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Practice Report: Northwestern Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin and Nittany Lion punter Blake Gillikin met with members of the media Wednesday evening following practice at the Lasch Football Building.

Catch up on a few notes from the media sessions. 

Practice Modifications
Franklin noted that Penn State has reached the point in the season where he and the staff have begun taking small portions of time off the practice schedule. Still, he's pleased with the results he's seeing the on the field. 

"It doesn't seem like much but individual, we go from five minute periods to four minute periods," Franklin said. "I think little changes like that at the right time throughout the year help. We still have to get the same amount of reps from a game plan perspective. The individuals and fundamentals are always important but there just comes a point where you have to start modifying practice a little bit and I thought our guys have reacted really well."

Scott's Impact
When asked what Nick Scott means to the special teams unit, Gillikin only had one word to respond with - everything.

"That guy is our captain, he is our leader. He's selfless, obviously he's not our starting safety but he plays on pretty much every single special teams. You see his energy, it's kind of a reflection of Coach Huff's energy and I think everyone else kind of feeds off that and he's kind of the centerpiece for our success on special teams."

Prepping for the Weather
Gillikin noted that when it comes to weather conditions he tries not to check the gameday weather report too much, mostly due to the fact that every stadium is different when it comes to how much of a factor different conditions can be, especially when it comes to wind.

"It's definitely something you have to take into consideration," Gillikin said. "If you try to hang one up and you have a 15 mph wind in your face, it's not going to go anywhere. It's definitely something we think about a lot as specialists. Ultimately you have to execute regardless of the weather conditions."

Inside the Gillikin House
Earlier this week, Franklin noted that can recall scuff marks on the walls at the Gillikin household, home to Penn State-Northwestern brothers Blake and Tyler, from their early days snapping and punting inside.

"What happened was, we would go down in the basement and it's not a really high basement but we'd move all the stuff and he'd fire some balls back and I'd just want to tap the ball and kind of get a spiral going and I hit the ceiling sometimes and the ball leaves pretty significant scuff marks in the ceiling," Gillikin said. "So that kind of migrated to our foyer outside our living room. So when he [Coach Franklin] walked in the door, all over the ceiling on the left side, there's pretty much brown scratches going 10 feet or something."

Although, Gillikin did note that he has plans to fix his scuff marks.

"I told my parents that I would paint the wall at some point but I haven't gotten around to it. still have that promise in here," Gillikin said tapping his heart. That's definitely something I need to do in the near future."

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