UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State hosted its final media opportunity of the spring season Monday evening following practice at Holuba Hall.
Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin joined offensive lineman Ryan Bates and cornerback Amani Oruwariye for three media sessions ahead of Saturday's annual Blue-White spring game.
Check in with all three Nittany Lions for one final look at all the spring ball action through 13 spring practices.
Franklin noted the format of Saturday's game will keep consistent to what the Nittany Lions have done in the past with one's on the blue team and two's and even three's battling for positions on the white squad.
"The first unit, typically, there's a little bit more guys on that unit because there are some guys that we know aren't going to play a lot of reps in the game, but overall one's against two's," Franklin said."
Ultimately though, the final spring session is just another opportunity for Franklin and his staff to gather one last critical look at where the Nittany Lions have progressed ahead of training camp.
"The spring game, it's an opportunity for us to go out and make some plays, build on the things that we did during spring ball, gain some confidence, have some fun and then really put some closure to the end of spring practice," Franklin said.
Big Picture with Bates
If there are two things on the rise as a whole with the team this spring, Bates noted the Nittany Lions are playing with some serious swagger, also connected through a level of chemistry that's perhaps at an all-time high.
"We have some swagger to us compared to years past," Bates said. "We had a lot of swagger this year but I feel like the swagger we're bringing this year, we have a lot of big personalities on offense and defense. If you talk to some of those guys, it will really show, especially if you know them personality."
Big personalities aside though, this spring has presented a team that's more connected than perhaps any team Bates has been a part of thanks to an uptick in accountability across the squad.
"We all hold each other accountable," Bates said. "I feel like where we started in spring ball to where we are now, I feel like that progression of chemistry is only going higher."
In high school Oruwariye didn't exactly need to be a vocal leader, but as a returning veteran this year for the Nittany Lions, he's embracing the need to step up and into a leadership role.
"The past couple of years we have had good leaders so the ball's in my park now and it's new but I'm embracing it," Oruwariye said. "I've never really been that vocal kind of leader. I'm usually a leader by example but at this level you need that vocal leader."
As the cornerbacks begin to settle in, Oruwariye noted the Nittany Lions are taking on the responsibility of developing the younger members of the room, while also working to restore some of the chemistry from last year.
"The past couple of years we've had that chemistry between me, Marcus Allen, Troy Apke and Grant Haley," Oruwariye said. "We already knew what to expect, now we're trying to get that chemistry and cohesion throughout the defense, but Nick Scott and Garrett Taylor have played a lot of football for us so it shouldn't be that hard."