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Monday Notebook: Ohio State Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  No. 2 Penn State football will hit the road this week, opening a two-game road swing beginning with a trip to sixth-ranked Ohio State. Although solely focused on the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions hauled in the weekly awards this week, coming off a spectacular performance against Michigan in the Penn State White Out game.

Weekly Award Rundown
Following the victory, three different Nittany Lions earned five weekly awards for their performances against Michigan. Quarterback Trace McSorley earned the Rose Bowl Big Ten Player of the Week honor in addition to being selected as the Walter Camp National Player of the Week.

McSorley, who threw for 282 passing yards against the Wolverines, rushed for three touchdowns, tossing one touchdown reception to mark his 22nd consecutive game with a touchdown pass. Earning Walter Camp National Player of the week honors, McSorley is just the ninth Nittany Lion to earn the honor and the first offensive selection.

Running back Saquon Barkley and linebacker Jason Cabinda picked up a pair of Big Ten Weekly honors named offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively. Barkley was also selected to the Paul Hornung Award weekly honor roll.

Barkley has been a staple of the weekly awards releases this year, collecting his third offensive honor of the year with one Special Teams Player of the Week honor earlier this season. Cabinda's honor marks his first career Defensive Player of the Week award.

Meyer: 'He's the best all-purpose guy we've probably faced in maybe my career'
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had high praise for Barkley, calling the midseason All-American probably the best all-purpose guy the Buckeyes have faced in his career.

"He's obviously a great running back but they do a good job using him and creating matchup issues," Myer said. "But his threat -  no disrespect for the great running backs. You have different ways of bottling up great running backs. It's hard, especially this guy, really hard. But the fact that they motion him out and create matchup nightmares, that's what makes this guy.  He's -  I'd be careful to say this, but he's as good an all-purpose running back we've seen. And that's 30 years." 

On the defense too ...
Meyer also made note of Penn State's defense, which executed at an elite level in Saturday's 42-13 win against the Wolverines.

"They just come after you," Meyer said. "They're very aggressive with - their defensive line, it's not a read-and-react, they're up the field and they menaced the team up north. They were all over the place."

The Nittany Lion defense racked up 7.0 sacks against the Wolverines, while also forcing a pair of fumbles. Cabinda, who led the team with 13 tackles, forced an O'Korn fumble on Michigan's first drive of the third quarter before cornerback Christian Campbell's strip sack early in the fourth quarter, which defensive tackle Robert Windsor picked up for his second career fumble recovery.

Penn State's defensive line accounted for more than half of the Nittany Lion sacks Saturday, with Cabinda and linebacker Manny Bowen combining for 1.5 sacks. For Meyer, Cabinda alongside the defensive line is reason to take note.

"The combination of him and that defensive line, like any very good team, that's what you notice right away, is the explosiveness of the defensive line and a guy like No. 40, great player," Meyer said. 

Statistical Snapshot
In the statistical rankings, Penn State's scoring defense is tops in the conference and FBS, allowing an average 9.6 points per game, also sliding up to the top spot in team passing efficiency defense (94.02). A total of 27 different Nittany Lions have recorded at least a half of a tackle for loss this season as Penn State also enters the week leading the Big Ten and ranked fourth in FBS averaging 8.4 tackles for loss per game.

On the offensive side of the ball, Barkley continues to remain atop the national standings all-purpose yards, averaging 211.14 per game. Barkley logged 176 all-purpose yards against the Wolverines, rushing for 108 yards with 53 receiving yards and 15 yards on kick return.

Preparation Pays off in Michigan Triumph

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - From the moment head coach James Franklin checked the time at his postgame press conference, Penn State's 37 minutes of uninterrupted enjoyment are long over. While coaches grade out film and make corrections, the team returns to the grind, with week eight on the horizon.

Penn State unsurprisingly remained second in both releases of the AP and the Amway Coaches polls this week. In fact, there was hardly anything surprising to the Nittany Lions in Saturday's 42-13 win against Michigan.

In front of the largest Beaver Stadium crowd in program history, the second-ranked Nittany Lions silenced many of their critics, perhaps going one step further to prove just how little the opinions of those critics even mattered in the first place.

"One of the things we're doing, I haven't been around it very much, we're playing really good in all three phases and that doesn't happen very often where offense, defense, and special teams are all playing good enough to win," Franklin said.

