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Media Day Interview - Christian Hackenberg

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - goes one-on-one with sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg for his thoughts heading into his second season at Penn State.

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Media Day Interview - James Franklin

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with head coach James Franklin during media day inside Beaver Stadium.

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Nittany Lions Host Media Day as Training Camp Opens

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Media Day Press Conference Videos:

James Franklin - John Donovan - Bob Shoop - Charles Huff

Media Day Press Conference Transcript | Media Day Photo Gallery | Practice I Photo Gallery

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A crowd of more than 170 media members packed the Beaver Stadium media room on Monday for the 2014 version of Penn State football media day.

Head coach James Franklin kicked off the festivities with an entertaining press conference. Coordinators John Donovan, Charles Huff and Bob Shoop followed Franklin on the dais before the Nittany Lions arrived at the stadium for nearly 60 minutes of open media on the finely manicured sod in Beaver Stadium.

"Obviously, we are very excited," Franklin said. "It's been seven months since we arrived. We've gotten a lot of work done in a short period of time. We are excited to get going, working with these guys day in and day out...I think the staff has done a great job preparing. The players have been unbelievable."

Franklin is thrilled with the academic success the team has produced during his seven months at the helm of the program. The Nittany Lions had a strong spring semester, and the best academic summer session, collectively, in the history of the program.

"We are really looking forward to seeing all the progress the players have made since spring ball ended," Franklin said. "Not only physically, but also mentally which will allow them to play fast. You're also excited to get out and watch the new guys in the program to see which guys look like they may figure in."

MDay_blog_1.jpgPenn State took the field just before 4:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon to officially begin preparations for the 2014 season. The Nittany Lions are allotted 29 practices before the season-opener against UCF at the Croke Park Classic in Dublin.

"There is a lot of excitement and a lot of good things going on," Franklin said. "We have 26 days before we open the season against Central Florida. Last night, I addressed that with the team. It will be here before we know it for all of us. But that is the last time we are going to talk about it. We are in a time period where our focus is on Penn State and becoming the best Penn State we could possibly be."

Franklin said that there would be a point in two weeks or so into camp that the team will flip a switch into game preparation mode for UCF. For now, though, the Nittany Lions will work to maximize each day to improve in all phases of the game. Under NCAA rules, the Lions must wait five practices before putting the pads on Saturday.

"The plan going in ahead is to maximize our practices," Franklin said. "We are going to maximize the hours. We are going to do all the things that we possibly can right now. Again we have a little bit of a juggling act with the academics which is always going to be priority No. 1 for the first two weeks, so that's a challenge."

The Nittany Lions will practice each day this week in the afternoon. The season kicks off at 8:30 a.m. (ESPN) on Aug. 30.

TC_Practice 1.jpg
- Coach Franklin joked with the standing room only crowd in the media room that there must not have been much in the way of news going on in Pennsylvania on Monday.

"We really appreciate everyone coming out today. You guys have been awesome since the day we arrived."

- Coach Franklin's family moved into State College on Friday evening. He is thrilled to have his wife and two daughters in town.

"Now what was great was yesterday we were able to have two meals with the players. They came and had lunch and dinner with us. My daughters love it. I wish I could spend more time with them but what they wanted to do, as soon as we got there to lunch and dinner, they didn't want to sit with us. Shola went and sat with one group of players. Addie went and sat with another group of players. And I love that. My wife loves it. I love it and it's awesome for our family and it's good for our football team, as well. They get to see me in a different light and I think that's important."

