Recently in Football Category

2016 Tuesday Press Conference Roundup - Indiana

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


Transcript: Franklin Transcript: Players VIDEO: McSorley & Allen Q&A 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football heads out on the road this week, traveling to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers Saturday.

The Nittany Lions (7-2, 5-1) and the Hoosiers (5-4, 3-3) are set to meet for the 20th time in program history, in a noon kick set to broadcast live on ABC or ESPN2. 

As he does every week, Franklin met with members of the media Tuesday afternoon to take one final look at the Iowa victory before diving in to Indiana.

Among a wealth of positive takeaways from the 41-14 win against the Hawkeyes last week, Franklin noted that turnovers have really been a critical key to success this season, not only related to taking care of the ball, but also excellent decision making in the passing game. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley also echoed the importance of maintaining the advantage in the turnover margin this week, noting that a large part of the improvement has simply come from the ability to avoid putting the ball in jeopardy without forcing anything the passing game.

Franklin noted that increased depth among the wide receiver group has significantly attributed to McSorley's ability to target multiple receivers with ease, with the result showing in the form of McSorley's 14-3 touchdown to interception ratio on the year.

Another area where Franklin stressed that increased depth has led to positive production, is among the defensive line. Franklin stressed that he's particularly impressed with the maturity of the front seven, including the physicality of the defensive line.

This week the whole defensive line earned the coaching staff's defensive player of the week honor. Against Iowa, the unit combined for three sacks and four tackles for loss, limiting Iowa to 30 yards on the ground.

Looking toward Indiana, Franklin pointed out that the Nittany Lions would have to focus on defending the Hoosiers' strong passing attack, with an emphasis on eliminating deep long yardage plays.

"You look at how they have been built over the last couple years and they are kind of different this year compared to the two previous years, and I think a lot of that has to do with the running game, the running backs that they have had, and also the new quarterback and what they have at the wide receiver position," Franklin said. 

On The Quote Board -
- Franklin on the impact and role Paris Palmer has played on the team since he arrived at Penn State. 

"He's just a neat guy. He's what college athletics are all about, guys from all different backgrounds coming and learning from each other and learning from Penn State and this community. I'm really proud of him and I'm obviously glad that he's playing well, as well."

- Trace McSorley on where he's seen the most growth in his ability to make split-second decisions as a quarterback.

"Our preparation has stepped up each and every week. What we did the week before isn't going to be good enough this next week. That's something we've really taken ahold of as an offensive unit and continued to progress on a lot, and I think that's a big part of being able to anticipate things and being more confident and seeing things better because we are preparing that much better during the week."

- James Franklin on how the locker room is set up to encourage the entire team to get to know each other on a more personal level outside of the traditional position groups or class standing. 

"We break it up by position, wide receiver next to a DB next to a kicker next to a quarterback. The whole locker room is broken up like that, old guys, young guys and we change it every single year. People become very territorial of their little space in the locker room and we change it every year because we want to force guys to continue to get to know each other and grow."

- Marcus Allen on his thoughts about the College Football Playoff rankings.

"That's something special to us, but we're so focused on the next game that we don't really have our mind wrapped around it that much. This is more, I go on my phone and go look at film and look at Indiana and stuff. Like yesterday, that's all I was doing, looking at Indiana."

Monday Notebook: Godwin a Constant in Passing Game

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off of a 41-14 win against Iowa Saturday at Beaver Stadium, junior wide receiver Chris Godwin noted that the Nittany Lions have found a new level of confidence that's now translating on to the field.

An experienced veteran on the team, Godwin is a perfect example of the contagious confidence that's helping the Nittany Lions maintain offensive consistency.

Leading the team with 34 catches, Godwin's averaging 15.0 yards per catch with 509 yards and five touchdowns to date. Through the last five games, Godwin's totaled 278 yard on 15 catches, including three touchdown grabs.

