UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football hosted its final midweek training camp media availability Wednesday evening at the Lasch Building.
Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis joined quarterback Trace McSorley (who happens to be celebrating a birthday) and cornerback Christian Campbell for a few breakout sessions for a final look at training camp preparations before game week arrives.
With less than two weeks until the season opener, Franklin noted this evening that Penn State has shifted its focus to Akron prep, with depth at nearly all positions taking shape.
"We're in to Akron now and we've kind of shifted from focusing on Penn State to focusing on Akron so I think what you saw today, is probably a good indicator of what our depth chart will look like," Franklin said.
Spreading it Around
Gattis noted that all the depth and experience among a variety of potential receivers has only made his job tougher, but he's confident he'll settle on a rotation that keeps everyone fresh.
"We've got four guys out there, counting Mike Gesicki, who could easily be our number one receiver," Gattis said. "I don't think you can judge anybody on our team based on how many catches they have per week because everything we do is predicated off of what the defense is giving us. So we're not going to force our hand and force it to one guy, we're going to spread the ball around and that's the neat thing about this offense."
Johnson Continues to
Spring ball was abuzz with the improvement from wide receiver Juwan Johnson, with nearly every Nittany Lion noting the junior was poised for a big year in 2017.
"Juwan's going to have an unbelievable year," Gattis said. "He's playing at an extremely high level, probably could be, the highest level that we've ever had here at practice."
For both Gattis and McSorley, having the opportunity to learn from current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Chris Godwin was a springboard to his improvement.
"He has greatly improved his technique and his route running, and kind of his savviness throughout his routes," McSorley said. "That's something he kind of picked up from Chris (Godwin). Whenever Chris would come back and do his workouts, he would go out with Chris and learn from him."
Last week Penn State announced that Franklin has signed a contract extension of six years, extending Franklin's tenure to at least the 2022 season. Following the announcement, Franklin has had time to reflect on not only how much has changed since he was first named head coach, but also listen in on the outpouring of kind words from those close to the program.
"I think for me, it's about stability," Franklin said. "I think we've started to build something here that can be really special and it provides stability obviously for my family, but it provides stability for my assistant coaches, for their families, for our players, in recruiting, all of those types of things. I think you guys know, I still believe that we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of different areas, but I think we've made tremendous progress and this allows us to continue in that direction."
A Language of His Own
Both McSorley and Campbell noted that signature to linebacker Jason Cabinda is his own language that he uses to communicate, understood by only a few.
"He and Saeed (Blacknall), they make noises that you can't understand what their conversation is, and they do it all the time," Campbell said with a laugh.
For McSorley, the unique language is of course difficult to describe, but does involve a single noun, that could mean anything.
"I can't even explain it," McSorley said. "You have to hear it and kind of be able to understand it yourself."
We'll take McSorley's advice.