While also noting room for improvement, it's only cause for excitement for Franklin. Looking back on an offense that racked up more total yards in the first half than any Michigan team coached by Jim Harbaugh has surrendered in any half, it's easy to see why. Complimented by its special teams, Penn State's defense rose to the occasion, shutting down the Michigan offense on drive after drive.

Penn State emerged with more than just its first 4-0 start to Big Ten play since 2011 and a 15th consecutive regular season win though.

The Nittany Lion offense accounted for 506 yards of total offense, led by a quarterback who rushed for a career-high three touchdowns, the first Penn State signal-caller to do so since at least 1982.

"I don't think people put enough value on toughness at the quarterback position," Franklin said. "The guy is going to stand in the pocket when you know the blitz is coming and you know you're going to get hit but you still deliver the ball and then being able to run the ball tonight way obviously helped us out." 

McSorley went 17-for-26 against Michigan for 282 yards, targeting his receivers and utilizing his speed in a gusty display.

Leading by one in the second quarter, 14-13, McSorley engineered a 52-second scoring drive spanning 75 yards in seven plays. He found receivers Juwan Johnson and veterans DaeSean Hamilton and Mike Gesicki for three key receptions of at least 12 yards, before running in for the 3-yard touchdown. 

"When you're able to complete long balls, shots down the field against a team that is trying to sack your quarterback and trying to play man coverage, you're going to be difficult to deal with," Franklin said. 

The list of words and clever phrases to describe running back Saquon Barkley has been all but exhausted, as he added to the spectacular showing with three touchdowns, including a 42-yard scoring grab from McSorley, that he bobbled before finding control, gliding into the end zone with arm and ball high in the air. 

Penn State's defense shined just as bright, highlighting the night with 7.0 sacks, marking the most for the Nittany Lions against at Big Ten team since 2011.

"All week long everybody was talking about Michigan's defense, we've got so much respect for Michigan's defense, their university, their defensive coordinator, Don Brown does an unbelievable job, but we play pretty good defense around here too." 

The Nittany Lions opened the emphatic statement on the second play of the game after kickoff, as Barkley took a direct snap and ran the ball 69 yards for a touchdown.

That was wrinkle number one that took the Wolverines off their game from the start, something Franklin foreshadowed long before the fireworks lit up the sky to signal the start of the Penn State White Out game.

"It's stuff that we worked on in camp," Franklin said. "We had another play that Joe [Moorhead] wanted to call, and I just said I prefer you not, plays that we've been running in camp and then each week we kind of go back. What do we want to use from our overall playbook? What do we want to use that we ran in camp? The fact that we have some recall helps."

For Barkley, it's building on that recall with the bonus of the bye week, taking in as much film as possible to prepare for what's ahead. 

"Obviously, we knew that they were aggressive, they're a great defense, they have a great defense coordinator," Barkley said. "Sometimes it's going to be like a heavyweight fight, they are going to get some and we get ours. When you get your opportunity you have to score, you got to get a chance to take the fours, take the twos, might even take a negative two, but when you get a chance to split it you got to find a way into the end zone. That's something watching of that I felt that I was capable of using my speed or find a way of finding anyway into the end zone, and we were able to do it and I was able to find a way."

All the extras in the world hardly mean anything unless the Nittany Lions can execute when the lights come on. Utilizing the bye week as added preparation time, Penn State was able to draw on experience on both sides of the ball to find success.

"They put together a great plan," Buchholz said crediting the defensive coaches postgame. "I know we threw in some stuff from the back of the playbook because they thought it would really help and it did help so it was beneficial for both the players and the coaches to prepare. I think it was good to mix things up. That was kind of our game plan to mix up our front and give them a different look to kind of get us on the other side of the ball and get us to trick them a little bit." 

Eight different Nittany Lions accounted for at least a half of a sack against the Wolverines, while senior linebacker Jason Cabinda led the way with 13 tackles. Cabinda was quick to credit the defensive line though, especially when it comes to the season-high sacks total.

"It's huge," Cabinda said. "It's really getting the offense on third and medium, third and long and letting our d-line really get after them. Knocking them off schedule with negative or no yardage plays helps a ton."

Michigan Postgame (Players)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 2 Penn State powered past No. 19 Michigan, capturing a 42-13 win against the Wolverines inside Beaver Stadium Saturday in front of its largest crowd in program history. Check in with several Nittany Lions postgame for a closer look at the home victory.  

