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2014 Big Ten Media Days - Day I Coverage

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14_mediaday_blog_4.jpgCoach Franklin Transcript - July 28 | Press Conference Video | Photo Gallery

CHICAGO - Coach James Franklin and seniors Bill Belton, Sam Ficken and Mike Hull kicked off Big Ten Media Days on Monday at the Hilton downtown Chicago.

Franklin and the trio of players participated in a wide range of activities with local and national media throughout the day.  Stay tuned for continuing coverage of Penn State's trip to the 2014 Big Ten Media Days.

9 a.m. - Hackenberg Tabbed as Player to Watch
The first piece of Penn State news from Big Ten Media Days broke just before 9 a.m. on Monday when the conference announced that sophomore Christian Hackenberg was named one of 10 Big Ten Players to Watch heading into the 2014 season.

9327000.jpegHackenberg was selected the 2013 Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year, becoming the second-straight Nittany Lion to win the award, with defensive end Deion Barnes doing so in 2012. His tremendous true freshman season was recognized nationally, as he garnered first-team True Freshman All-America accolades from He completed 231 of 392 passes for 2,955 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. Hackenberg also ran for four touchdowns and accumulated 2,887 yards of total offense, an average of 240.6 ypg.

The Virginia native broke one Penn State overall passing record and 12 school freshman passing records, including the freshman marks for game and season passing completions, attempts, yards and touchdown passes. He compiled four 300-yard passing games to tie Matt McGloin for the school single season record and tie Kerry Collins for second place on the career list, just two behind McGloin's career mark of six. Hackenberg completed 14 passes of 40 yards or longer, which was tied for the most nationally by a freshman and eighth overall, including a season-long 68-yard touchdown pass to Adam Breneman in the season finale win at No. 14 Wisconsin.

2014 Big Ten Players to Watch
Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Rob Havenstein, RT, Wisconsin

10:05 a.m. - One-on-One Interviews Kick Off Media Days
Head coach James Franklin kicked off the festivities with a one-on-one interview with the Big Ten reporters.


12 p.m. - Quoting the Nittany Lions
A collection of quotes during the open media session at Big Ten Media Day:

14_mediaday_blog_5.jpgCoach Franklin on the logistics of playing in Ireland - "We think we've got a pretty good plan going into it. We're going to need to be very disciplined. We'll leave Tuesday night. Go to class on Tuesday, practice on Tuesday and leave Tuesday night, and we'll get there on Wednesday. We're going to have to force them to stay up that entire day and try to get adjusted and acclimated as quick as we possibly can, but no doubt it's a challenge."

Coach Franklin on Christian Hackenberg - "The thing that I'm most impressed is how humble and how hungry and how open he is to coaching. I think Billy O'Brien and our staff did a really good job of teaching concepts. That's kind of what we believe is you teach the game from a big picture perspective. They understand concepts. They've got a chance to put things together in their head and understand offenses. So now we come in, there's a lot of similar philosophies, but he understands concepts of football. But I've been very impressed with him."

Mike Hull on Coach Franklin - "We feed off of his energy. I wouldn't want another head coach with different energy."

Sam Ficken on the offseason - "My big thing during the offseason was consistency. I feel great coming into camp."

Bill Belton on being a complete back - "The big thing about being a complete back is doing all of the little things well and executing all phases of the game."

2 p.m. - Coach Franklin Addresses the Media
Head coach James Franklin stepped to the podium inside the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton at 2 p.m. ET for his 15-minute session with the approximately 800 credentialed media in attendance at Big Ten Kickoff.

"Really appreciate the opportunity to be here," said Franklin. "I want to thank the Big Ten. I want to thank Commissioner Delany. Great experience for our players. They're really, really excited. Got a chance to spend some time in Chicago, and now having this experience has been wonderful. So I want to thank everybody for that."

The first-year leader of the Nittany Lions is pleased with the progress Penn State made during spring practice. Franklin said the spring was spent laying the foundation for what the program is trying to accomplish with mentality and culture and offensive, defensive and special teams philosophies. Franklin said the team embraced the opportunity to learn, and he is excited for practice to begin on Aug. 4.

"This spring we weren't able to really play at the type of speed that we want to play at because guys were thinking, and I think since then, over the summer, we've been able to really kind of gain some confidence, and guys are looking forward to it," said Franklin.

2:30 p.m. - Open Media Session
Franklin and the trio of players moved into a podium media session for 30 minutes at 2:30 p.m. The trio of players and Franklin found a spare minute to snap a selfie to document the open session.

VIDEO: Coach Franklin on Day One of Big Ten Media Days

VIDEO: Player Sound Bites on Day One of Big Ten Media Days

6 p.m. - Day One Roundup
The Nittany Lion contingent wrapped up a day full of interviews with TV affiliates, radio stations, online reporters and print reporters in the late afternoon hours in Chicago.  Day two of Big Ten Media Days will feature two hours of open media on Thursday morning.  Coach Franklin and former Nittany Lion great Anthony Adams will then participate in a Big Ten autograph session with the fans.  From there, the 43rd Annual Big Ten Kickoff will take place in the International Ballroom of the Hilton.  Stay tuned for more coverage from Tuesday's events.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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