"We've really grown a lot from the beginning of the season to now," Godwin said. "We're on a roll right now with our five-game winning streak but it doesn't stop here. We're hungry, we believe we left a good amount of points on the field today, so we're going to go back and fix those things. 

Whether it's a short yardage situation or he's targeted down field, Godwin can come through in the clutch. In long plays Godwin's leading the team with eight pass plays of 20 or more yards, including his most recent 45-yard catch from McSorley against the Hawkeyes.

Five of Godwin's eight long yardage plays have been for at least 30 yards, highlighted by a 52-yard reception against Temple earlier this year. 

Up in the Rankings
Penn State climbed to No. 12 in the Associated Press poll, while also rising nine spots to No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

When asked what it means to see the Nittany Lions on the move in the poll rankings, McSorley said this following the Iowa win. 

"It's an awesome feeling, it's a reward for all of the hard work that gets put in during the offseason and during the summer and when you see things start to culminate during the year, it's a great feeling to know that the successes and the hard work is begin recognized. At the same time, we understand that as fast as we are able to climb the rankings, it could be taken away just as fast so we have to come to work every single day and prepare like we're not ranked anywhere in the Top 25."

Penn State was slotted No. 12 in last week's first release of the College Football Playoff Rankings. The second release of the College Football Playoff Selections Committee rankings is set for tomorrow at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Weekly Awards Recap
The weekly awards keep stacking up for the Nittany Lions. This week, true freshman Connor McGovern was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, becoming the first Nittany Lion to offensive lineman in Penn State history to win a weekly honor. He is also just the third offensive lineman in Big Ten history to claim conference weekly honors.

Following a pair of Big Ten weekly honors last week, the Nittany Lions have now had at least one Big Ten weekly honor in the last five consecutive weeks, which is a first for Penn State since joining the conference in 1993. 

Saquon Barkley earned another weekly award, as he was named this week's Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Player of the Week. He's the third Nittany Lion to earn a weekly Rose Bowl Game honor and has picked up at least one weekly award in back-to-back weeks. 

A Quick Look at Indiana
Penn State will hit the road for the next two weeks, beginning with a trip to Indiana Saturday at noon on ABC or ESPN2.

Penn State holds an 18-1 advantage in the all-time series against Indiana, with the lone loss in the series coming on the road in 2013. The Nittany Lions have since won each of the last two outings, on the road in 2014 (13-7) and most recently, at home in 2015 (29-7). Penn State's last four wins in Bloomington have been by six points or less.

The Hoosiers are 5-4 on the year and an even 3-3 in Big Ten play, having won back-to-back conference outings. Indiana topped Maryland, 42-36, before defeating Rutgers, 33-27, on the road last week. Quarterback Richard Lagow went 28-for-40 with 394 yards against the Scarlet Knights, adding three touchdowns. 

Nittany Lion Offense Surging

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football put on a show Saturday night, utilizing a balanced attack to take down a physical Iowa team in front of more than 106,000 fans at Beaver Stadium.

Scoring 41 points, the Nittany Lions racked up 599 yards of total offense, the most since logging 661 yards against Rutgers in 1995 and the highest total in a Big Ten outing since a 653-yard performance against Michigan State in 1994. It is also the third-highest total in a Big Ten game in program history. 

The Nittany Lions have now won their last five games, in addition to moving to 6-0 at home in Beaver Stadium this year. During the five-game wining streak, Penn State is averaging 476.2 yards per game in the same span and has totaled at least 500 yards of total offensive yards on three occasions.

In last two games, Penn State has scored 103 points, marking the first time Penn State has combined for 100 points across two games since 2008. 

Postgame, the Nittany Lions were quick to give credit to the offensive line, as head coach James Franklin noted all week that the improving offensive line needed to continue their rise, especially against a disruptive Iowa defense. 

"We're really meshing," running back Saquon Barkley said. "As an offense as a whole, we're really meshing. It starts up front, and guys are doing a tremendous job of leading those guys and making the right calls to put us in position to be successful."

Along with the surging Penn State offense, here are a few more takeaways from Penn State's fifth straight victory.

