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Tim Banks Q&A: Rutgers Week

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12959404.jpeg UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Tim Banks joined the weekly assistant coaches conference call Thursday afternoon during Rutgers week. 

As the Nittany Lions prepare to head into the first of their final three games of the season, Banks fielded questions from media members spanning everything from defensive improvements to the scout team.

Catch up on a few updates from the teleconference.

Veteran Leadership
Banks of course pointed out the tremendous benefit that two senior safeties leading the unit provides for the Nittany Lions. Between Marcus Allen and Troy Apke, Banks noted there isn't much someone like Allen hasn't seen on the field, with Apke also bringing valuable game experience.

After their departures though, Banks is confident in who the Nittany Lions return.

"When you lose Marcus [Allen] and that many starts, it can be challenging but I can kind of look at it a little bit different," Banks said. "I feel like we've done a really good job recruiting around here and I feel like we have some guys who will be ready to step in and pick up where these guys have left off."

Speaking of Allen ...
Banks called Allen one of the best he has ever coached at the position in terms of how his sheer athleticism combines with his 6-foot-2 frame

"I've had guys his size who maybe weren't quite as athletic or guys that are a little smaller that may be a little bit faster, but when you start talking about overall combo guy, I don't know if I've had a combo guy with that type of skillset with that type of size," Banks said. "He can do it all. You can drop him in the box and he can play as a linebacker or you can play him on the hash and he can play as a regular safety. You can actually put him in coverage so he can cover."

Defensive Improvements
Regardless of what the stat sheet says, Banks noted that when a team isn't experiencing success it's common to continuously evaluate everything from practice to game situations - leaving no stone unturned until success is attained. As Penn State head coach James Franklin noted more generally this week, the Nittany Lions spent some time self-scouting ahead of Saturday's noon matchup against Rutgers on the heels of a pair of conference road losses.

"Obviously we've made adjustments that we felt needed to be adjusted and some things we thought we were doing well, we'll continue to do," Banks said. "We've obviously played against some really good opponents the last two weeks and some things that we would like to do better, we've addressed, and hopefully we'll be able to do those things moving forward." 

Scout Team Update
Banks mentioned named like KJ Hamler and Des Holmes when asked about a few Penn State scout team members who are stepping forward.

"KJ [Hamler] is one who comes to mind," Banks said. "He works extremely hard, he's a fast kid, a quick kid, has great energy during practice. He's really given us a great look in practice week in and week out. Des Holmes does a great job for us up front, very physical."

He wrapped up though, point out that it's an entire unit of young guys who have stepped up to play at a really high level to give the Nittany Lions the best looks during game week. 

"It takes a lot to go out there and understand that you may not go out and play on Saturday's and still give your all," Banks said. "That whole freshman class has been awesome. They treat Tuesday and Wednesday like gameday and that's paid a lot of success to how well we've played throughout the year defensively, because of how hard those guys have worked on scout teams."

Practice Report: Rutgers Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just a few days separate Penn State football from its return to Beaver Stadium following back-to-back road trips.

Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin and wide receiver Saeed Blacknall met with members of the media following practice Wednesday evening. Catch up on a few highlights from the media session.

We Salute You
The Nittany Lions welcomed members of Penn State's ROTC programs for the final few periods of practice. Following practice, coach Franklin and the team took time to shake hands and briefly meet with the practice visitors. 

"We just want to be appreciative and respectful and obviously there are so many different groups and organizations on campus and in the community and with it being our military appreciation game this weekend, we wanted to make sure we connect with those guys," Franklin said.

Something that has now become yearly tradition, Franklin noted the Nittany Lions have forged relationships with the group, now exploring possibilities for teambuilding and leadership projects in the future.

Throwback Game
Growing up in New Jersey, Blacknall noted that he has plenty of connections and relationships with individuals on the Rutgers roster. While he's not communicating with them during game week, he noted it's kind of like high school when they actually line up on opposite sides of the field. 

"It's like a throwback, like a high school reunion and you're just coming back and you know how they play and they know how you play," Blacknall said. "Obviously you've gotten better because you're in college but it's just one of those things that's cool to me."

Speaking of High School ...
During playoff season, Blacknall's high school team only lost three games. The final loss of course came against now current teammate Jason Cabinda's high school team. 

