UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin hosted his weekly Tuesday press conference ahead of the Nittany Lion Big Ten opener on the road at Iowa. Linebacker Brandon Smith and wide receiver Brandon Polk joined the weekly availability for a pair of media sessions previewing the upcoming road trip.
Among highlights from last week's final nonconference outing of the season, Franklin noted that quarterback Trace McSorley earned offensive player of the week honors picked by the staff, with Marcus Allen earning defensive player of the week honors and Tyler Davis and Blake Gillikin as special teams picks.
Franklin also noted how impressed he and the staff have been with Polk, who highlighted the 56-0 shutout with is first touchdown catch of the season.
"We are very pleased with his overall development and how he's playing right now - his enthusiasm for his teammates and the effort he's playing with," Franklin said. "If you watched that play with Saquon Barkley, we all know how fast Saquon is. Watch Brandon Polk, he's on the opposite side of the field, he sprints down, catches Saquon and gets in front of a defender, and then goes into the end zone and celebrates, and he's as happy as or happier than Saquon is. I'm very pleased with him."
As Penn State prepares to make its first trip to Iowa since 2012, adjusting to the unfamiliar certainly a priority during the week.
"I'm sure the coaches will have the speakers way up in practice this week for the offense, being able to communicate and make adjustments and things like that with noise," Smith said. "Whether they are really loud or a crowd that isn't that big and isn't that into a game, you know, each can have their own challenges, but we have our standard. We're just going to step up to the challenge and have our own energy, have our own standard, regardless of what the crowd is doing."
On The Quote Board -
- Franklin on Iowa's pink colored visitor locker rooms.
"Obviously one of the kind of cooler, historical things in college football from a tradition standpoint is their pink locker room. I think it's awesome. I'm not going to make a big deal out of it with our guys. I'm actually going to talk to our guys about it being a really, really nice gesture by the University of Iowa to welcome Penn State, since our original school colors are pink and black, and how wonderful it is and what a wonderful gesture it is that they painted their locker room pink for us."
- Smith on his decision to ultimately pursue a career as a doctor.
"I really value people and I value life, and I think I can really be a part of the solution in the health industry. I'm studying health policy and administration now, and just seeing from the other perspective, the administrative perspective, some of the problems our country is facing with healthcare. I think I could be a doctor who is part of the solution to that."
- Polk on the pride he takes in blocking this year.
"I take a lot of pride in that because I know the people out there who are blocking for me, they are going to give everything they can. I don't care - they don't care how big, how small they are. They are going to give everything they can. So for me, even being a smaller guy, I'm going to give everything I can for them. And if I don't give them the best block, then I'm frustrated and mad at myself because I know that if they were put in that situation, they are going to do their best for me."
- Franklin on evaluating his team in different situations, especially related to last Saturday.
"I remember when I was a young coach listening to some old ball coaches who'd been doing it a long time, they said one of the great ways to tell what type of team you have is to watch the fifth or sixth field goal block - or PAT and see if your team still going as hard on the sixth PAT field goal block as they are earlier in the game. That's a great sign of the type of team you have, and I think the same thing shows up on kickoff."