Another Fast Start
Penn State made the most of its opening drive once again, as quarterback Trace McSorley found wide receiver Saeed Blacknall deep in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass to start the game. The Nittany Lions have now scored a touchdown on their opening drive in three of the last four games and in each of the last two outings. The last time that Penn State scored on its opening drive in back-to-back games was in 2012 at Virginia and vs. Navy.

"Scoring on the opening drive, that's something that we emphasized earlier in the year and we're starting to show improvement there," head coach James Franklin said.

Take a closer look at McSorley's first of two touchdown passes on the night.

Winning Battles in Explosive Plays & Turnover Margin
The Nittany Lions checked both boxes following a week where Franklin noted that the ability to execute long yardage plays and win the turnover battle would only continue to lead to more success.

The Nittany Lions logged six plays of 20 yards or more against the Hawkeyes, limiting Iowa to just three. Barkley scored twice on a pair of long yardage plays, rushing for his longest career touchdown in Beaver Stadium with a 57-yard haul in the second quarter. He added a career-long 44-yard touchdown grab in the the fourth quarter following a Troy Apke interception.

Barkley was outstanding for the Nittany Lions in the win, totaling 211 all purpose yards, including 167 on the ground to eclipse the 2,000 career rushing yard mark with his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season.

Apke's interception marked the first of his career, as he picked off Hawkeye quarterback C.J. Beathard before adding a 10-yard return.

Conversely, the Nittany Lions played their second consecutive turnover-free game. Penn State has committed just one offensive turnover in its last five games, while McSorley has played a perfect 20 consecutive quarters without an interception, in addition to an overtime period against Minnesota. 

Halting the Hawkeye Run Game
When asked what he likes most about the defensive line earlier this week, linebacker Jason Cabinda said it was their pursuit. The Nittany Lions were certainly relentless in their pursuit Saturday, combining for three of Penn State's four sacks against Iowa and four of the six team tackles for loss.

Cabinda ignited an early spark for the Penn State defense, stopping Beathard and the Hawkeyes on fourth-and-1 on Iowa's first possession of the game. 

The Penn State defense as an entire unit limited the Hawkeyes to just 30 yards on the ground. The Nittany Lions have limited their opponent to less than 50 yards in each of the last two games, something Penn State has never done in a pair of consecutive conference outings since joining the Big Ten in 1993. Iowa entered the matchup Saturday averaging 167.9 rushing yards per game.   

The Nittany Lions also held Iowa to 14 points, with the Hawkeyes entering the outing averaging 28.1 points per game on the year.

More from Cabinda below.

Improvements on Third Down
It's been a point of emphasis for the Nittany Lions all season, but Saturday Penn State finally saw some improvement in third down conversion, converting 7-of-14 attempts against Iowa.

Penn State also did not have a single three-and-out in the entire game, with McSorley able to bring up a new set of downs on five of the seven successful conversions, targeting wide receiver Chris Godwin twice for a pair of completions for at least 11 yards in a pair of third down situations.

 "We knew we needed to get into manageable third downs or cut to the chains in half," McSorley said. "I think we did a really good job with that - utilizing those with our RPO's and our play action pass game, everything really complimented each other tonight."

VIDEO: Postgame Players - Iowa

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's Mike Gesicki, Trace McSorley, Chris Godwin, Jason Cabinda and Saquon Barkley recap the 41-14 win over Iowa.

Check in with the Nittany Lions below. 

VIDEO: Postgame James Franklin - Iowa

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin took time to recap the 41-14 win over Iowa Saturday at Beaver Stadium. 

Hear what he had to say following the win below. 

Beaver Stadium Extra - Penn State vs. Iowa

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Go behind the scenes with Penn State Athletics on football gameday for exclusive interviews and a closer look at team arrival, Nittany Lion honorary captains, special recognitions and more. 

Military Appreciation Tailgate
Honoring the 7,500 active duty military, veterans, military families and fallen families during Penn State University's Military Appreciation Week, Penn State hosted a Military Appreciation Day Tailgate for all Seats for Servicemembers attendees.

