Penn State’s James Franklin names Week 1 players of the week, previews Pittsburgh game

On Tuesday, for Penn State head coach James Franklin’s weekly press conference, he called the upcoming week’s game against Pittsburgh the team’s ‘Super Bowl,’ which, isn’t out of the norm for Franklin.

However, to backtrack to the Nittany Lions’ 52-0 win over Akron in Week 1, Franklin announced his Players of the Week:

Offense: Entire offensive line – specifically pointed to senior Brendan Mahon

Defense: Redshirt sophomore DE Ryan Buchholz

Special Teams: Redshirt junior PR DeAndre Thompkins

In the team’s season opening 52-point victory, Heisman hopeful Saquon Barkley rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries behind the dominating offensive line. Defensively, Buchholz recorded four tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss, which included a sack.

Thompkins, being awarded as the special teams Player of the Week by Franklin, returned a punt for a touchdown in the opening quarter of the game when he took it 61 yards to the house.

Week 2 against Pittsburgh (3:30 p.m. ET, Sept. 9, on ABC)

Anybody in the state of Pennsylvania could tell you the magnitude of Penn State-Pittsburgh. But, with last year’s 42-39 loss to the Panthers fresh in the Nittany Lions’ memories, one would also know that Franklin wouldn’t take the in-state rival lightly.

The fourth-year head coach singled out wide receiver/kick returner Quadree Henderson in regard to game planning.

“Who’s the guy who can be a game-changer or game-wrecker, however you want to describe it? He’s that guy. We have to have a plan for him to try to limit the impact he’ll have in this game.”

On Pitt-Penn State dynamics: “Last year we went to their place and it was a tough environment. Obviously it’s an exciting game for the state. We were the underdogs [in 2016] in everything that I saw. Now this year, coming to our place, obvious I think the environment is going to be great. It should be exciting. I know our guys are looking forward to it.

“I understand the significance of this game and I understand the importance of this game, but I’m also a huge believer this is the most important game on our schedule because it’s this week. Last week, the Akron game was the most important game in the universe for us. This week, the Pitt game is the most important game in the universe. It’s the only thing that exists for us.

“This is the Super Bowl for us because it’s the game we play Saturday. Last week, our Super Bowl was Akron. I think when I say these things, people act like I’m trying to say the Pitt game is not a big game. It’s a huge game. It’s the most important game we have on our schedule. Last week, [Akron] was the most important game that we had on our schedule. That’s just how we’re going to approach it. As much as people tell me how we should approach it, that’s how we’ll always approach it. It’s a very, very important game for us, because it’s the one we play Saturday.”

On Pitt: “Coach [Pat] Narduzzi obviously does a very good job. I have a lot of respect for him and their program. Very challenging offense. Probably more similar to a Stanford, Michigan State style of offense. Multiple personnel groups, multiple formations, unbalance, shifts, motions, trades. That’s something we’re going to spend a lot of time working on this week.”

On last year: “They’re a talented team. You look at their roster last year, very talented and they were able to get a win against the national championship team [Clemson] as well. You look at how many guys they had get drafted or make an NFL team. You’ve got to give them all the credit in the world.”

On Pitt’s change in media strategy: “We’re not going to change our approach week in and week out. I’m not going to talk about one game differently than another, I’m not going to exclude the media. … That’s how we chose to run our organization. He’s got the ability to run his organization however he sees fit. Some programs, I’ve been a part of them, they have a one-voice policy all the time, where you never hear from anybody but the head coach. I think that’s how the [New England] Patriots do it. Everybody has the ability to run their organization and program the way they see best. With us, it’s not going to change week to week.”

The post Penn State’s James Franklin names Week 1 players of the week, previews Pittsburgh game appeared first on Land of 10.

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