football Edit

PSU's James Franklin discusses things, players standing out after 3 wins

Penn State is 3-0 and has looked impressive while beating Wisconsin, Ball State, and most recently Auburn to start the year.

There were many questions for the Nittany Lions to answer before the season began, from safety to left guard, the running back rotation, how Sean Clifford would play in Mike Yurcich's offense, and more. Most of those uncertainties have been answered in a positive way, which has played a big role in the perfect record to date, but what in particular is standing out to head coach James Franklin ahead of a Week 4 matchup with Villanova at Beaver Stadium?

Penn State coach James Franklin talked to reporters on Tuesday, just as he's seen doing here following a recent practice. BWI photo/Ryan Snyder
Penn State coach James Franklin talked to reporters on Tuesday, just as he's seen doing here following a recent practice. BWI photo/Ryan Snyder

"Our mental and physical toughness, our will to win, [and] our ability to play complementary football are probably the biggest things that jump out to me," Franklin said. "I think the crowd and the support that we have gotten has factored in both of our home games, I think it's great to have college football back the way we expect it to be back in Happy Valley I think all those things have been tremendous."

Another Beaver Stadium sellout is likely on deck, as Franklin said only 1,500 tickets remain for the Noon contest that will air on Big Ten Network.

As for the players standing out to the eighth-year leader of the Nittany Lions, he spotlighted mostly veterans on Tuesday afternoon, starting with the defense.

"Obviously, you know [safety Jaquan] Brisker is doing some really good things. I think [linebacker] Ellis Brooks is doing some really good things. Those two guys, I think, are playing at a really high level. The two other guys that probably jump out to me at this point is [defensive tackle] PJ [Mustipher and Arnold Ebiketie, so those are the guys that probably jumped out to me the most on the defensive side of the ball."

What about the offense?

"Obviously the way Sean played last week, I thought he should have been the Big Ten offensive player of the week, based on his numbers as well as the opponent and you know playing a ranked opponent, but I know I'm biased," Franklin said. "I think the way our o- line is protecting right now, obviously, our tight end group and what [receiver] Jahan Dotson has been able to do, those are probably the people that jump out

"And then, I think our special teams, when you talk about kickoff coverage, when you talk about punt coverage, those things jump out from a field position standpoint as well on special teams."

Penn State is roughly a 30-point favorite for its latest contest. It should also offer the opportunity to get the starters some more quality reps while also putting in the backups for some needed opportunities for growth later in the game.

"We got a lot of respect for this club," Franklin said. "We got to have a great practice today, we got to have a great week of preparation, and make sure that we are preparing consistently, week in and week out, up to our standards."


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