Team Arrival

Head into Beaver Stadium with Penn State football. Greeted by a cheering crowd and members of Nittanyville, the Nittany Lions arrived just after 5 p.m. this evening.

Honorary Captain Imannuel Iyke
Penn State defensive tackle and US Marine veteran Imannuel Iyke led the team out of the tunnel with an American flag prior to kickoff against the Hawkeyes. Iyke also served as the team's honorary captain at the coin toss. More on Iyke's incredible story here.

USO Troupe Performance
An American tradition that goes back nearly 75 years, the USO Show Troupe has performance for 600,000 service members and their families worldwide. With more than 350 live performances annually, the USO Troupe has also performed for nationally televised audiences. Check out highlights from their halftime performance.

Penn State Women's Lacrosse 
Last year, Penn State women's lacrosse capped off an unbelievable season competing in the NCAA Tournament national semifinals. The Nittany Lions were honored for their outstanding achievement on the field. Check it out.

2016 Gameday Live - No. 20/23 Penn State vs. Iowa

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 20/23 Penn State Football has returned from the road, set to host Iowa in a 7:30 p.m. kick off Saturday at Beaver Stadium on Military Appreciation Day, live on BTN. The Nittany Lions (6-2, 4-1) and the Hawkeyes (5-3, 3-2) will meet for the first time since 2012 and for the first time in Beaver Stadium since Penn State claimed a 13-3 win in 2011.

Follow along with our live blog for updates and exclusive content. 

Live Blog No. 20/23 Penn State vs. Iowa

2016 Gameday - Penn State, Iowa Set for Prime Time

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Gameday Central | Gameday Live Blog | Game Notes Press Conference Roundup Wednesday Practice UpdateImannuel Iyke, Penn State's US Marine Coach Moorhead Q&A | Monday Notebook | Nittany Lions in the NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 20/23 Penn State Football has returned from the road, set to host Iowa in a 7:30 p.m. kick off Saturday at Beaver Stadium on Military Appreciation Day. 

The Nittany Lions (6-2, 4-1) and the Hawkeyes (5-3, 3-2) will meet for the first time since 2012 and for the first time in Beaver Stadium since Penn State claimed a 13-3 win in 2011. The matchup will broadcast live on BTN.

Penn State will also look to extend its four-game winning streak, as well as a 5-0 mark in home outings this year. The Nittany Lions have won 11 of its last 12 in Beaver Stadium. Iowa enters Saturday's matchup fresh off a bye week, putting its school-record streak of nine consecutive road wins on the line, which stands as the second-longest stretch nationally. 

"We need a home-field advantage," head coach James Franklin said. "This is a very good football team. They played in the conference championship game last year. They returned almost everybody from that team. They've been successful."

Last week, Penn State powered past Purdue on the road on the way to bowl eligibility, scoring the most points for the Nittany Lions in a Big Ten game since 2005.

Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley is coming off his fifth career 200-yard passing performance, having thrown a career-high three touchdown passes in the win at Purdue.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley continues to shine for the Nittany Lions, having tallied 277 all-purpose yards at Purdue, on the way to his second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor this year. Barkley was also tabbed as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, entering the week ranked first in the conference in rushing yards (888), rushing yards per game (111.0) and touchdowns (11). 

Led by head coach Kirk Ferentz, the Hawkeyes have claimed wins in each of the last four meetings when Penn State enters the game ranked (2010, 2009, 2008, 2002). In his 18th year at the helm of the program, Ferentz has guided Iowa to wins in each of its three road games this year (Rutgers, 14-7; Minnesota, 14-7; Purdue, 49-35), in addition to all five in 2015 and the final road game of the season in 2014.

Penn State owns a slim 13-12 advantage in the all-time series against the Hawkeyes, with wins in each of the last two consecutive meetings. Iowa however, owns a 9-7 mark in outings since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993, with Ferentz also holding an 8-4 career record against the Nittany Lions.