McSorley, Hamilton, Gesicki

 Cabinda, Buchholz, Campbell

Michigan Postgame (James Franklin)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 2 Penn State powered past No. 19 Michigan, capturing a 42-13 win against the Wolverines inside Beaver Stadium Saturday in front of its largest crowd in program history. Check in with Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin postgame.

Beaver Stadium Extra - Michigan

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Behind the scenes with the Nittany Lions on gameday for an exclusive look at all things Penn State. From pregame fireworks to Penn State alumni interviews and honorary captains, it's Beaver Stadium Extra.

Welcome to Happy Valley
Penn State lit up the sky prior to kickoff with a 360-degree fireworks display. 

Honorary Captain Kyle Brady
Former Penn State All-American tight end Kyle Brady joined the Nittany Lions as today's honorary team captain. 

STATE of Excellence Recognition
In the culmination of Penn State's STATE of Excellence week, the Nittany Lions recognized the 2017 Penn State NCAA national championship team at a break. Nittany Lion Matt McCutcheon checks in from the field. 

Television legend Donald P. Bellisario Joins Beaver Stadium Extra 
Following a historic gift to the University, Penn State 1961 graduate and television legend Don Bellisario joins Beaver Stadium Extra following recognition of the endowment to the re-named college the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.

2017 Gameday Live - No. 2 Penn State vs. Michigan

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Back from a restful bye week, No. 2 Penn State football (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) returns to Beaver Stadium, set to host No. 19 Michigan (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) in a Penn State White Out Saturday. 

Follow along with our live blog for up-to-the-minute information and join the conversation for in-game updates and exclusive content. 
Live Blog No. 2 Penn State vs. No. 19 Michigan
 

Behind the Scenes: College Gameday

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On a Thursday afternoon in Happy Valley, Penn State's iconic Old Main lawn is anything but low key, bustling with construction as ESPN's College GameDay prepares to go live ahead of Saturday's primetime matchup a little more than a mile across campus inside Beaver Stadium. 

Beyond the seemingly perfectly coordinated crew busy bringing the set to life, following the twists and turns of 1,000 feet of tightly bound fiber-optic cables all the way back behind Old Main though, is where the magic of College GameDay really happens.

Tucked inside the production office is Judi Weiss, College GameDay's senior operations producer and also, a Nittany Lion alumna.

While the Emmy award-winner's name might not be instantly synonymous to the average College GameDay fan, Weiss' responsibilities include just about everything related to pulling off the perfect show. From location to set up and breakdown, the behind-the-scenes College GameDay operation is like a highly organized logistical feat and Weiss is always up for the challenge.

Weiss' path to ESPN's College GameDay started at Penn State in 1987, when she transferred to University Park and later graduated in 1989 before returning to pursue a master's degree in film. With an interest in documentary filmmaking, Weiss wasn't interested in the go-to "Penn State parking problem" angle that most film, broadcast and journalism students opted to pursue. Also taking Russian studies, Weiss decided to spend a summer abroad in Volgograd, Russia at the Pedagogical Institute.

"I went there with four other Penn State students and it was a program that accepted you on all levels," Weiss said. "You didn't have to be advanced Russian because to go to Moscow or St. Petersburg, you already to be in advanced Russian and I was like, I don't time for this. I want to go fast I want to learn and I'm going to bring my eight millimeter video camera and get footage."

Intending on shaping a project around Russian musicians and the day-to-day lives of women living in Russia. Already dealing with some culture shock, things got even more interesting to Weiss upon arrival.

"We got to Volgograd and we found out the Pedagogical Institute in summertime is pretty much defunct," Weiss said. "So they gave us private teachers from the university to tutor us in Russian."

It was one of those tutors, a Ph.D graduate student from South America, who happened to be a musician who invited the group to band's studio.

"We went to the studio and the man sitting at the console working on, you know recording some musicians at the time, some Russian musicians, which is the music part, wound up becoming my husband," Weiss said. 

Weiss never returned to Penn State to finish out her master's degree, having partnered with friends to start the first private radio station in Volgograd, Russia bolstered by some internship experience she picked up in her freshman year.

Drawing on contacts from her brother, an ABC Sports staffer, Weiss had done work as a runner in the past, but it soon took off. From the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Weiss moved to Atlanta Olympic Broadcasting later moving up to ABC Sports, where she spent several years on college football and figure skating as a production manager. All because of her simple choice to opt out of the Penn State parking problem of course. 