"It was snowing, it was a terrible day," Blacknall said. "My quarterback couldn't even drop back to throw a pass to me. I was open so many times and you just had him bull-rushing through the line sacking my quarterback probably 10-15 times and then they handed the ball off to him every play. I think it ended up 21-0, it's something I don't like to think about, he always jokes about it too." 

Blacknall of course noted that in his junior year, it was his team that sent Cabinda's high school team off the field with the loss to get to the state championship. 

Focus on Physicality
Franklin noted that playing with more physicality is more of a mindset than it is something that can be drilled in practice.

"I think sometimes we're happy with just blocking the guy as well as we think we need to, to get the job done rather than sending a message and trying to finish a guy and pancake blocks and things like that," Franklin said. "I had a talk with a number of guys this week, these guys have done this. They've done it in their careers and they've done it in high school, I've seen it but they've kind of just been satisfied with what we've been doing."

Tuesday Roundup - Rutgers Week

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RELATED LINKS: Franklin Transcribed I Thompkins, Gonzalez Transcribed I Watch - Full Press Conference

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football returns to action Saturday, returning from the road to host Rutgers in Beaver Stadium. Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin met with members of the media in his weekly press conference. Offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez and wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins also joined for a pair of media sessions.

Following back-to-back road trips, Beaver Stadium is a welcome atmosphere for the Nittany Lions.

"It's great to be home. It's great to be back for homecoming," Franklin said. "It's great to be hosting military appreciation. It's great to be in our own surroundings and in front of our fans and loved ones and things like that. That's great."

For wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins, returning to Beaver Stadium is all about the comforts of home. 

"There's no environment like here. The fans are great," Thompkins said. "The environment is great. We feed off it as a team. We do a great job at home, as you know. It's just good to get back to your bearings. And being in an environment that you're comfortable playing in."

An area of improvement identified by Franklin has been increasing physicality up front. For Gonzalez, that's an area that comes down to mindset and the way the Nittany Lions approach practice. More specifically, it's incorporating everything into more of a finishers mindset, working through the whistle the entire week of practice rather than holding out for gameday.

"I think it's a huge challenge not only for me, but for the rest of the offensive line and I think that's the real emphasis this week, to try to improve that. That's what we do every week to try to improve our physicality. I think that will be our mindset this week, and just try to be as physical as we can against Rutgers."

On The Quote Board -
- Franklin on improvements to handling in-game momentum shifts.

"On a positive note, one of the areas that I thought we've been struggling on defense this year with sudden change and I thought our defense handled the three turnovers extremely well. Those three turnovers came out to be two punts and one take away. So that was a real positive. We want to build on that." 

- Thompkins on blocking.

"I knew that the biggest thing coming into Division I football is blocking. People are big. They're strong. And I'm for the that big. I'm not that strong. But blocking is all about Hart. That's the one thing Coach Gattis tells us is you can train all you want, blocking drills, all this and that, but is it comes down do you want the person behind you with the ball want to score. And I want receiver person on offensive to score. I go all out for blocking and my teammates. 

- Gonzalez on Rutgers.

"It's a challenge every week to try to face a defense like them. They're physical. They're a big group. And they're coming off a few games where they've won. Obviously they're coming off a hot streak. It's always going to be tough. And they're going to come in and try to knock us off. And they're going to come in with a lot of momentum, so we just have to be prepared for it."

- Thompkins on how running back Saquon Barkley has handled himself in the last few weeks.

"One thing that I admire from him [Barkley] is he's a team player, he's not one of those guys that goes in demands the ball. He knows the type of players we are as receivers. He knows the type of player Mike is at tight end, he knows Trace and et cetera. But that's one thing that he handles very well is he knows he's not the only piece to the puzzle and he's willing to sacrifice that for the success of the team."

- Franklin on Barkley

"Saquon is one of the better football players, if not the best football player I've ever been around. He's able to be explosive in so many different ways, and that's what we want to do. We want to get the ball into his hands in a lot of different ways. I think that gives us the best opportunity to be successful."

- Gonzalez on where his game has grown the most this season.