What To Watch For - Penn State

1. Both Franklin and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead stressed that keys to success this week and into the future are focused on Penn State's ability to execute explosive plays and win the turnover battle. The Nittany Lions did both against Purdue, registering a season-high 12 plays of 20-yards or more against the Boilermakers without a single turnover. On the year, the Nittany Lions have recorded 51 long yardage plays, rushing for 17 and totaling 34 through the air. 

3. Speaking of turnovers, Penn State has committed just two turnovers in the last four games and scored 28 points after forcing four Purdue turnovers on the road last week. Franklin once again credited the recent success in the turnover margin to an emphasis on ball security work in practice.

"We do it every single day in a drill and that's the entire focus," Franklin said. "A lot of people make it a priority all practice and we do that as well, but every single day we do a ball security drill."

The turnover battle will likely be an interesting matchup for the Nittany Lions, as Iowa enters the week at plus-seven in the turnover margin, having turned eight of 12 opponent miscues into touchdowns for the Hawkeyes.

2. Penn State's offensive line has also continued to make positive strides in recent games this season, especially following an unexpected readjustment on the offensive line. Moorhead was particularly pleased with the progress made by tackle Brendan Mahon, noting he has seen an increased emphasis on fundamentals and technique from junior in the absence of Andrew Nelson.

What To Watch For - Iowa

1. Iowa brings physicality in its front seven with all four defensive linemen having registered at least 22 tackles on the year, led by defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson's 32 tackles and team-high 6.5 tackles for loss. The Hawkeyes also have strength at the offensive line, as Franklin noted earlier this week that Ferentz is one of the most respective offensive line coaches in the country, who has built the program around a stout offensive line.

"That's kind of their model," Franklin said. "It's going to be our defensive line against their offensive line. I think it's going to be our offensive line against their front seven."

2. The Hawkeyes also have the ability to make explosive plays on special teams, with Iowa leading the Big Ten and ranked sixth nationally averaging 27.8 yards per kickoff return. A large part of the Hawkeye kickoff return includes dynamic defensive back Desmond King, who highlighted the season with a career-long 77-yard kick return against then-No. 10 Wisconsin earlier this year. 

3. King is not only a physical threat in the return game for the Hawkeyes, as the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner and 2016 semifinalist is the only Big Ten student-athlete in the last 20 years with 12 or more interceptions (12) and 1,500 or more combined kickoff or punt return yards (1,580) in their career.

The Final Word -
In its fifth season, the Nittany Lions will honor those who have proudly served on Military Appreciation Day. Through the annual Seats for Servicemembers program, Penn State will provide tickets at no cost to active duty, guard and reserve military veterans and fallen Gold Star families, made possible by the generous support of the Penn State community. Penn State freshman defensive tackle and US Marine Corps veteran Imannuel Iyke will lead the team out on to the field with an American flag Saturday.

"I pretty excited that we get to honor the people who do so much for our country so that we can have the freedom and liberty that we do," running back Andre Robinson said. "We're obviously so thankful for them and this is just a small token that we can recognize them with."

Coach Moorhead Q&A - Iowa Week

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead took time to talk with members of the media Thursday afternoon during Iowa week. The Nittany Lions and the Hawkeyes are set to meet Saturday at 7:30 p.m. under the lights at Beaver Stadium on Military Appreciation Day.

Check out updates from the Q&A session below.

I'm curious if you could evaluate the offense so far and how things have gone for you during your first season at Penn State.

Moorhead: Through our first eight games I'd say I'm pleased but not satisfied. I think we've certainly come close to meeting our expectations in some categories and fell short a little bit in others. Ultimately, we kind of identified the spots we need to be successful to give ourselves a chance to win - scoring offense, explosive plays, turnover margin, and I think we've been pretty good there and obviously some others that we need to improve on too. 

Can you take us through your process at halftime, how you go about getting guys in different position groups and making the changes you need to make?

