James Franklin Transcript - Sept. 2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions return to Beaver Stadium on Saturday for the 2014 home-opener against Akron (Noon on ABC).
Head coach James Franklin previewed the week two matchup against the Zips on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room. Saturday will mark Franklin's first time leading the Nittany Lions onto the field in front of the Beaver Stadium faithful for a game.
"I think the first time you walk through the tunnel and you look out there and you feel the energy, probably arriving at the stadium and walking through the crowd with our new entrance that we are coming into the stadium and things like that," Franklin said. "I think those things, obviously, will have an effect. But after that, you don't really kind of think about it."
Franklin said the Nittany Lions are seeking to clean a few things up after watching the film of the UCF game, namely the turnover margin and number of penalties. He also spent some time on Tuesday discussing the running game and the areas of emphasis for the offensive line. While the group made good progress leading up to the UCF game, Franklin wants to see the group play with great consistency.
"I think for us, it's finishing. It's finishing blocks. It's making sure our communication, that we are all on the same page," said Franklin. "But more than anything, it's sustaining it; it's finishing. When you think you've blocked long enough, block longer to the echo of the whistle, those types of things. So we are going to work hard on them this week and we are going to continue to invest in the running game, and hopefully that will pay dividends on Saturday."
Another area Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lions take a jump in this week is inside the red zone. Penn State went 5-for-5 on scoring chances inside the 20 against UCF, but only one of those scores was a touchdown. Fanklin wants to see the offense put seven points on the board when the Lions are in the red area.
Collectively, teams often make their biggest jump of the year from week one to week two. In his experience at previous stops during his career, Franklin said that normally that is the case. He is looking for the Lions to take a step forward this week.
"That's our goal; to make sure that we are improving collectively and we
are improving individually and if you do that, then you'll like the results,"
Saturday's game will mark the fifth time Akron will play at Penn State. The Lions are 4-0 against the Zips. The squads last met in 2009, which resulted in a 31-7 on-field victory for the Nittany Lions.
Terry Bowden is in his third season as head coach of Akron. Bowden is 7-18 at Akron, but the Zips have won five of their last six games.
Press Conference Notes
- Franklin on the Akron offense:
"They have got nine returning starters, and the guys that jump out to us are their running back, Jawon Chisholm, who is a Harrisburg High School kid; Zach Guiser is a wide receiver; and then their quarterback, Kyle Pohl, who threw for over 62 percent, four touchdowns and zero interceptions."
- Franklin on the UCF deffense:
"Chuck Amato, their defensive coordinator, he was the defensive coach at NC State and expecting big things from them. Six returning starters which we talked about. The guy that jumps out to us is their defensive end, No. 11, Nordly Capi, their speed guy off the edge."
- Franklin on the Akron special teams:
"On special teams, Jeff Bowden, obviously a very, very experienced coach is their special teams coordinator and No. 3, their kickoff return guy is a weapon for them."
- Comment on the play of defensive ends C.J. Olaniyan and Deion Barnes:
"Both guys both played well. You look at the pressures and the sacks and how many hits we were able to get on the quarterback from our d‑line, and our linebacker and the way we were able to stop the run, I think that's probably the thing because probably most impressed with those guys is how physical they were in the running game. Obviously you would always love to get more sacks and create more pressures. I thought they both did extremely well and we want to build on that and go from there."
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