"I think I've just gained more confidence in my game. I think last year, toward the beginning, I wasn't really confident. It took a while to build it up and I wasn't really clicking with the offensive line, I was kind of a lone wolf. I think this year I just made a lot of changes. Obviously with my faith, just believing in the process and believing in my abilities and the confidence grew. It's a product now and I've been playing pretty decently." 

- Thompkins on dealing with adversity.

"One thing I would say is that even though it's a tough loss you also learn from wins as well. Just because you win a game doesn't mean you didn't have mistakes. Whether it's a win or a loss, with maturity it becomes even though we've won, hey, I did not play a perfect game. There's things that I need to work on and improve. That just comes with, like you said, maturity. That's something we have as a team, is we know that no matter how much we win by or how much we lose by, the mistakes will show. And that's something that you have to take into account, understand what happened, why it happened, and then just go on to the next week."

Monday Notebook: Rutgers Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football has shifted its focus toward Rutgers, set to return home to Beaver Stadium to host the Scarlet Knights in a noon matchup on homecoming.

Ball Hawk
Cornerback Amani Oruwariye grabbed his fourth interception of the season in the fourth quarter at Michigan State. Having recorded four of Penn State's 10 takeaways this year, Oruwariye enters the week ranked first in the Big Ten and second in FBS averaging 0.6 interceptions per game. 

Quoting Coach Ash
At his weekly press conference this afternoon, Rutgers head coach Chris Ash noted the Scarlet Knights would face a talented football team in the Nittany Lions. He was also asked about running back Saquon Barkley, specifically in regard to Ohio State's Urban Meyer naming him the best all-purpose back the Buckeyes have faced in his career.

"He's very good, there's no doubt about it," Ash said. "Saquon Barkley is as good as there is. He can do it all. He can run the ball, he can catch the ball out of the back field, he can line up as a wide receiver, he's very strong, tremendous balance - just unbelievable change of direction. The way he can stop and restart and make you miss in the open field is as good as there is. He's outstanding and you never want to say a particular player is as good as you've ever seen, but I'd say he probably is."

Coming off a Career Day
Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki registered a career day at Michigan State, logging eight catches and 89 receiving yards for a career-high effort. One of quarterback Trace McSorley's top targets, Gesicki enters Saturday's matchup with at least one catch in the last 23 consecutive games.

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Rutgers defensive coordinator Jay Niemann made specific note of the matchup problem Gesicki creates with his size and length.

"He's got such a big catch radius," Niemann said. "You see them throwing footballs up in the air to the guy and he just goes and he out-jumps people. It's like going after a rebound almost. You have to mix coverages, you can't just sit in one thing. You have to try to mix your matchups as best as you can and some of that's going to be dependent on the down and distance."

Saluting Servicemembers
Penn State will once again honor the commitment and sacrifices of veterans and their families hosing its Seats for Servicemembers program in its sixth year Saturday. The Nittany Lions offers no cost tickets to active and retired servicemembers on a first come first serve basis earlier this summer. Penn State will also host a free pregame tailgate at the Bryce Jordan Center as part of Penn State's Military Appreciation Week.

On Homecoming ...
Saturday also marks Penn State's annual homecoming game. Penn State owns a 70-22-5 all-time record on homecoming, having won five of its last six games in front of the homecoming crowd. Last year, the Nittany Lions defeated Maryland, 38-14, set to meet the Scarlet Knights for the third time on homecoming.

Penn State Going Back to Basics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The trip home from East Lansing, Michigan was mum, as Penn State filed quietly on to the plane, having traded soggy grass-stained jerseys for travel suits.

When Penn State head coach James Franklin entered the postgame media room, among dissecting a nearly seven-hour outing at Spartan Stadium, his message was clear.

Yes, a seven-hour outing, as severe weather forced a 3-hour and 22-minute delay. That wasn't what Franklin chose to focus his message on though.

His message was simple, return to the basics - the very core of what it was that got Penn State right up to 12:05 p.m. Saturday afternoon. 

Like a single drop sends a ripple through a calm pool of water, Franklin's message spread through the team as they trickled into the media room to meet with reporters.

"We have to get back to who we are, what got us to this point," running back Saquon Barkley said. "What got us to this point is playing together, playing as family. When we're 2-2 last year, we weren't even talked about, we're getting talked a lot now. We have to find a way to get back to, who we really are."

