in the development for players who might be on a fast track towards seeing the field this upcoming season.
But if 2020 has taught everyone anything, it’s to take things one day at a time.
And there are 228 of them between now and Penn State’s opener at Wisconsin.