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James Franklin talks Penn State NFL Draft decisions, potential coaching movement, Kentucky and more

STATE COLLEGE — James Franklin has completed his portion of Penn State’s bowl media day here on Friday morning.

The head coach kicked off a few hours of interviews with coordinators and players by discussing recruiting, the Citrus Bowl opposite No. 14 Kentucky, and more.

See the big takeaways from his roughly half hour session below.

How will Penn State handle Josh Allen?

Most of Franklin’s time at the podium focused on recruiting and his Nittany Lion players, but he was asked to address the nation’s top defensive player as voted by a number of foundations and media organizations, Josh Allen.

The future first-round NFL Draft pick is going to play for the Wildcats on Jan. 1, and the Lions will need to know where the linebacker/end is before every snap.

“The biggest thing is his length and athleticism, and how twitchy he is,” Franklin said. “The way he’s been able to impact the game in so many ways, that’s probably what’s been so impressive, how twitchy he is, how productive he is, his length; in terms of what they’re looking for at the next level, he kind of fits the model.

They’re trying, defensively, t put him In position to make plays, and we’re trying to do things to limit his impact. We better have an awareness of where he is on every single play.”

Any NFL Draft decisions made yet?

In a word, no.

Franklin said that he met with any junior who is thinking about declaring early for the NFL on the Sunday following the Maryland win. Parents were involved, as well, as were position coaches and support staffers so that there could be an honest, two-way conversation about what might be in each player’s best interest.

“Obviously it’s a fluid conversation that’s constantly evolving and changing,” Franklin said. “We had put together a whole presentation, because to me, it’s not about convincing them to stay, it’s, let me give you all the information that I can get based on my resources and contact so you can make an educated decision and a great decision.”

At this point, Penn State is not expecting any players to sit out the bowl game, but Franklin admitted that things could possibly change in that regard down the road.

“Nothing new right now at this point,” he said. “Right now, we’re planning on having everyone for the game.”

No coach movement, yet

One key for Penn State’s sprint to National Signing Day on Dec. 19 is no staff changes, which is different from last year, when Joe Moorhead, Charles Huff, and Josh Gattis all left the staff.

This year, there have not been any defections, but like the NFL decision process, that’s subject to change, too, as the offseason continues.

“I’d like to keep our staff in tact as long as possible,” Franklin said. “I think consistency is important, but I also understand that we’re at a point in our profession and in this game where that’s challenging. I

“t’s critical for us to do everything we possibly can to create an environment here where it’s competitive and where guys want to come to work and feel good about it. But, theres also going to be some opportunities to come that I want for our guys.”

Those opportunities, specifically, are either head coaching jobs or the chance to be a play-calling coordiantor.

“I want that for them,” Franklin said. “But, we can’t lose guys for lateral moves. That cannot happen with the type of program we have and the type of program we want to be.”

He said it

On the whirlwind between the end of the regular season and the last three weeks of rapid recruiting trips, Franklin said:

“It’s been a crazy couple weeks since the season ended. Coaches and staff running in a thousand different directions. Our guys getting some time off, which is always a fine line, guys with bumps and bruises at the end of the year just getting healthy … and then obviously trying to balance some of the practices we’re doing this time of year as well as the academics as well as the recruiting.

“Look forward to Wednesday with Signing Day to get a good portion of that put behind us, looking forward to this weekend getting some really good practice work.”

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