Among nine Olympic Games, Weiss is the only person to own a tie-Emmy. In her third season on College GameDay, Weiss was also freelancing for Turner Sports' pregame basketball studio show, which earned a submission for its playoff coverage. In 2013, College GameDay took home the Emmy for best weekly studio show alongside the NBA studio show.

"It's a tie for weekly studio show and it was us, and the NBA studio show, so I have a certificate from them and a statue from College GameDay in the same category in the same year," Weiss said.

After years of traveling across the world with figure skating, with the Olympics also sprinkled in, it was her boss at the time who came to her and asked if she would consider College GameDay.

"At that time GameDay was a big show, but it wasn't the way it is now and nobody wanted to work on it," Weiss said. 

With an unpredictable location as the weekly norm, Weiss' boss asked her for two years, but four shows in, Weiss was sold. It's been seven years on College GameDay and she hasn't looked back.

"I fell in love with the show," Weiss said. "It's extremely challenging. It's fresh. It's just exciting to be a part of this project."

It takes six semi-trucks to haul ESPN's College GameDay setup to its weekly location, and that's not counting the bus or the other sponsor box trucks that go along too.

Once finding out the location, it's Weiss who reaches out to the schools to begin the conversation before a site survey. Penn State's bye week allowed some extra time for surveying, allowing for just the right location - this time not Beaver Stadium.

"We want to capture an iconic set location," Weiss said. "What the campus locations allow us to do, is give our audience a sense of place. The idea that we are at Penn State, this is Old Main. It's that sense of place and sometimes with the stadiums, it's not always obvious what stadium you're in front of."


With everything in place, Weiss deployed the trucks to Happy Valley, where the crew arrived late Wednesday, typically needing around four to five hours to begin early construction. Thursday brings another full day of building, which wraps up in the early evening.

"Usually about six or seven at night on Thursday everybody is gone and clear of the set, clear of the truck, ready to go for TV at 8:30 in the morning on Friday," Weiss said.

On the ground, Weiss is driving everything from on-site policy to overall procedure, brining all the pieces together to ensure that nothing skips a beat.

"I kind of connect a lot of the dots during the week, so I'll get legal talking to the legal at school, I'll get I.T. talking to our I.T. department and I just connect a lot of the dots for everybody," Weiss said. "That's how it works is just making sure you get the right people talking to the right people and delegating."

Facing the challenge of a massive cable run to encompass all of Old Main in the perfect College GameDay shot, Weiss worked alongside all involved parties to execute a major undertaking.

Looking past the bright Home Depot orange, the faintest sight of cables looped through street lamps along the sidewalks and tethered to trees can be seen in the distance.

Regardless of what happens when the lights pop on and the show airs live at 9 a.m. ET Saturday morning, it's her experience at Penn State, that Weiss credits to her success.

"I really do credit my experiences here, my education here, but the study abroad, learning a second language, that was key," Weiss said.

Making an impact on her career, it's now mission critical for Weiss to continue making an impact on students following in similar paths. Hosting tours for students and challenging her staff to take an all-in approach at all times, it's hard not to be inspired by her motivating work ethic.

"It's really important to me to get the next generation, trained, engaged, excited and educated on working in this business," Weiss said.

RELATED LINKS: Gameday Central I Game Notes I Depth Chart I Tuesday Presser Roundup I Wednesday Practice Report I R. Rahne Q&A I Monday Notebook I Nittany Lions in the NFL - Week 6 I Gameday Promos and Reminders 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Back from a restful bye week, No. 2 Penn State football (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) returns to Beaver Stadium, set to host No. 19 Michigan (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) in a Penn State White Out Saturday. 

The Nittany Lions and the Wolverines will meet in a primetime matchup set for 7:30 p.m. on ABC with Chris Fowler (pxp), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst) and Maria Taylor (sideline) on the call.

Earlier this week, head coach James Franklin called Saturday's matchup a real challenge for the Nittany Lions, as the two storied programs prepare to collide with a variety of intriguing storylines coming to life under the lights.

At the midpoint in the year, Penn State storylines have continued to take shape, including an explosive offense, an efficient special teams unit and a powerful defense highlighted by a secondary loaded with ball hawks who have proven key in pivotal moments.

Outscoring opponents 76-0 in the first quarter, Penn State's defense is limiting opponents to a national-best 9.0 points per game. In the big plays category, Penn State ranks within the top 25 nationally and second in the Big Ten with 38 plays of 20 or more yards.

Turning toward Michigan, the Wolverines head to Happy Valley for their second weekend on the road, coming off a 27-20 OT win at Indiana last week. Ranked within the top 10 of nine defensive categories in the NCAA standings, Michigan's defense is tops in FBS in total defense (223.8 avg.), third down defense (20.5 pct.) and passing efficiency defense (88.85). At the midpoint in the year, the Wolverines have also limited five of six opponents to a season-low points total an all six to a season-low in yardage. 

Regardless of what the statistics say though, Franklin and the staff have stressed focus above all things this week, with University Park buzzing ahead of the Penn State White Out, the Nittany Lions' highest AP poll ranking in nearly 20 years and ESPN's College Gameday [MORE: College Gameday Info] taking over the Old Main lawn.

"My message for the team this week is, they've earned these things," Franklin said. "These things are nice. The rankings are nice. The fact that ESPN and College GameDay is coming is nice. The fact that this is a white-out is nice. At the end of the day none of those things matter. It's about our preparation."

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What To Watch For - Penn State
1. Franklin noted that Saturday's matchup will bring some interesting chess matches between coordinators, also putting on display, as he says, two of the best defensive coordinators in college football. Having coached together at a previous stop, Franklin was quick to note Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown's success. 

"Don's big thing, it shows up on tape, they're going to solve their problems with aggression. That's something I remember years ago Don talking about. It still shows up on tape. His answer for the game of football is to be aggressive, be aggressive in the way he calls the game, be aggressive in how their players play. They're a big wreck-the-decision-maker, try to get to the quarterback as much as they possibly can and either sack him or make him uncomfortable in the pocket, and don't give any yards away, no free-access throws."

2. Penn State is tops in the Big Ten and second in FBS in turnover margin at plus-12. With 17 takeaways in the in the first six games marking the most for the Nittany Lions in a six-game span since 1993, the mark is also tied for third in FBS. With the Nittany Lion secondary contributing a Big Ten leading nine interceptions, it's more than just the secondary that has helped Penn State make take such a significant step forward. 

"I don't think it's just our secondary," Franklin said. "I think it's our D-line. I think it's the linebackers. "Christian is a senior and has been playing since his freshman year. Grant is a senior, has been playing since his freshman year. Amani, his role just continues to grow every season. I think those guys have had a dramatic impact. But, again, to play really good defense, all three phases, D-line, linebackers, secondary, all got to be coordinated and working together."

3. Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki enters Saturday's matchup looking to eclipse a career milestone. Coming off of the road trip win at Northwestern, Gesicki is just 249 yards shy of the a nearly 50-year old career receiving yards record for a Penn State tight end. He also needs just one touchdown reception to match the career touchdown catches record, also tying his own record for single season touchdown grabs. 

What to Watch For - Michigan
1. Franklin identified Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst as both explosive and disruptive for the Wolverines.

"I think Hurst is really fun to watch on tape," Franklin said. "He's a really good player. He's explosive. He is quick. His get-off is what really jumps out. You watch the ball snapped, he's the first one across the line of scrimmage. They move their defensive line a lot. He uses his hands well."

Hurst is second on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss with defensive end Chase Winovich leading the team with 8.0 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. On the year, Michigan's defensive line has accounted for nearly 50 percent of its 20 sacks. The Wolverines are sixth in FBS and tops in the Big Ten averaging 3.33 sacks per game. 

2. From his early film study Penn State wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins mentioned Michigan's trust in the secondary, noting that winning the contested matchups will be key.

"Basically we've just seen guys who are very sound in their technique with footwork and attention to detail," Thompkins said. "These guys are very comfortable with being one-one-one on the outside and that's something that they do pretty much every game, so that's something that's not different for them. They kind of live in that environment, and they thrive in that environment."

3. Michigan running back Karan Higdon enters Saturday coming off of a career-high 200-yard performance with three touchdowns against the Hoosiers. With starts in three consecutive games, Higdon has totaled 401 yards at the midpoint of the season. 

The Final Word -
Nearly every Nittany Lion asked about the Penn State White Out this week explained the electric atmosphere as something you'd have to experience to be able to describe. Penn State and Michigan have met for a Penn State White Out four times since 2004. Under the lights though, the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines' last primetime meeting came Oct. 12, 2013 when Penn State battled to a 43-40 win in four overtimes.

Ricky Rahne Q&A - Michigan Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State tight ends coach and pass game coordinator Ricky Rahne joined the assistant coaches weekly teleconference Thursday afternoon.

Talking everything from life in the booth to Michigan, check in with a few highlights from the Q&A session.

Week Six Surprises?
At the midpoint in the season, Rahne was asked if there's anything specific the Nittany Lions might have learned when it comes to how opponents are attacking the offense. Having spent more time than usual on self-scouting due to last week's bye, there weren't many surprises for Rahne and the staff. 

"I don't know if there was anything that we've learned necessarily," Rahne said. "I think it was more of a confirmation process than anything else. As we look at things we've said to ourselves, 'okay this is how we think teams are attacking us' and we were really able to confirm most of those thoughts. There might have been a thing here or there that maybe we overestimated how it was happening. In general, I would say that most of the ways we thought teams were attacking us, those were pretty accurate." 

Blocking Assessment
When asked about the blocking performances Rahne has seen from his tight ends this year, he noted that he's generally happy to date. 

"As a general rule, I think we've been blocking pretty well," Rahne said. "I'd obviously like to see us get a little more movement at the point of attack, but I think that's something, as an offensive coach you're searching for until the end of time. I don't think you're ever going to be satisfied with that." 

Michigan's Defense
There's no doubting that the matchup between Penn State's explosive offensive and Michigan's physical defense is intriguing.   

"They play on defense very similar to how we play on offense, Rahne said. "It's a great matchup."

For Rahne, maximizing practice preparations means making concepts as efficient as possible to put the Nittany Lions in the best possible situation for success come Saturday.

"You try to give the guys as many of the looks as you can, while trying to simplify it as much as humanly possible and give them concepts as opposed to trying to have them remember every defense against every play," Rahne said.

Life in the Booth
From up in the booth, Rahne noted that his vantage point from up top can give a little better view of the field as compared to coaches on the sidelines. From either angle, part of what Rahne finds as the most enjoyable part about working with the rest of the offensive staff though, is how well everyone communicates. 

"I'm able to talk to coach Gattis, he's able to talk to me," Rahne said. "I'm able to talk to Coach Limegrover, Coach Huff and then Coach Moorhead. We're all able to make suggestions, no one is looking to assign blame, we're all looking to move the ball down the field to help us score points and help us win. Obviously being up top I can have a little better view on that sometimes." 

Learning from Moorhead
Rahne called Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead the best offensive coordinator in the country. More than his ability to call up the perfect play at precisely the right time, it's his unique ability to inspire belief that Rahne noted.

"I just think the world of Joe and what he brings to the table," Rahne said. "The one thing underestimated, is his ability to get the players to play hard for him and believe in him and our system. Obviously he calls a lot of great plays. I think we as a staff do a great job of designing plays, making adjustments. None of that matters if the kids don't believe. He does a great job of motivating our team and I've learned that from him."

Practice Report: Michigan Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin and defensive linemen Shareef Miller met with members of the media following practice Wednesday evening during Michigan week.

Check in for a few highlights from the pair of media sessions.

Weekly Update
Franklin noted that at this point in the week, he's pleased with the progress the Nittany Lions have made from Sunday through Wednesday.

"I felt really good about yesterday's energy and execution," Franklin said. "We've got some new things in so it wasn't as clean as you'd like it to be but that's typical on a Tuesday. I thought today, just being out here, not watching the film, I was really pleased with how we practiced." 


Bye Week Bonus
Last week's bye meant more time for Miller and the rest of the Nittany Lions to prepare for this week's Michigan assignment. With extra time to get a handle on film, Miller also got the opportunity to head home for the weekend before getting back to the grind Sunday. 

"It helps a lot to be honest with you, you can get more film in," Miller said. "A lot of us were watching film constantly so now this week, most of us kind of know what they are going to do Saturday. Having a bye week really gave us a good jump on it." 

Looking at Michigan
Describing the Michigan offense, Franklin went with Stanford-esk, Michigan State or a traditional Big Ten style of offense to describe the Wolverines. 

"They're one of those styles offenses where they're going to be multiple formation, multiple personnel groups, multiple shift and formation," Franklin said. They're going to run power, run lead, run counter."

Miller's First Penn State White Out
For Miller, his first Penn State White Out experience came in 2014, when the Nittany Lions narrowly fell short in a double overtime lossto No. 13 Ohio State. Among the rest of his visits, nothing came close to Penn State though, which prevailed by a longshot.

"That's what really sold me to come to Penn State, just the white out atmosphere," Miller said. 

Now on the field suited up in the Blue and White, it's an exciting experience that's difficult to explain.

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