UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin met with members of the media Tuesday afternoon in his weekly press conference. Quarterback Trace McSorley and safety Marcus Allen joined him for a pair of media sessions to preview the final regular season road trip of the season.
For McSorley and Allen, heading to College Park, Maryland is a bit of a homecoming, with McSorley growing up about 45 minutes from Maryland Stadium and Allen hailing from merely minutes from the area.
"It's awesome kind of being able to go back and play in that venue that I'm kind of familiar with, playing in my neck of the woods," McSorley said. "For a lot of guys, Marcus [Allen], same sort of feeling. I don't know exactly how many people I'll have there from my family, but it's right there, a good amount. I need to figure out with my mom how many tickets I need to find out about getting."
For Allen, there's perhaps a little more added meaning, stepping on to the field for his final regular season game as a Nittany Lion.
"Just for me to play my last game in the regular season, in my hometown, that's pretty awesome," Allen said. "That's fun. It's going to be, like a backyard football game, as far as me knowing a lot of guys that's on the team. We talk back and forth, talking our little stuff."
Penn State's practice schedule doesn't shift too much with Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday, but it does allow a bit of time for the Nittany Lions to get out in the community and give back. Due to NCAA time management rules, Penn State spent time at The Village at Penn State, a local retirement community, while also taking time for a few more individual projects.
"[Defensive line coach] Sean Spencer, the D-line, they gave out 65 turkeys today that Sean raised through his clothing apparel line, Dog Chaos, whatever he's got going on," Franklin shared. "That's really cool."
Come Thanksgiving though, Franklin has extended the invitation to teammates, staff members and families for a relaxing meal, with a few position coaches also hosting their own Thanksgiving meals.
The Quote Board -
- Franklin on how Tommy Stevens has handled his backup quarterback role.
"He's just handled it really well. Is he satisfied? No. But he's handled it really well. He's been a great teammate. He's prepared. When his opportunity comes, he's going to be ready for it. When he gets his reps and opportunities, he maximizes it. I thought the play he had on Saturday where he bounced, bounced, bounced on one foot down the sideline, kept his balance, avoided a guy, was one of the more impressive athletic plays I've seen since we've been here. The funny part, I gave him a hard time. He did all the hard stuff, got himself under control, started running, then planted to cut back and get it out of bounds. He could have jogged into the end zone without that hard play."
- Allen on what he sees in true freshman Jonathan Sutherland.
"Every time there is a scrimmage, I always just get him hyped. I'll be, like, "Here come the choo-choo train, choo-choo." He hits like a train. He's really physical. That's what I love about him. He's very just consistent in tackling. He makes plays in the passing game. That's what impresses me the most. He's very mature for his age, as well. I'm pretty sure you're going to hear his name next year. I'm just excited for you guys to see him, see what he can do, because I already know, I already seen it."
- McSorley on where the program has changed since he arrived and where it will continue to go looking toward the future.
"I think when I came in here, we were building toward something. We kind of had been through a tough period. When I got here, we were on the bowl sanctions, scholarship sanctions. My freshman year is when they got lifted. I think everyone in the locker room now, we're going to come in, work hard, we're going to compete. We were just going to be building kind of a process. Where we're at now, it's not building that process, it's carrying on what's been built over the last couple years. Assuming that role of making sure this program stays where it needs to be."
- Allen on his relationship with Torrence Brown.
"My relationship with Torrence, that's really my brother. I would really consider him as my brother. Although we don't have the same mother or father, it doesn't make a difference, that's my brother. We been through a lot. We got a lot of memories, lot of fun memories. We have so much conversations, so many conversations we had together when times were rough. Like when my grandmother died, I was right in his room. He saw when I broke down. When his grandmother passed, I was right there. It was so crazy, like a coincidence. It's just like we have a bond as far as we can relate to each other. That group right there, those are my brothers, man."
- McSorley's thoughts on seeing Nick Bowers score a touchdown in his first career catch last weekend, considering his career path at Penn State.
"To be able to see him make a touchdown in the game, we see him all the time, he goes up, at his size, athletic ability, to be able to run like he does, jump up, attack a ball in the air, come down with it, utilizing his size, 260, whatever, it's really impressive to see what he can do at his size. To see him get a touchdown this week, how excited he was when he got back to the sideline, jumping around, big smile on his face, it was awesome."