- Franklin on what he wants to see in terms of improvement from 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Christian Hackenberg:

"That's a great question and we are looking for improvements from Hack, but I'm going to be honest with you, where our focus really is, is all the pieces of the puzzle around Hack. You know, that's going to allow him to continue to develop, making sure that we are able to protect him with our offensive line, making sure that we are able to be balanced offensively and be able to run the ball with our offensive line and tight end, having a huge impact in that, as well, and finding some wide receivers to make up for the production we lost, all these things factor into it. So obviously I want him to be more and more confident so he can make really good decisions in terms of protecting the football, get the ball out of his hand as quickly as he possibly can, and what you like to see with a quarterback I know in this system is, they get to a point where they feel like the defense can't be right. You know, that you understand the offense so well, that if you play cover two, wonderful, I'm going to attack the weakness here. If you go cover three, go here; if you go man coverage, here is my man beater. If you throw pressure, I'm either going to go hot or readjust the protection to pick it up. When you get to a point where you feel like the quarterback has all those tools at his disposal, the confidence skyrockets and they feel like the defense can't be right and that is unbelievably valuable."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Coach Franklin Visits ESPN Campus for 'Car Wash'

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BRISTOL, Conn. - Head coach James Franklin visited the campus of ESPN on Wednesday for a trip through the "Car Wash".

Franklin participated in approximately 15 different activities during his five-hour stay in Bristol. He appeared live on "First Take", "SportsCenter" and "Numbers Never Lie", in addition to recording several interviews that will air across the ESPN family of networks.

Take a look through Coach Franklin's day in Bristol.

Coach Franklin Headed to ESPN for 'Car Wash'

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin will join Big Ten coaches in Bristol on Wednesday to spend a day on the ESPN campus going through a "car wash".

Franklin will participate in a wide range of ESPN activities during his stop on Thursday, including interviews on SportsCenter, First Take, College Football Live and the Scott Van Pelt and Russillo Radio Show.  Franklin will spend nearly five hours talking on or participating in approximately 15 ESPN platforms.

Coach Franklin ESPN "Car Wash Schedule"
***Note*** Not all interviews are live




10:00 a.m.

College Gameday Radio

ESPN Radio

10:10 a.m.

ESPNU podcast


10:20 a.m.

ESPN Front Row / ITK


10:40 a.m.

First Take


11:00 a.m.



11:40 a.m.



12:00 p.m.

ESPNU Interview


12:15 p.m. Chat


12:40 p.m.

Numbers Never Lie


12:55 p.m.

Highly Questionable


1:15 p.m.

CFB Live


1:30 p.m.



1:55 p.m.

Freddie Coleman Radio

ESPN Radio

2:05 p.m.

Digital Media


2:40 p.m. Reporter


2:55 p.m.

Sedano & Stink

ESPN Radio

Not all of the interviews will be conducted live, but fans are encouraged to stay tuned to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 throughout the day on Wednesday for coverage of Franklin during his trip to the ESPN campus.

2014 Big Ten Media Days - Day II Coverage

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Day I Coverage

CHICAGO - Head coach James Franklin and seniors Bill Belton, Sam Ficken and Mike Hull wrapped up Big Ten Media Days with roundtable interviews and the 43rd Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon at the Hilton downtown Chicago on Tuesday.

Franklin and the trio of players participated in a wide range of activities with local and national media throughout the day.  Stay tuned for continuing coverage of Penn State's trip to the 2014 Big Ten Media Days.

Roundtable Interview Session
Coach Franklin and each player occupied a table in the Continental Ballroom inside the Hilton for two hours on Tuesday morning as the media rotated through for interviews. Approximately 800 members of the local and national media were credentialed for the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Check out some highlights from Tuesday's media sessions.

Coach Franklin Meets the Media - Day II

Player Interviews - Day II


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Big Ten Media Days - Day I Coverage

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14_mediaday_blog_4.jpgCoach Franklin Transcript - July 28 | Press Conference Video | Photo Gallery

CHICAGO - Coach James Franklin and seniors Bill Belton, Sam Ficken and Mike Hull kicked off Big Ten Media Days on Monday at the Hilton downtown Chicago.

Franklin and the trio of players participated in a wide range of activities with local and national media throughout the day.  Stay tuned for continuing coverage of Penn State's trip to the 2014 Big Ten Media Days.

9 a.m. - Hackenberg Tabbed as Player to Watch
The first piece of Penn State news from Big Ten Media Days broke just before 9 a.m. on Monday when the conference announced that sophomore Christian Hackenberg was named one of 10 Big Ten Players to Watch heading into the 2014 season.

