UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just a few days before Blue-White kickoff, head coach James Franklin along with punter Blake Gillikin and running back Andre Robinson all met with the media to preview the upcoming weekend. Through 13 practices, the Nittany Lions have nearly reached the end of the spring session, which culminates Saturday afternoon in Beaver Stadium.
Measuring Spring Game Success -
With the annual Blue-White game quickly approaching, Franklin and the staff aren't necessarily focused on measuring success from just what happens Saturday afternoon. Rather, the truly gauging improvement comes within the results of the entire body of work that is spring practice.
"It's more about what they have been able to do over the 13 practices and the film that we've been able to watch," Franklin said. "I'll have all the coaches grade this just like a game, they'll be going on the road recruiting, but I'd like for them to kind of get that done so we have it."
Looking further ahead, coaches will set up individual meetings to address which areas different guys have improved and which areas will be targeted for more work in the time between Sunday and training camp.
Robinson Right On Track -
When asked about his progress toward reaching his spring ball goals, Robinson noted that he's right on track when it comes to meeting those goals, settling into the offense with increasing confidence. Before each practice, running backs coach Charles Huff has his unit write down two or three goals going in to practice to go back and watch after practice.
"I think that's helpful," Robinson said. "Thinking about that during practice and then going back over and being honest with yourself after practice and how you did."
Brown Maturing -
Franklin mentioned that linebacker Cam Brown has also made progress, noting his spring ball performance only benefited from his work in the weight room during winter condition, leaving an opportunity to come training camp.
"I do think that he has an opportunity now to go back and watch the film, take some of the comments from the coaches and be able to make a big jump and put it all together now," Franklin said. "He gained experience on the field last year probably before he was ready and then he was able to have a great offseason for the first time and then come out here this spring, still gain some experience and then kind of put it all together in fall camp, which is really the next step for him."
Gillikin's Goals -
Following a successful true freshman season in the Blue and White earning ESPN.com true freshman All-America honors with a record-setting 42.8 yards per punt. Among all the success though, Gillikin is still focused on continued improvement in the offseason headed toward the fall. in
"I think something I want to pride myself on this season is location of my punts," Gillikin said. "Especially with all of the good punt returners we play, I think location helps limit the return and kind of helps our coverage guys to know where its going to be and make the best play they can."
Franklin Challenges Media Members -
To pair with spring game festivities, Franklin issued a bit of a challenge to the Nittany Lion media contingent in attendance Wednesday evening. Franklin invited members of the media to head down to the field to partake in a few fun challenges, catching punts and kicks in front of the Beaver Stadium crowd.