Moorhead: When the half ends we go in as an entire coaching staff and Coach Franklin sits in with us. We go over each formation and diagnosis the information, see what coverages they're playing, the fronts, the pressures, and we match that up with what our game plan is, and kind of see what we have that was working, what we have that fits, what we have in the game plan that maybe we haven't called and would work better in the second half. Then we keep a menu of kind of our entire system in there and say, 'alright, we didn't have this during the week, we're seeing this look, this may work' and we break off and the coaches get with their players individually and then I kind of bring everybody up at the end and talk to them one last time before we head out.

You had mentioned that there are some areas that you could improve, could you put a percentage on kind of where you are in this process and is that kind of part of the process when you're installing a new offense at a place like this?

Moorhead: I think the areas that I mentioned earlier are the ones that I really addressed with the offense and the team. I didn't give them a goal on points per game, but did a little bit of research and saw that Penn State offenses who averaged at least 30 points a game, have had a pretty successful record. So we kind of talked about that as a general number that we wanted to approach, so certainly scoring offense, explosive plays and I think we've done a very good job with that. The run game and the pass game, being able to push the ball down the field particularly with teams crowding the box and attempting to stop Saquon [Barkley] and the skill we have on the edge. Then turnover margin obviously, we didn't do a great job with that at the beginning of the year, but I think we've got that under control and have done a good job protecting the football and playing a great complimentary game with the defense and special teams getting us field position and things like that.

Certainly on the other end, some of the ancillary categories that we're not so proficient at right now, obviously third down conversion percentage, which is not good at all and quarterback completion percentage and like I said, those are things that we need to improve on and certainly can help the bigger picture in terms of scoring offense, explosive plays and things like that. Those are ones we need to improve on to help the more major categories get better.  

You mentioned completion percentage, so I'll ask about Trace [McSorley]. Where is he, eight games into his first year in your new system in regards to decision making, ball security and then of course, accuracy?

Moorhead: I think the decision making has been pretty good. There are rarely times when times when we come in and look at the film and say he misdiagnosed the coverage or misread a read and threw it to the wrong person. So from that standpoint, he understands where he is going with the ball and why. From that, you talk about completion percentage. The goal or stand that I've kind of had over the years and what reached at Fordham was 65 percent as the number we're looking for. A lot things go into that, certainly its not an excuse, it's a reality, where we are, the number of balls that we throw down the field, the number of times we see tightly contested man coverage on third and medium-plus. The protection, running the routes and separating and him throwing accurate balls and a lot of that, I think part of avoiding the sacks is Trace making great decisions when nothing's there to throw the ball away. So I don't want to penalize him for that. Certainly 50-55 percent is not where we'd like him to be at, he'd like to be at 65 percent or higher, but I think he is trending in the right direction. I know not the past four games in terms of what the percentage is, but overall throughout the season, I think he's getting toward what we want him to be.

If I can follow up about ball security and why is he able to protect the ball so well the last four games?

Moorhead: I think a few things. I think Coach Franklin does an awesome job - we work on ball security here more than any place I've ever been, including my time as a head coach. Coach Franklin's emphasis on it, working on it on a daily basis - ball high and tight, all the things we do in our ball security circuit and then really emphasizing the quarterback's decision making as part of the ball security process. Not just fumbling the ball and putting it on the ground, but not turning it over through the air. I think Coach Franklin's emphasis on it, how much we drill it in practice and then really from that point, after the first few games where a greater enhancement on two hands on the ball in the pocket and stepping up when you're not throwing it off your first hitch and taking off and running when things aren't there and not just hanging out in the pocket and waiting for things to open up.   

Going back to being an offensive coordinator, what do you miss about that about having that as strictly the sole focus of what's on your plate and maybe now what are some of the things you look back and think, I kind of miss that about being a head coach?