9327000.jpegHackenberg was selected the 2013 Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year, becoming the second-straight Nittany Lion to win the award, with defensive end Deion Barnes doing so in 2012. His tremendous true freshman season was recognized nationally, as he garnered first-team True Freshman All-America accolades from He completed 231 of 392 passes for 2,955 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. Hackenberg also ran for four touchdowns and accumulated 2,887 yards of total offense, an average of 240.6 ypg.

The Virginia native broke one Penn State overall passing record and 12 school freshman passing records, including the freshman marks for game and season passing completions, attempts, yards and touchdown passes. He compiled four 300-yard passing games to tie Matt McGloin for the school single season record and tie Kerry Collins for second place on the career list, just two behind McGloin's career mark of six. Hackenberg completed 14 passes of 40 yards or longer, which was tied for the most nationally by a freshman and eighth overall, including a season-long 68-yard touchdown pass to Adam Breneman in the season finale win at No. 14 Wisconsin.

2014 Big Ten Players to Watch
Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Rob Havenstein, RT, Wisconsin

10:05 a.m. - One-on-One Interviews Kick Off Media Days
Head coach James Franklin kicked off the festivities with a one-on-one interview with the Big Ten reporters.


12 p.m. - Quoting the Nittany Lions
A collection of quotes during the open media session at Big Ten Media Day:

14_mediaday_blog_5.jpgCoach Franklin on the logistics of playing in Ireland - "We think we've got a pretty good plan going into it. We're going to need to be very disciplined. We'll leave Tuesday night. Go to class on Tuesday, practice on Tuesday and leave Tuesday night, and we'll get there on Wednesday. We're going to have to force them to stay up that entire day and try to get adjusted and acclimated as quick as we possibly can, but no doubt it's a challenge."

Coach Franklin on Christian Hackenberg - "The thing that I'm most impressed is how humble and how hungry and how open he is to coaching. I think Billy O'Brien and our staff did a really good job of teaching concepts. That's kind of what we believe is you teach the game from a big picture perspective. They understand concepts. They've got a chance to put things together in their head and understand offenses. So now we come in, there's a lot of similar philosophies, but he understands concepts of football. But I've been very impressed with him."

Mike Hull on Coach Franklin - "We feed off of his energy. I wouldn't want another head coach with different energy."

Sam Ficken on the offseason - "My big thing during the offseason was consistency. I feel great coming into camp."

Bill Belton on being a complete back - "The big thing about being a complete back is doing all of the little things well and executing all phases of the game."

2 p.m. - Coach Franklin Addresses the Media
Head coach James Franklin stepped to the podium inside the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton at 2 p.m. ET for his 15-minute session with the approximately 800 credentialed media in attendance at Big Ten Kickoff.

"Really appreciate the opportunity to be here," said Franklin. "I want to thank the Big Ten. I want to thank Commissioner Delany. Great experience for our players. They're really, really excited. Got a chance to spend some time in Chicago, and now having this experience has been wonderful. So I want to thank everybody for that."

The first-year leader of the Nittany Lions is pleased with the progress Penn State made during spring practice. Franklin said the spring was spent laying the foundation for what the program is trying to accomplish with mentality and culture and offensive, defensive and special teams philosophies. Franklin said the team embraced the opportunity to learn, and he is excited for practice to begin on Aug. 4.

"This spring we weren't able to really play at the type of speed that we want to play at because guys were thinking, and I think since then, over the summer, we've been able to really kind of gain some confidence, and guys are looking forward to it," said Franklin.

2:30 p.m. - Open Media Session
Franklin and the trio of players moved into a podium media session for 30 minutes at 2:30 p.m. The trio of players and Franklin found a spare minute to snap a selfie to document the open session.

