Training Camp Notebook - James Franklin Update

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Training Camp Central

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The training camp portion of preseason preparations for the Nittany Lions is essentially over. The coaching staff and team have shifted into UCF game prep.

The players are scheduled to move out of the dorms on Thursday in preparation for the fall academic semester, which commences on Monday. Head coach James Franklin spent a few minutes on a phone conference with the local media to provide a training camp update on Wednesday afternoon. Take a look through a preseason notebook from Wednesday's call.

UCF Preparations Back Underway
The coaching staff spent much of the summer breaking down film and formulating a preliminary gameplan for the Aug. 30 opener in Dublin, Ireland. After focusing on the internal growth of the team at training camp during the first few weeks of August, the coaching staff has resumed prep for UCF.

"We are really just starting that. We basically ended camp last night," Franklin said. "We are kind of starting now on Central Florida with scout teams and things like that. The staff has been watching film all day. We have obviously done preliminary gameplans this summer, but now we are going back after having a better idea of who we are on offense, defense and special teams...We are at the very beginning level of it right now, although we have done some legwork ahead of time, obviously."

Standout Freshmen
Coach Franklin listed a handful of Nittany Lion newcomers who have impressed thus far during camp. The list included players at wide receiver, tight end, safety and cornerback.

"I think (Chris) Godwin and Saeed (Blacknall) are guys who have jumped out to me. (Mike) Gesicki has jumped out to me. Guys that we are going to need to have a role for us. On defense, I think Marcus Allen and Grant Haley are guys that have done some nice things, and Jason Cabinda, at positions that we need."

Battle at Cornerback
The battle for playing time alongside junior Jordan Lucas has been a competitive one during preseason practice. Coach Franklin highlighted the training camp efforts of corners Trevor Williams, Da'Quan Davis and freshman Grant Haley.

"I think those two guys have had a nice camp, as well as Grant Haley," Franklin said. "You really need probably five corners that you feel good about during camp and during the season because you are going to get some nicks and things like that. Right now, Trevor (Williams) has got the most reps and has the most experience, but those other guys are making a case for themselves, as well."

Depth on the Defensive Line
Franklin noted that he would like to see 12 to 14 guys in the rotation on the defensive line. Among the contributors during camp, the head coach of the Nittany Lions said two guys have really stood out on the D-Line during the preseason.

"Guys that have really stood out to me, probably two guys - that's Carl Nassib. He's had a great camp. His motor is unbelievable. He's a massive human being. He's got great length. And then AJ (Austin Johnson) is another guy," Franklin said. "He's had a great camp. He's just so big and athletic. He's difficult to deal with. Those guys have been problematic during camp."

Offensive Line Continuing to Grow
The Nittany Lion offensive line will continue to work towards becoming a cohesive unit over the next 10 days before the Lions take the field in Ireland. Franklin said finding five guys in consistent spots on the O-Line is important in the growth process.

"We've still got some work to do. We really do," Franklin said. "This last, a little over a week up to the game, we still have some work to do. A lot of it is, not just figuring out who the guys are, but all of the moving parts that factor into it...We haven't really had the same five guys at the same five spots for multiple practices yet. That's kind of where we are at now. We've had a chance to evaluate all of these guys. Now, it's how do we get the best five on the field complementing each other, playing as a unit and getting some consistency there. That's what we are going to be doing now for the next week and a half."



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