UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- Penn State Football returns home to Beaver Stadium this week, set to meet
its second consecutive in-state opponent. Nittany Lion head coach James
Franklin met with members of the media Tuesday to preview Saturday's Stripe Out
game against Temple, which kicks off at noon on BTN.
The Nittany Lions (1-1) and the Owls (1-1) are set to meet for the 45th time in program history and the third consecutive year. This week, Franklin took time to review a few items from last week's trip to Pitt before previewing the Temple matchup.
After taking time to look back at the Pitt tape, Franklin noted that he was especially proud of the team in its efforts to battle and preserve despite the final outcome in a challenging environment.
Among items to improve this week, consistency proved to be a major theme today as the Nittany Lions begin Temple preparations. Speaking about improving consistency in different areas, Franklin stressed the focus on offense securing the ball, tackling on defense and on special teams related to kick location.
Franklin also addressed the importance of getting out to a strong start early in the game.
"I think the first week was a typical first week," Franklin said. "Last week, it was a tough environment. That stadium was rocking. There was a lot of emotion. We anticipated all of those things. We did a lot of stuff to work with noise in the stadium and I made some comments to you guys after the game about some challenges that we had, but I'm going to move on from now. We didn't handle that as well as we would have liked."
Looking toward Temple, Franklin mentioned that the Owls would bring a great opportunity for the Nittany Lions in several areas come Saturday. Led by former Nittany Lion Matt Rhule, Temple presents tough physical traits on both sides of the ball.
Franklin specifically noted the duo of Temple senior quarterback Phillip Walker and 2015 all-conference running back Jahad Thomas. Walker helped the Owls to a 7-0 start last year as the team's top signal caller and recently moved to the top of the Temple record books as the program's all-time passing leader.
"I am very impressed with their quarterback, Phillip Walker," Franklin said. "He's a playmaker for them. [Walker] and running back Jahad [Thomas], both of those guys went to the same high school. Both are big-time players out of Elizabeth High School in New Jersey."
On The Quote Board -
- Franklin opened his press conference offering condolences to the family of Army West Point sophomore cornerback Brandon Jackson, who was passed away in a car accident Sunday. Johnson totaled seven tackles against the Nittany Lions in the 2015 meeting, registering five solo and his first career sack.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Brandon Jackson family, and Army's head football coach Jeff Monken for their loss," Franklin said.
- In its second year, the Nittany Lions will host an annual Stripe Out in Beaver Stadium, encouraging fans to visit PennStateStripeOut.com to see if their section calls for blue or white attire on Saturday.
"The Stripe Out, I think it's going to be very exciting," cornerback Christian Campbell said. "I really like our fans. I don't worry about the Stripe Out. I just worry about how many fans are at Beaver Stadium, because I really think it's so exciting. That wins us games, two. It's like a 12th man, because of the fans."
- When asked about Penn State's offensive identity, quarterback Trace McSorley spoke to his role in helping the offense become confident.
"Every time we go out, [we] feel we're going to score
points, and we're going to be successful every single drive we have, and for us
to kind of have that little bit of competitive edge where we're not going to
accept punting the ball," McSorley said.