VIDEO: Coach Franklin on Day One of Big Ten Media Days

VIDEO: Player Sound Bites on Day One of Big Ten Media Days

6 p.m. - Day One Roundup
The Nittany Lion contingent wrapped up a day full of interviews with TV affiliates, radio stations, online reporters and print reporters in the late afternoon hours in Chicago.  Day two of Big Ten Media Days will feature two hours of open media on Thursday morning.  Coach Franklin and former Nittany Lion great Anthony Adams will then participate in a Big Ten autograph session with the fans.  From there, the 43rd Annual Big Ten Kickoff will take place in the International Ballroom of the Hilton.  Stay tuned for more coverage from Tuesday's events.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Follow at 2014 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The unofficial kickoff to the 2014 Big Ten football has arrived.  The 43rd Annual Big Ten Kickoff will take place in Chicago on Monday and Tuesday. will be on site to cover all of the action.  Head coach James Franklin, senior running back Bill Belton, senior kicker Sam Ficken and senior linebacker Mike Hull will represent Penn State in Chicago.

The two-day event will be filled with interviews and press conferences with a wide variety of national media outlets.  The BTN and ESPNU will have extensive coverage on TV. 
BTN will present more than five hours of live coverage of Big Ten football media days on Monday, airing the press conferences for all 14 coaches, BTN President Mark Silverman, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and College Football Playoff Chief Operating Officer Michael Kelly.  Coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. ET live on BTN. The press conferences and remarks will re-air at 7 p.m. on Monday.

Coverage by ESPNU will begin at 1 p.m. ET on Monday with coverage of the press conferences and media day festivities.

On Monday and Tuesday, will be home to all of the happenings in Chicago.  Stay tuned throughout Big Ten Media Days for live blog updates, videos and photos from Chicago.

Listed below is a schedule with key events from the Big Ten Kickoff in Chicago.

Monday, July 28

- All 14 coaches, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, BTN President Mark Silverman and College Football Playoff COO Michael Kelly will address the media in press conferences.

- 2:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. ET - James Franklin Press Conference

Tuesday, July 29

- All 14 coaches and three players from each team will be open to reporters for interviewing from 9-11 a.m. ET.
- ESPN's Rece Davis will emcee the 43rd Annual Big Ten Kickoff luncheon at 12:30 p.m. ET.

All of the events will take place at the Hilton Chicago.  We look forward to taking you with us to Chicago for complete Penn State coverage from Big Ten Media Days.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Barbour Eager to Lead Penn State Athletics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 18th of August cannot come soon enough for Sandy Barbour.

Introduced as Penn State Director of Athletics on Saturday afternoon, Barbour is thrilled to begin her tenure as the leader of an athletic program that aspires to continue its long history of excellence on and off the field of play.

"When you spend a professional lifetime serving institutions and most importantly students, you dream about coming to a place like Penn State," Barbour said. "You dream about the opportunity to lead a program like Penn State athletics. Why? Because it represents the opportunity to have it all: Athletic excellence, academic achievement, community engagement and fiscal responsibility. So thank you, Eric [Barron]. I am absolutely thrilled, over the top excited about this opportunity and about being the athletic director at Penn State."

A graduate of Wake Forest where she was field hockey team captain, Barbour grew up on the East Coast and has always had a deep passion for Penn State University and its athletic department. That's what drew her to the position when she originally spoke with President Barron about the opportunity.

Immediately, Barbour felt a connection with the people, pride and remarkable accomplishments of Penn State University and its athletic department.

"I love the 'We Are Penn State.' I particularly love what it stands for. It stands for family," Barbour said.

Barbour desires to see national titles in all 31 sports on campus. But first and foremost, she will strive to lead a department with student-athletes who are elite performers in the classroom.

"We are athletic programs again that are all part of a university," Barbour said. "Our student-athletes will be students first, Penn State is incredibly proud of the academic performance of their students and we will continue to be."

Eager to hit the ground running when she begins her duties as athletic director in 23 days, Barbour wants to learn from everyone in the department, especially the head coaches leading Penn State's 31 athletic teams.

