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Week One Press Conference Roundup - UCF Week

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10249251.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - Aug. 26 | VIDEO: UCF Week Player Q&As
Depth Chart Released for Opener | Breaking Down the Travel Logistics | Game Notes

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addressed the media inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room on what will be a very busy Tuesday for Penn State Football.

The equipment staff spent several hours in the morning packing the approximately 20,000 pounds of cargo that will travel to Dublin for Saturday's game against UCF. Franklin and a trio of players spoke to the media at 12:40 p.m. The team then held meetings in the afternoon before practice. After dinner, the group will board buses bound for Harrisburg in preparation for an overnight flight to Dublin.

Before shifting into Ireland mode, Franklin opened the press conference with an academic update from the summer's academic sessions. While there are still a few more grades to come in, there were 69 players on the roster who had a 3.0 summer grade-point average or better. That list included seven players who had a 4.0. Additionally, Ryan Keiser, C.J. Olaniyan, Devin Pryor and Deron Thompson all graduated in mid-August.

From there, Franklin addressed the season-opener against the UCF Knights. In all, UCF returns 15 of their 22 starters, including nine on defense, from last year's team that went 12-1 and won the Fiesta Bowl. Head coach George O'Leary returns for his 11th season as head coach of UCF.

"It's game week. It's finally here. I know everybody's excited," Franklin said.

Penn State will practice as normal on Tuesday. Given the rigors of traveling overnight, Wednesday's session will be a little lighter than normal. The team will then practice on Thursday and Friday before Saturday's 1:30 p.m. IST kickoff in Croke Park.

"You guys have heard me say this before. I'm a nervous wreck before games in terms of preparation. Sunday through basically the game," Franklin said. "But once the game comes, I'm pretty confident because I know we've done everything we possibly can do to be prepared for the game. Now it's just an opportunity to go out and watch the kids play and have fun, and that's what I want them to do. I want them to go out and enjoy it. I want them to play fast. I want them to play aggressive. But there is no reason to be nervous on game day as long as you've done everything you possibly can to put the kids in position to be successful, and that's what we've tried to do."

Franklin is expecting a big challenge against a veteran UCF team on Saturday. He credited the UCF receiving corps and linebacking unit as two groups that stand out.

"I think more than anything, they play like a veteran team," Franklin said. "They're fast, they're aggressive, they don't give up a whole lot of big plays. George O'Leary is I think one of the better defensive coaches around, and it's been that way for a long time with him. So I don't expect a whole lot of new."

With preparations in the final stages, the Nittany Lions are ready for the trip across the pond.

"For us, this is a business trip to go play a football game no different than if we were playing at State College High School," Franklin said. "We'd be excited to play Central Florida wherever the game would be... This is an opportunity to take a special trip. I think it's going to be great for the fans, but we're going to play a football game."

Press Conference Notes
- Coach Franklin said that roughly 80 percent of the players have not been outside of North America. Two players have traveled to Ireland before.

- Franklin on the UCF offense:

"They're returning six starters. They're going to be a multiple pro‑style offense with more spread philosophies probably here recently. They're starting a red‑shirt freshman at quarterback, Pete DiNovo, their running back, William Stanback, No. 28 was second team All‑Conference last year, and then their big play wide receiver, No. 6, Rannell Hall, that is the position that really jumps out to us on film is their wide receivers. They have tremendous depth and talent at that position."

- Franklin on the UCF defense:

"They've got nine starters returning. No. 41, linebacker Terrance Plummer we think is a difference make are for them. Safety, No. 26, Clayton Geathers, and quarterback No. 10 Jacoby Glenn are the guys that really jump out to us."

- Best part of the Ireland trip for Franklin:

"I think the best part personally is my mother I think you've heard me say before, my mother is originally from England and my parents got married in Ireland. I've got family in England that I haven't seen in over 15 years that are coming to the game, so I'm going to see them on Thursday at the hotel, and I'm excited about that. I got a phone call in the staff meeting the other day, and I looked down and there were a lot of numbers, so I knew it probably wasn't one of my buddies, it was someone calling from England. So I stepped out of my staff meeting. I'm really looking forward to that."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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