James Franklin, Sandy Barbour, and more Penn State things to watch for on Tuesday at Big Ten Media Days
CHICAGO — Penn State head coach James Franklin and a crew of Nittany Lions were here for the opening of the Big Ten’s annual media days session on Monday, but they weren’t before a camera.
Tuesday, they will be, as the final day features them, Michigan, and more before all conference schools head home to begin training camp.
Here’s what we’ll be watching for throughout the day, which starts when Franklin arrives at the podium at 9:45 a.m. ET. He and the program’s three players on hand, linebacker Jason Cabinda, safety Marcus Allen, and tight end Mike Gesicki, will all then talk in the afternoon, while athletic director Sandy Barbour will speak around lunch time.
1. New word on Franklin’s contract?
It is surely the first thing Barbour will be asked. She said before the Rose Bowl that things were moving along and that no agreement was reached, and then more or less said the same thing during the Coaches Caravan.
Some expected news to come out of the recent Board of Trustees meeting at Penn State Harrisburg, but nothing did. We’ll see what Barbour says, and wrestling coach Cael Sanderson’s contract talk should come up, too.
2. What’s on Franklin’s mind?
The 60-minute roundtable time in the afternoon will send a variety of questions Franklin’s way. It will also give him some time to chat about whatever he feels like talking about between questions.
It’ll be interesting to get his thoughts on how the new freshmen class has emerged through their fourth month on campus, and also learn where he thinks each unit improved the most during the offseason. There will be a few camp battles to get his opinion on before things kick off back in State College, and he’ll probably talk about kicker Joey Julius leaving the team, too.
3. Who are the most underrated guys on the roster?
It’s always fun to ask the players which teammates are not being talked about enough heading into the season, especially when the group on hand plays a few different positions, and matches up against a lot of bodies during summer workouts, and thus has a broad perspective of where things stand.
4. Who is lining up beside Allen?
Penn State has to find someone to play safety beside senior Allen, but who will it be? Nick Scott, Ayron Monroe, Troy Apke and more are in play, and there is no clear indication as to who the leader is. Franklin and Allen should be able to offer some pretty good insight.
5. How can PSU’s offense do it again in 2017?
That’s a question for Gesicki, and also Franklin, since the Lions brought neither quarterback Trace McSorley nor running back Saquon Barkley to the Windy City.
Other teams had a whole offseason to study coordinator Joe Moorhead’s offense, so how are the Lions planning to combat that?
We’ll find out today.