"Unity doesn't mean one opinion, and I actually embrace that, embrace the diversity of opinion, diversity in a variety of different ways, and I actually think that will make us stronger in our ability to move forward," Barbour said. "As I said before, I have something to learn from everybody, and I'll be doing a lot of listening."

Numerous head coaches were in attendance at Saturday's introductory press conference. The coaches and athletic department staff then had a chance to mingle with Barbour at a private reception before she boarded a flight to Chicago for Big Ten meetings. The head coaches in attendance exuded great confidence in the future direction of the athletic department.

"There is a culture, history and tradition of tremendous academic achievement at Penn State and that will continue," said head football coach James Franklin. "I know it's important to our president, athletic director and all of our coaches. That will continue. I know we'll spend as much time as we need to so we can start building."

"I am truly thrilled that Sandy Barbour will serve as the next athletic director for Penn State," Lady Lions head coach Coquese Washington said. "Sandy is a strong, dynamic and passionate leader. She is also an incredibly smart visionary and strategic thinker. It is exciting to imagine all the ways Penn State University, and Penn State athletics in particular, will be positively impacted by her leadership."

"I loved everything I heard today," head women's hockey coach Josh Brandwene said. "She has passion, vision and just a great understanding of the Penn State community. Both as a head coach and as an alumnus, I am really excited to start working with her."

Barbour will return to California in the coming days to prepare for her full-time return to Happy Valley on Aug. 18, and the new leader of Penn State Athletics is fired up to get started.

"We are Penn State. I'm all in. I'm ready to get going," said Barbour.


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Pre-season Football Depth Chart Released

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Pre-season Depth Chart - July 24

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin released the Nittany Lions' depth chart heading into the start of pre-season camp, which begins on Aug. 4.

Heading into camp, each player begins the season with a clean slate as the team competes for starting positions. Therefore, the first depth chart of the fall season features assignments ranked by seniority. The depth chart includes 11 players with senior eligibility (seven fifth-year seniors), including three on offense, seven on defense and one specialist.

On offense, the tandem of Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak lead the list of 11 Nittany Lion running backs. Belton and Zwinak head into their senior campaigns after combining for 1,792 rushing yards in 2013. Fellow senior Miles Dieffenbach is the most experienced player on the offensive side of the ball with 23 career starts.

On defense, the list of seniors includes the team's most experienced player in safety Adrian Amos. The senior has started 25 career games as a Nittany Lion. Fellow seniors Ryan Keiser and Jesse Della Valle will join Amos in an experienced secondary.

Veteran linebacker Mike Hull will lead the linebacking corps into camp. Hull is the team's top returning tackler from 2013 (78 stops). Brad Bars (DE), C.J. Olaniyan (DE) and Tyrone Smith (DT) make up the senior trio on the defensive line.

Placekicker Sam Ficken is the lone senior specialist on the roster. Ficken broke Craig Fayak's school record of 13-straight made field goals with 15-straight successful kicks stretching from the end of 2012 into 2013.

The depth chart features six tight ends, which includes the standout trio of returnees - junior Jesse James (Y), junior Kyle Carter (F) and sophomore Adam Breneman (Y).  Sophomore Brent Wilkerson (F) is back to full strength after missing 2013 due to injury. Sophomore Tom Pancoast (Y) joins the tight end group, in addition to true freshman Mike Gesicki (F).

Young talent stands out on the pre-season depth chart. The initial depth chart includes 33 players with true freshman eligibility (19 on offense, 11 on defense and three specialists). In total, there are 57 players with either true freshman or redshirt freshman eligibility. The depth chart includes 85 players with sophomore or freshman eligibility and 33 players with junior or senior eligibility.

The Lions return 40 letterwinners and 15 starters (seven on offense, seven on defense, one specialist) from 2013.

The 2014 schedule features a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams. The Nittany Lions will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming, 12 p.m.) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. Penn State will host Akron (Sept. 6, 12 p.m.), UMass (Sept. 20) and Temple (Nov. 15) during its non-conference slate.

Penn State kicks off the 2014 season at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 30 (ESPN2) at the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland, against UCF.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony