Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Adam Butler rips Coach Franklin.

Adam Butler, no I had never heard of him before either, had some not so nice things to say about James Franklin today at SEC Media Days. Adam Butler is a defensive end at Vanderbilt, who seems like he's still rather salty. When asked about Coach Franklin's departure Butler said this, “I don't want to say I'm glad Coach Franklin is gone but then again I am. It was a little shady in a way. Repeatedly he told us he wasn't going anywhere. He really stressed it. He was in tears talking about he wasn't going to leave. Then he just up and leaves.”

Now Butler is far from the first player to ever be upset at a coach for leaving a team. However, Butler really seemed to take it to the extreme. He would even go on to indirectly call Coach Franklin a bad person. “The bad always weed themselves out and the good always comes,” Butler told Um, ouch. To me that just sounds like a player that is upset over losing his coach.

Coach Franklin at his introductory press conference in January.

Now, do not get wrong, I do not blame Butler one bit for being upset. Coach Franklin and his staff were most likely a huge reason, if not the biggest reason, that Butler chose to attend Vanderbilt University. I do think however that it is a bit low of Butler to seemingly be holding a grudge, and to express it this way. Penn State is a much better coaching job than Vanderbilt is, so this was essentially Coach Franklin accepting a promotion. Some thing that anyone in any line of work would do. Plus, as Coach Franklin has said multiple times, Penn State is his dream job. Are you supposed to blame a man for taking his dream job? No. That is the same reason why I never did, and never will, blame Bill O'Brien for going to the NFL. Because, after all, his dream all along was to coach in the NFL. To Bill O'Brien Penn State was a stepping stone to achieving his dream. For Coach Franklin however, Penn State is no stepping stone but rather his dream.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Miles Dieffenbach hopes to be back late in the season.

The annual Lift For Life was held today, and we finally got a more definitive update on Miles Dieffenbach. The senior offensive lineman was injured during team workouts in the spring. However, all Coach Franklin and his staff would say is that it was a "serious knee injury." We now know how serious it is.

It was revealed that Dieffenbach did indeed require ACL surgery. He has been rehabbing, and hopes to be able to play late this season. This is a huge blow for the Nittany Lions, and terrible news for Miles. Dieffenbach, along with Donovan Smith, was slated to be one of two returning starters on the offensive line this season. Dieffenbach is also widely recognized as one of the senior leaders in the Nittany Lions' locker room.

Prior to this the offensive line was shaping up to be Wendy Laurent at center, Smith at left tackle, Dieffenbach at left guard, Brendan Mahon at right guard, and most likely Andrew Nelson at right tackle. This is an offensive line that was already inexperienced. Laurent was a back up last season, while Mahon and Nelson were getting redshirted. Now the Nittany Lions will be forced into playing another inexperienced player on the offensive line. Left guard now looks to be between Derek Dowrey and Brian Gaia, both of whom played defensive line last season, and Angelo Mangiro.

If there is one silver lining to this, it is that all 5 of these players will be back next season. And 4 of the 5, Smith being the exception, have at least 3 years of eligibility remaining. So getting this players experience early in their careers sets the foundation for a very good offensive line moving forward. Especially when players like Steven Gonzalez and Sterling Jenkins join the fold next year.

Dieffenbach told reporters today that his knee feels good, and that he is on track. He said if he remains on track he should be able to return for the final 3 or 4 regular season games. Hopefully Miles' recovery keeps going well, and he is able to get back for the last few regular season games. It would be a huge boost for the Nittany Lions' offensive line.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

SEC coaches vs James Franklin

James Franklin is awesome, we all know this. However, the SEC feels otherwise. This summer Coach Franklin and his staff will be "working"camps in Georgia and Florida, and the SEC doesn't like this. According to NCAA rule coaches can work at a camp more than 50 miles from their campus as long as they are the NOT the primary hosts of the camp. Coach Franklin and his staff are simply exploiting a loophole.

Big Ten coaches do this quite often, Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa staff are also doing it this summer. However, the SEC does not allow coaches to do this. so they are ticked off. SEC coaches have been pressuring SEC Commissioner Mike Silve to do something about this. Basically, they do not like the idea of one of the best recruiters in college football being on their turf. According to Ben Jones and ESPN recently asked some SEC coaches about this, they aren't happy. “I want you to know that it’s not the right thing,” LSU coach Les Miles said. Shut up, Les. You probably break more rules while recruiting then a bear breaks twigs while walking through the woods.

It's hilarious to watch SEC coaches complain about people being 'dirty' recruiters and taking advantage of loopholes. Truly God only knows what kind of illegal recruiting goes on within the SEC. There is nothing wrong with what Coach Franklin and his staff is doing, it's actually very smart of them. Basically, SEC coaches feel threatened by Coach Franklin and are realizing that the Nittany Lions are a sleeping giant and that their alarm is about to go off. If you think SEC coaches are angry now, just wait until kids from Georgia, Florida, etc. start playing college ball for Penn State.

Only 93 days until Penn State vs UCF, WE ARE!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sterling Jenkins and Brandon Wimbush commit to Penn State.

When Coach Franklin was hired he said that he and his coaching staff were going to, "dominate the state." Well so far they have. Today offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins, the top prospect in the state of Pennsylvania, committed to Penn State. This gives Nittany Lions 5 of the top 10 players in the state of Pennsylvania for the 2015 recruiting with two more, John Reid and Jordan Whitehead, considered Penn State leans. Dominate the state Franklin has indeed.

As for Jenkins, this is a huge get for Penn State. Not only did they keep him away from Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State (suck it Urban!) who were hot in pursuit of Jenkins, but most importantly the kid is a stud. He is the #1 prospect in the state for a reason. At 6'8 305 pounds Jenkins is a mountain of a man. He is a very strong player, and also plays quick for his size. Two things that will be a huge advantage for him in the college game. One area he'll need to work with offensive line coach Herb Hand to improve is that he tends to play a little tall at times. This means he stands up too much and loses form. When a player does this it makes it much easier for opposing players, even much smaller players, to win the battle at the line of scrimmage. This should be an easy fix however.

Brandon Wimbush is one of the top dual-threat QBs in the nation for the 2015 recruiting class. Wimbush, much like Jenkins, had a choice of whose who in college football to pick from. This included his other top school the Ohio State Buckeyes (suck it again Urban!!). Winbush decided the Nittany Lions were the right team for him. Good choice, Brandon. The commitments of Jenkins and Wimbush help the Nittany Lions remain neck and neck with the Alabama Crimson Tide for the nation's top recruiting class. Also, landing both of these young men in one day will cause May 6th, 2014, to go down as one of the single best recruiting days in the history of Penn State Football.

Wimbush stands 6'2 and weighs in at 205 pounds. Wimbush has great arm strength, and puts some real touch on his passes. He also is a great athlete who is very mobile in the pocket, and can make defenders miss once on the run. Wimbush will need to improve on his accuracy, and become a quicker decision maker. These are issues that he and quarterback coach Ricky Rahne can work on and improve however. Welcome to Happy Valley young men!

Back to the recruiting trail it is now for Coach Franklin and the staff. There's a few more players in Pennsylvania to snag to finish off dominating the state. Anyway, only 116 days until the Nittany Lions head across the pond to battle UCF. WE ARE!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

This Coach Franklin Stuff

According to the Tennessean Coach Franklin had contact with the victim in the Vanderbilt rape case that led to him dismissing four players off the team when he was still in Nashville. The report states Franklin, and strength coach Dwight Galt, had contact with the victim. They reportedly told the victim that they care about her because she is important for recruiting. They also asked her to get a group of good looking girls together to meet with recruits, despite this being against NCAA recruiting rules.

Before people freak out, I am not worried about this. First off, I'm sure this information was known by Penn State when they hired Coach Franklin. It may just now be getting released to the public, but I'm sure it was known in the investigation. Secondly, it appears to be nothing more than her word against Coach Franklin and Coach Galt. Finally, as the article linked above delves into, this case is a mess. There is a ton of information and records that the police can no longer find. Plus, the contact Coach Franklin is accused of having with the victim, is in no way, shape, or form a cover up of any sort. Do not forget as well that her lawyer released this statement, and his job is to make it sound as bad as possible in an effort to help his client.

