Penn State University Football’s Tuesday press conference takeaways
UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State continues preparations for Saturday’s matchup with Kent State at Beaver Stadium and the Lions are five-touchdown favorites. James Franklin met with the press Tuesday and fielded questions on a variety of topics. The Lions (2-0) are breaking in new players on offense, defense and special teams. There have been some growing pains but the Lions’ strong second-half showing against Pittsburgh is an indication that Penn State is one of the deepest teams in the Big Ten.
Franklin was asked about Micah Parsons, Ricky Slade, his veteran wide receivers, Blake Gillikin and veteran cornerback Amani Oruwariye. The Kent State game is Penn State’s final non-conference contest before the start to Big Ten play. And that Ohio State date at Beaver Stadium is growing closer. Here are some of the most interesting comments from Penn State’s head coach
James Franklin on the play of PSU’s veteran wide receivers
Penn State’s offense made a number of big plays against Pittsburgh but there are still a few problems. One of them involves the production of veteran wideouts Juwan Johnson and DeAndre Thompkins. Expectations for both players were huge but both players are off to slow starts. Thompkins returned a punt for a touchdown against the Panthers but he does not have a catch through two games. Johnson has the size and speed to dominate but he has been inconsistent.
Penn State veteran cornerback Amani Oruwariye has produced a couple of big plays in the Lions’ first two games. Oruwariye, a second-team All-Big Ten pick, has recorded an interception in both of PSU’s wins and he almost had a second interception against Pittsburgh. The lanky defensive back is making a strong case for an NFL career. And James Franklin compared him to a current Los Angeles Chargers defensive back.
James Franklin on Micah Parsons’ development
Penn State true freshman linebacker Micah Parsons continues to earn significant playing time and he was productive during the Lions’ win over Pittsburgh. Parsons, a Harrisburg High graduate, recorded seven tackles against the Panthers and he is also making an impact on special teams. Parsons is sharing time at one of the outside linebacker spots with Koa Farmer.
“Yeah, so Micah just continues to get more confident and get more comfortable,” James Franklin said. “As you guys know, he hasn’t really played the linebacker position, so it’s still all new to him. But he does have a knack for finding the ball. He’s got really good instincts from that perspective.
“There’s a lot of things from a fundamental standpoint that he’s got to get better at, even just stance and start. He stands way too up right in there and knees more knee bend, so he can be more efficient with his movements and things like that. But I just see him more confident.”