Penn State football is transitioning into the next phase of the offseason, getting everyone a step closer to Beaver Stadium in the fall while the coaching staff continues looking at 2019 and beyond.
“Our coaches will be hitting the road Tuesday and Wednesday,” James Franklin said after Penn State’s spring game last Saturday. “Some will be traveling on Monday, so it will be really important for our players to come in and grade the tape on their own and be very critical of themselves, focus on some of the things that we are going to need to be able to do between now and camp to improve as a team.”
Ja’Juan Seider was in Northern Virginia on Monday night and the rest of Penn State’s assistant coaches will continue recruiting their territories this week. The spring evaluation period runs until May 31, giving the staff a chance to visit with targets, commits and underclassmen.
— JaJuan Seider (@coachseider) April 23, 2018
The players will wrap up classes this week and start finals Monday. Once finals conclude, the players will get as much of a break as they get all year. However, that downtime will be brief as Penn State’s Maymester classes start May 7 and the first six-week summer session begins May 14.
When the coaching staff is recruiting or working camps this summer, the team’s leaders are expected to make sure positional drills and extra workouts are getting done. The reports that Franklin and his staff get from strength coach Dwight Galt also help the staff better understand who is progressing — something that’s of value when it comes to position battles and formulating the 3-deep roster.
Take Penn State’s linebacker corps as an example.
“They have to be students of the game throughout the summer,” defensive coordinator Brent Pry said. “The rules have changed a little bit. There’s more flexibility for us, we’re able to spend a little bit more time. But the old guys — Jake Cooper, Jason Vranic, Koa [Farmer], the guys that really know the package inside and out — those guys will coach those [other] guys up through the summer.
“When we’re out of town recruiting or we’re out of town at satellite camps those guys watch a lot of film together.”
Penn State has plenty of cut-ups to make sure the young and inexperienced linebackers know what they’re looking at and what they’re looking for.
“They got a chance to watch [Brandon] Bell and Nyeem [Wartman-White] and [Jason] Cabinda and Mike Hull. We have all that film put together for those guys on what we call teach tapes,” Pry said. “They can come in and sit down and watch a certain segment or isolate a certain call and isolate the technique and watch it done the right way, watch it done at the highest level from some really good examples. That’s what we’ll look for this summer.”
By late June the entire freshman class will be on campus. By the end of their first week in Happy Valley the football team will be back in the spotlight for its annual Lift for Life event, held June 30 in Holuba Hall.
Figuring out where the freshmen fit best is one part of the transition, but regular staff meetings about the progress at certain positions — and whether any players are candidates for position changes — is all part of the ongoing dialogue in the Lasch Football Building.
“We’ll do a nice job this offseason of evaluating guys’ weaknesses and can they improve on them, or do they need to change positions to minimize those liabilities or can they overcome them?” Pry said. “Is there someone else who has fewer weaknesses that needs to be in front of them?
“Personnel discussions are important and we have an awful lot of them and we’ll continue with that.”