Moorhead: I never really got to step away from the OC part because I did call all the plays at Fordham, so I think it's probably more in line with the second part of your question. Coming back to being an offensive coordinator and not having to worry about the head coaching responsibilities has really allowed me to narrow my focus and concentrate specifically on, with the other assistant coaches, designing a game plan that's going to put our kids in the positon to be successful. Creating a culture on the offensive side of the ball, discipline, work ethic, accountability, attention to detail, because I think those things are just as important as the x's and o's part. As it pertains to recruiting, concentrating on a specific area in a specific position with offensive guys. So not as much of a global approach like when you're a head coach you have to worry about everything, but a more specific, detailed approach. I think that's been a very interesting re-transition.

After the Purdue game when Saquon Barkley was jogging off the field there were a few fans chanting 'Barkley for Heisman,' do you think Saquon has the talent to be in that conversation, whether it's by the end of the season or next season?

Moorhead: Absolutely. You look at some of the things he does on the field, either running the ball or catching it. He does things that are special. Obviously the past few game his production has ramped up and hopefully he continues on that trend. Saquon is a unique talent, a special football player who has those kind of tools. His ceiling is extremely high. The best thing about that is his work ethic and his character match his playing ability so when you combine all of those things, tremendous athlete, great football player, great person, great work ethic, I think the sky's the limit for him. 

In your list four games, the offensive is averaging more than 100 yards and nine points better than in the first four games. Why the big jump in those numbers and what do you think has been the biggest factor?

Moorhead: I think it's the kids settling in and understanding what we're doing and why it pertains to doing it in a game. Toward game four we made a little bit more of a conscious decision, where Coach Franklin and I had this discussion of getting Trace more involved in the run game. There are sometimes when you go through spring ball and through fall camp and you've been in another place and things have worked there and you have an idea that it might fit and work in your system. There were some things we were doing in the run game in the first four games that we we were getting production out of but not necessarily what we had anticipated. There are things within our offensive system that we didn't quit doing, but we emphasized other things. Once we made Trace more of a threat in the run game I think that opened things up for Saquon and I don't think we really made many changes in the pass game and taking quick game of play action shots down the field.  The biggest transition to me was getting Trace more involved in the run game and I think that has helped open things up for everybody.

Your relationship with Coach Limegrover, both of you went to the same high school. How much of that familiarity with each other and trust has paid off with the line do you think?

Moorhead: It was actually the same grammar school too, we both went to St. Bart's in Penn Hills and grew up, really, five or 10 minutes from each other. Matt was not a lot older than me, but a few years older than me so we were never really on the same teams and we weren't in the same grade. My dad coached him, I knew he was a St. Bart's kid, a central kid and through my older brother and sister who had known the Limegrover family and that they're just tremendous people and had respected Matt. Before he got into coaching I knew him as a person and as a football player and obviously what he has done throughout his career with Coach [Jerry] Kill, at Northern, and Minnesota and Southern Illinois, I think we just have a good working relationship, a good personal relationship because we know a lot about each other and kind of grew up in the same mold, so to speak.

What kind of development have you seen from Jake Zembiec and Tommy Stevens?
Both of those guys are coming along nicely. Tommy has had an opportunity to get in a couple of games and he has definitely a very good athlete with a strong arm, great skill set and he gets all the reps with the two's and does a good job staying locked in mentally and prepared. As you can tell all of the guys on offense, you're one play away and it's the next man in philosophy so I have the utmost confidence in Tommy to go in the game and perform well. Jake works mostly down with the scout team. I get him mostly during the individual periods. I've had him up a little bit. One week he got a few reps with the non-scout team and both of those guys bring a lot to the table. I've worked a lot more with Tommy because he's up with the ones and the two's, but both of those guys have done a good job this season, especially with the mental part of it.

VIDEO: Practice Updates - Iowa

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin and wide receiver Chris Godwin met with members of the media following practice Wednesday at the Lasch Football facility to preview Iowa week. No. 20/23 Penn State is back in Beaver Stadium this week, set to host Iowa primetime matchup under the lights. 

Check out updates from the Q&A session below.

James Franklin

Chris Godwin


  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago