We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Friday, Oct. 7. Let’s get started.
Another vote of confidence
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour doubled down on the vote of confidence she gave head coach James Franklin last week, telling ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg the following:
“There’s no doubt in my mind that James is going to be our football coach long term.”
As was the case last week in Altoona, Barbour pleaded patience, as Franklin’s program has not completely crawled out from under the NCAA sanctions handed down in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. At the same time Barbour said:
“I get there’s a frustration with where we are. I’d be worried if there wasn’t. I want Penn State football to stand for excellence. Always has and always will. To some degree, I want our fans to be impatient, but I also want them to understand factual challenges.”
Franklin is 3-2 this season, and 17-14 in two-plus years on the job. He has replenished the roster through tireless recruiting but has yet to reap the desired on-field results. It doesn’t help, in the eyes of many of the faithful, that he has gone 0-5 against Ohio State and Michigan.
For Reid, knowledge is power
Two staples of every story written about sophomore cornerback John Reid are that he a) studied game video during a barbecue for recruits and b) that he once built his own computer, the point being that he is a serious guy, forever diligent about his pursuits.
It should come as no surprise, then, that he adopted the same approach to returning punts, a specialty he has undertaken this year. As he said in this feature story by Pennlive.com’s John Pertolias:
“When they said I have a chance to return punts, I took it real serious, like I do everything. It’s helped me to get more comfortable back there and something I can do every day. (The equipment guys) always have my back. They’re my favorite people in the building. Shoutout to those guys. They stay out here on the practice field) for me for sometimes long periods of time when guys are trying to get out. I appreciate that a lot.”
Reid is averaging 7.8 yards on 15 returns, and had a 59-yarder against Pitt.
Spencer on Sickels: ‘He plays like a man on fire’
Defensive end Garrett Sickels was the only starter returning along the line this fall, after Carl Nassib, Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson landed in the NFL. Although he hasn’t quite made the impression he might have hoped – he has just 1.5 sacks – he has made an impression on his position coach, Sean Spencer — sometimes literally.
“Garrett has become a leader, he plays like a man on fire. First of all, tell him to stop punching me in the shoulder before the game. He punches me in the shoulder before the game. The guy plays with a great deal of fire, he leads the team by example and he’s becoming a vocal leader. That’s not easy! Sometimes you have to say things that people don’t like. He’s willing to do that and I think that’s taken his game to the next level.”
Spencer, who spoke with reporters during a conference call, was also asked about the decimated linebacker corps. Seven linebackers have been lost to injury, two for the season. That includes all three opening-week starters.
“But the thing I’ve been preaching is that nobody really cares about our injury situation. Having said that, the expectation is for us to go out there as if the team is completely intact. That can’t be our Achilles heel.”
Increased roles for Walker, Sanders
Franklin said during the coaches radio show Thursday night that backup linebacker Von Walker, who to date has had some “bumps and bruises,” will be in the linebacker rotation against Maryland on Saturday, as a backup in the middle.
Franklin was also asked about freshman running back Miles Sanders, who did not play against Minnesota. While the coach did not say why, he did express the opinion that Sanders is poised to become “a breakout … kickoff returner.”
Posluszny lends a helping hand
As Hurricane Matthew approached Florida, Jacksonville Jaguars Paul Posluszny reached out to his neighbor, a woman named Karen Adams.
— Chris Reier (@seeryer) October 6, 2016