Barkley and even a few other Nittany Lions couldn't quite put their finger on it postgame though, with a good week of practice building confidence headed into the final game of a challenging middle part of the Big Ten slate.

"At the end of the day it's football, you have to give credit where credit is due, Michigan State is a great team and have the chance a great chance to finish out the season strong too," Barkley said. "We have to focus on Penn State football, both offensively and defensively and get it right, getting back to our standard and mentality."

As Franklin noted, that means turning the focus entirely toward a 1-0 week, tuning out anything and everything that might pop up along the way. 

"If you focus on being 1-0 and you achieve that each week, everything else will take care of itself," Franklin said.

Even quarterback Trace McSorley noted that honing in on the focus and getting into the submarine is not as easy as clicking off the remote or tapping uninstall on a few apps.

"It's something that I kind of think maturity on our team is going to kind of show," McSorley said. "We need to be mature enough to handle that. It's impossible to completely tune it all out and not to see any of it. You have to be mature enough to know that it doesn't really matter, all that matters is the product on the field."

For McSorley, even coming off his second-highest passing yardage total, wasn't enough for him to take his mind of the stinging feeling.

With 381 yards through the air and three touchdown passes, McSorley moved to the top of the record book with 51 career passing touchdowns. He tied the record in the first quarter, finishing off Penn State's longest scoring drive of the season (92 yards) with a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton. 

Among his top receivers, Hamilton and DeAndre Thompkins both registered 100-yard receiving games with a touchdown catch each.

Since Penn State and Michigan State started playing for the Land Grant Trophy in 1993, there have only been two other games featuring a pair of 100-yard receivers (2008, 1994).

Thompkins and Hamilton combined for seven receptions for at least 10 yards, including Thompkins' career-long 70-yard scoring grab on the final play of the third quarter.

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While Penn State won the explosive plays battle 14-13, even as Franklin said postgame though, it still wasn't enough to make up for costly turnovers.

"We lost the turnover battle, we lost the field position battle, explosive plays were a wash, so that's the story of the game," Franklin said. "It's pretty much that simple."

With just a few hours remaining in Sunday's usual practice day to re-examine and make corrections, it's clear Franklin's message has been received.

"These past two weeks, I'd be lying if I said they do don't sting, they don't hurt," tight end Mike Gesicki said. "I think it's a reality check for us. It's a wakeup call for us. If we're the team that we say we want to be and if we're the team that we say we are, then we're going to bounce back from it."

Michigan State Postgame: Players

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Seventh-ranked Penn State football fell short in a 27-24 loss on the road at No. 24 Michigan State. The Nittany Lions entered the fourth quarter with a three-point lead, but a pair of fourth quarter field goals lifted the Spartans ahead for the win. Check in with several of the Nittany Lions following the game. 

Offense: McSorley, Barkley, Gesicki

Defense: Chavis, Haley

Michigan State Postgame: James Franklin

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Seventh-ranked Penn State football fell short in a 27-24 loss on the road at No. 24 Michigan State. The Nittany Lions entered the fourth quarter with a three-point lead, but a pair of fourth quarter field goals lifted the Spartans ahead for the win. Check in with head coach James Franklin following the game. 
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Seventh-ranked Penn State football (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) returns to the road this week, traveling to No. 25 Michigan State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) for a noon matchup at Spartan Stadium Saturday in East Lansing, Michigan.

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. 7 Penn State at No. 24 Michigan State
 

2017 Gameday - No. 7 Lions Visit No. 24 Spartans

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RELATED LINKS: Gameday Central I Live Blog I Game Notes I Depth Chart I Tuesday Presser Roundup I Wednesday Practice Report I J. Gattis Q&A I Monday Notebook I Nittany Lions in the NFL - Week 8

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Seventh-ranked Penn State football (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) returns to the road this week, traveling to No. 25 Michigan State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) for a noon matchup at Spartan Stadium Saturday in East Lansing, Michigan. 

Both the Nittany Lions and the Spartans enter Saturday's matchup coming off their first conference losses of the season. Penn State has regrouped and moved on from last weekend though, focused and aware of the newest challenge in front of the Nittany Lions.

"Michigan State, obviously tremendous respect for Coach [Mark] Dantonio and their program," Penn State head coach James Franklin said. "You look at our history since joining the Big Ten, against Michigan State, they've had a lot of success."

