UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin met with members of the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday's upcoming Georgia State matchup. Linebacker Koa Farmer and wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins also joined Franklin for a pair of media sessions.
Looking back on last week's performance, Franklin was pleased with the progress the Nittany Lions have made in all three phases of the game.
"Our special teams continue to be a big positive for us," Franklin said. "Our defense is doing some really nice things and really starting to kind of figure out their identity, and then the same thing with our offense. I'm pleased with where we're headed and the progress we're making there."
Among those areas, Franklin has been quick to point out Thompkins, an explosive punt returner who's already found tremendous success in bolstering the Nittany Lion punt return unit. Thompkins though gives credit to those around him for his success.
"A big part of it is just trusting everyone around you," Thompkins said. "I know every single one of those guys who are in front of me are going to do their job to try to protect me and all I have to do is worry about my job and not have to worry about the other 11 guys coming to basically take my head off."
Now focused on Georgia State, Franklin noted that the Nittany Lions aren't overlooking the Panthers, who are in their eighth season of football and fifth as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
"I think the thing that probably jumps out to me, is essentially, this same team went to Wisconsin last year and was leading in the fourth quarter," Franklin said. "So they are going to be used to playing in these Big Ten type of environments on the road. Obviously they are a talented team."
On The Quote Board -
- Franklin on a clip he'll show the team today.
"Today I'm going to show a clip to the team of Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant is coming down the court, goes behind his back, loses the ball; it's a turnover. The guy goes down the court for an easy layup and Kobe Bryant comes and pins the ball to the backboard with that type of effort. I want to keep emphasizing the importance of playing with tremendous effort because when you do that with all 11 guys on the field, you're able to overcome maybe some deficiencies or maybe some mistakes or weaknesses."
- Farmer's Thoughts on Georgia State
"I think they are a solid program. They had a good game against Wisconsin last year at Wisconsin...Jason [Cabinda] and I were actually going to watch some film on it yesterday. They have some athletes. They run a solid offense and it's going to be a challenging opponent."
- Franklin on the offensive line improvements.
"I've said this before. If my daughters choose to marry football players, I want them to marry offensive linemen. They are just big, nice, happy, jolly guys that put the team first. They are the ultimate teammates. But that's also one of the challenges. They typically have been big kids their whole life, and being able to find offensive linemen that will get on the field and play with a nasty streak and a nasty demeanor, and then be real gentlemen off the field, that's what we want."
- DeAndre Thompkins' response on if he models himself after.
"One thing that's different about punt return is that you can't really watch film on anyone catching punts because it's kind an individual type of technique. It's really just backyard football. Once you catch the ball, you just try to get away from everybody who is trying to tackle you. It's like playing tag, basically. There's not really anybody in the NFL that I watch consistently catch punts. I do watch punt return at the NFL level but there's not really a guy that I can single out."