See Former Penn State players lead current players through the Homecoming gauntlet before the game against Michigan State, October 13, 2018.
Cameron Clark, York Daily Record
No surprise that Penn State rookie linebacker Micah Parsons wants to do it all.
Of course, he was the big personality and bigger-play star who always seemed to do things amid the brightest spotlight.
From his controversial high school transfer to his national recruiting saga to his college announcement gala, which included the high school band and a professionally crafted video.
For the past few months, though, the true freshman has flown a bit under the radar despite his gradual growing playing time. He’s been more steady than spectacular as he learns to play linebacker for the first time.
Then coach James Franklin lit a match during his weekly news conference on Tuesday when he talked long about Parsons — who happens to be the team’s leading tackler heading into Saturday’s Big Ten showdown in Michigan.
Parsons lined up a bit at defensive end against Iowa last week to rush the passer — one of his known specialties. Parsons wants to do that more often, Franklin said.
“Micah wants all of those things right now,” Franklin said. “He wants to play linebacker, play running back, and wrestle for Cael (Sanderson), and he’s not kidding. He wants to do it all, and he wants to do it all yesterday.
“It’s just getting Micah to understand to focus on one thing at at time, and get really good at that thing, before we put the next thing on his plate.”
Parsons continues to split time at linebacker with senior Koa Farmer, though the rookie’s snap count grew again against Iowa. And though he hasn’t produced any breathtaking plays yet, he does appear ready to take over a starting spot soon, if not this coming week.
Franklin and Parson’s Penn State teammates describe the process as building blocks: the more Parsons plays, the more confidence he will gain, which will allow him to play faster and not think as much.
The faster he plays, the more impact he will have.
So far, he’s assisted on just one sack. He also bobbled and dropped an interception at Indiana.
“I think we can use him at linebacker, (to) blitz the quarterback and rush the quarterback … to take advantage of all his skills,” Franklin said. “As he continues to master that position, I think you’ll start to see more things on his plate.
“Right now, we’re pretty pleased with how he’s handled himself in the classroom, how he’s growing as a linebacker, and how he’s embracing all the aspects of our program. You’ll see it over time.”
Trace McSorley’s impact goes beyond winning … to teammates like Tommy Stevens
Franklin gushed about his senior quarterback again, touching on his numerous Penn State records, as well as his nearly unmatched number of victories.
He talked up McSorley’s practice and self-care habits that have allowed him to be so durable.
He also highlighted McSorley’s impact behind-the-scenes, like his relationship with Stevens, the do-everything junior backup.
When McSorley was injured last Saturday against Iowa, Stevens immediately led the Lions on touchdown and field goal drives to tie the game at halftime. Then he stepped aside without a negative vibe when McSorley returned to finish it.
“I think because of how Trace has been, and his relationship with Tommy … to sit here and say that didn’t factor into Tommy’s staying (at Penn State), I think it was a big part.
“(McSorley’s) been the model, he really has been,” Franklin said. “He’ll leave a legacy here, not just outside of our building with how he’s treated people and how he’s played and been a warrior, but also inside our building.”