I am not worried about this, and don't expect a whole lot to come out of it. But right now people still really hate Penn State, so everyone will scream all kinds of nasty things and accuse Coach Franklin and his staff of wrong doing. Be prepared for the trolls to be out in full force on the internet, too. It'll be one classless joke after another. I'd brace myself for that, but probably not a whole lot more.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Some pre Blue White Game notes.

As we all know, the Blue White Game is this Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 1:30pm. Coach Franklin wants Beaver Stadium packed on Saturday, so be there! The popular player’s autograph session will be held Saturday morning as well. Before we get to kick off Saturday though, here are some notes from spring practice over the past week.

On Saturday offensive linemen will wear a different colored jersey, gray to be exact. This is because Coach Franklin plans to have a traditional spring game, not the offense vs defense game like we’ve seen the last two years under BOB. Penn State has depth issues on the offensive line as is, and this was before injuries to projected starters Miles Dieffenbach, Angelo Magiro, and Andrew Nelson. With Dieffenbach being out with a “significant knee injury,” left tackle Donovan Smith becomes the only returning offensive lineman with significant in game experience. Injuries have also shifted Brendan Mahon from right guard to right tackle.

Penn State currently has just 10 healthy offensive linemen. The lines at practice have seen Smith and early enrollee Chasz Wright at the tackle positions, Wendy Laurent at center, and Brian Gaia and Derek Dowrey, both of whom shifted from DL to OL this offseason, at the guards. The other line saw Brendan Mahon and walk-on Albert Hall at the tackles, Tom Devenney at center, and Andrew Terlingo and Evan Galimberti at the guard positions. Devenney, Terlingo, and Galimberti are all also walk-ons. Offensive line depth is a major concern right now, but there is still four months to go until the season begins. By then Andrew Nelson and Angelo Mangiro should be ready to go, hopefully Dieffenbach’s knee injury isn’t so serious that it’ll cause him to miss regular season games. That would be a massive blow to the Nittany Lions as Dieffenbach is arguably the team’s best offensive lineman. There are also incoming freshman Chance Sorrell, Noah Beh, and Brendan Brosnan who will be enrolling at Penn State this summer.

Coach Franklin and his staff have been singing the praise of senior linebacker Mike Hull. As long time readers know I am a huge fan of Hull, and he has taken over as the leader of the defense. He is one of the senior leaders on the team, along with Miles Dieffenbach, in general. Mike Hull is finally healthy after dealing with a knee injury for much of last season, and has been a great leader for the young linebackers. Speaking of young linebackers Gary Wooten has turned a lot of heads so far this spring. He has been making a lot of plays in practice and has a knack of being around the ball. He is a guy to watch Saturday, and I could see him being a breakout player on defense this fall.

Defensive players have also been very impressed with the new staff. Jordan Lucas has been singing the praise of new defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. The players have loved the amount of energy the new staff has brought in, and have praised them for making the transition to a new coaching staff go smoothly. Lucas has taken control of the secondary, and said he wants to lead both vocally and on the field this year. Adrian Amos has also looked very good this spring. Amos is back at safety, and he has been flying all over the field making plays. I expect a huge season from Amos this fall. Malik Golden has turned a lot of heads this spring in the secondary. Jordan Lucas has said he believes the biggest difference with Golden is that he has been much more physical this spring, and that is what he needed to go with all the natural ability that he has.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Offensive line injuries.

One area that Penn State is not very deep is the offensive line, and, unfortunately, injuries are already testing this. According to senior left guard Miles Dieffenbach will miss time after suffering a "significant" knee injury at practice this week. This is a huge blow for the Nittany Lions. Not only is Dieffenbach the most experienced offensive lineman, but also considered one of two senior leaders along with Mike Hull.

Andrew Nelson who is projected to start at right tackle is also battling injuries right now. Projected starting center Angelo Mangiro has also missed time. If there is one silver lining here, it is that this injuries are coming 5 months before the season starts. So all three of these young men should be ready for UCF come August 30th. However, you still would like to have them getting reps right now. Especially as the coaching staff is working to install the new offense under offensive coordinator John Donovan.

Yesterday at practice the offensive line from left to right was Donovan Smith, Derek Dowrey, Wendy Laurent, Brian Gaia, and Brendan Mahon. Mahon will have a shot at winning the starting job at right guard this year, and I would like to see him getting reps there right now but injuries have forced the offensive line to shift around some.