Penn State evened the all-time series at 15-15-1 last year, recording a 45-12 win at home to capture the Big Ten East Division title and reclaim the Land Grant Trophy for the first time since 2010. Last year is in the past though and everyone from Franklin to the staff and Nittany Lions have noted they aren't expecting to matchup against the same Spartan team from 2016.

"Obviously going on the road again is going to be challenging," Franklin said. "They're a hard-nosed Big Ten football program. They play great on defense. They're built on defense, with a defensive head coach. They're a smash-mouth offense. On offense multiple personnel, multiple groupings, trades, shifts, motions, probably very similar to a Michigan, similar to a Stanford-style of offense."

Much like Michigan State, the Nittany Lions are also a much different team than last year, especially when it comes to confidence - even after experiencing some adversity.

"I think the best thing about this team is we're very aware of what we're capable of," linebacker Jason Cabinda said. "We're very aware of our potential and how good we can be. I think that's the reason we're not really losing any confidence." 

With a fresh mindset, the Nittany Lions have concentrated only on their preparations for Michigan State, debuting at No. 7 in the first release of the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings. 

"I think like most things in life, when tough times come, in human nature the initial reaction is to get defensive and to rationalize it and make excuses and we're not going to do that," Franklin said. "We're all going to take a hard look in the mirror, ask the tough questions, challenge ourselves and grow. That's life and that's what we're going to do."

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What to Watch For - Penn State

1. Franklin called Spartan quarterback Brian Lewerke perhaps Penn State's biggest challenge come Saturday, keying in on limiting his mobility as a top priority for the Nittany Lion front seven. Lewerke is coming off a record-setting performance in triple overtime loss at Northwestern. Last weekend, Lewerke set a Spartan single-game record for passing yards (445), total offense (475) and completions (39) against the Wildcats, marking the most for Big Ten quarterback in a single game this year.

"Their quarterback, I think he's in his first year starting for them, is having a really good year and I think that's the biggest difference for them between last year and this year's team, is how well he's playing," Cabinda said.

2. Penn State is plus-14 in the turnover margin, which ranks tied for second in FBS alongside USF. The Nittany Lions have forced 20 turnovers in the first eight games, which is the most turnovers forced in and eight game span since 1993. Key in creating those turnovers has been Penn State's veteran secondary, which is an area Franklin noted has been right where he and the staff would like it to be this year.

"I think we've played really well," Franklin said. "I think Amani [Oruwariye] is leading the conference interceptions, we've got a bunch of guys doing great when it comes to pass breakups. Marcus has always been really physical. I think [Troy] Apke's been more physical this year than probably anticipated, and doing a great job with his fits."

Oruwariye ranks eighth in FBS, averaging a Big Ten-best 0.5 interceptions per game, while Apke is coming off a career high performance at Ohio State with eight tackles, a tackle for loss and one pass breakup.

3. Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki noted earlier this week that his observation of the Michigan State defense this year hasn't only yielded familiarity in terms of the usual tough, physical traits that Franklin mentioned. 

"They are playing a little more man coverage than they have in the past three years that we've played them, which is exciting," Gesicki said. "Being a receiver in football, it's something you look forward to. I think their defense is extremely talented, extremely physical, but it's a challenge we're excited for."

What To Watch For - Michigan State
1. As an entire unit, Michigan State's defense ranks first in the Big Ten and fourth in FBS in rushing defense (89.8 yards per game). Having limited four conference opponents to less than 100 yards rushing this year, the Spartans have allowed just three rushes of 20-plus yards, which is tied for the third fewest in FBS.

Franklin made specific note of the Spartan linebackers, including starting middle linebacker Joe Bachie. Bachie has started all seven games this year, leading the team in tackles with 71, averaging 8.9 per game, which ranks fourth in the conference.

"I think on defense it's their linebacking unit as a whole," Franklin said. "Those guys have been very productive, they've made a bunch of plays for them."

2. Wide receivers coach Josh Gattis noted the increased experience in the Michigan State secondary when sizing up the Spartans from 2016 to 2017. Having forced just two turnovers in the first three games of the season, Michigan State is now plus-four in turnovers in conference play, having forced 10 turnovers on defense. Safety David Dowell is atop the team standings, owning two of Michigan State's six total interceptions on the year.

3. With one of the youngest teams in the nation, the Spartans have played 13 true freshmen in 2017. Among the group is wide receiver Cody White, who is also coming off of a career performance against Northwestern. White's 165 receiver yards marked the most for a Spartan freshman in a single game in program history, as he recorded a career-high nine catches and two touchdowns to earn Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week honors.

The Final Word -
Franklin postgame last weekend and throughout the week that the Nittany Lions would need to improve in momentum changing situations, especially defensively. 

"A lot of people, when they get a sudden change, have the momentum, they're going to try to keep the momentum by taking a shot," Franklin said. "We talk about that, the importance of not allowing them to get the big play in that situation, keep the momentum." 

Regardless of momentum though, Penn State will meet Michigan State under a bit of different circumstances this year, as the Nittany Lion-Spartan matchup will be the first time since PSU joined the Big Ten that it's not the regular season finale. 

Josh Gattis Q&A: Michigan State Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State wide receivers coach Josh Gattis joined this week's assistant coaches conference call during Michigan State week.

Covering everything from the Spartan secondary to the future of the Nittany Lion wide receiver unit, catch up on a few highlights from today's teleconference.

Youth Status Update
When asked about a few of the younger wide receivers on the team, Gattis noted he has been tremendously pleased with that he has seen in Sunday scrimmages and even during the bye week developmental practices.

"It's exciting to see all those guys," Gattis said. "To see how hard those guys compete and how hard they take coaching and how their development has been."

"When you specifically talk about our receivers, it excites you when you think about KJ [Hamler], Mac [Hippenhammer] and also Cam Sullivan-Brown. I think all three have unique traits that they are going to bring to the table."

"KJ obviously his speed, I think he's a difference maker with his speed and his quickness. I think he's a guy that could possibly be our fastest wide receiver on the field. He's going to be an exciting player and so is Mac Hippenhammer as he continues to physically develop, he's got a great skillset. He's a very pure wide receiver. Reminds me a lot of DeAndre Thompkins in his ability to play inside and outside. I'm really excited about those guys as well as Cam Sullivan-Brown, who I think is going to have a very bright future for us, a kid who was very mature early on in camp and really had a great camp as far as training camp."

Turning a Weakness into a Strength
Gattis is also pleased with the progress that Thompkins has made since he arrived on campus, calling him probably the Nittany Lions' best pure wide receiver on the field at this point in the season.

"When DeAndre came in he was more of a pure, fast athlete," Gattis said. "He was a kid who could run in a timing standpoint, but I don't know if he played up to that speed on the field. Physically, he was more of a wildcat quarterback, played a little bit of the position in high school and he had to get caught up a little at the position. We've seen the guy develop.  I have a thing when DeAndre came in, his weakness was his physicality and I think DeAndre has taken his greatness weakness and turned it into his greatest strength."

Looking at Charles
Outside of the tremendous impact he's had on special teams this year, Gattis noted that in his role as a wide receiver, there's still a bright future for Irvin Charles.

"Irv's going to continue to play a lot of football for us," Gattis said. "Obviously, I think he's a difference maker right now from a special teams standpoint. When you think about the things his is blessed with, his speed, his strength and his size. There are only so many guys who are 6-4, 220-pounds-plus who can run like he can."

"Irv's going to have a great feature here. He's going to be ready for his opportunities when they come and he's going to be ready for them. Obviously, he is in his role now, but even more so in his role as a receiver. I wish we could play just three or four guys but unfortunately, we can't and when you're dealing with six guys you can't have them all have 30-plus catches and 700 yards, it just doesn't work out that way, there's only one football."

On the Michigan State Secondary
When asked to compare and contrast Michigan State's secondary from 2016 to where it's at in 2017, Gattis made note of last year's youth at the position. Looking beyond just the secondary though, Gattis made it clear that the Nittany Lions will have to prepare for the challenge the entire Michigan State defense presents.  

"When you look at last year's secondary, they were playing with a lot of true freshmen," Gattis said. "They had true freshmen at corners and playing with some young guys in the back end. They play with a very aggressive style defense, committed to stopping the run, trying to outnumber you in different ways."

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