Penn State's James Franklin Says He Will 'Keep the Door Open' for Micah Parsons

Penn State's James Franklin and Sandy Barbour addressed questions regarding schedules, opt-outs and practice.
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Penn State coach James Franklin and athletic director Sandy Barbour conducted a media Zoom call Thursday, during which they discussed some of the logistics surrounding the return of Big Ten football.

Here are some of the highlights.

When will the schedule be released?

Barbour said the Big Ten expects to announce its nine-game schedule by week's end. The eight-game, regular-season component will be played on campuses, with the Big Ten championship game returning to Indianapolis on Dec. 19.

The crossover matchups that will accompany the title game likely will be played at neutral-site domes, Barbour said. The Big Ten is leaving some flexibility for playing December games in domes based on potential weather issues, Barbour said.

Barbour added that teams will be able to review the schedules before they're released but won't have veto power to change dates or opponents.

Who's in, who's out? And what about Micah Parsons?

Franklin did not mention any players opting out beyond linebacker Micah Parsons, though he said the process remains fluid.

"In a perfect world, you'd like to say who's in, is in, but I just don't know if it's going to be that clean," Franklin said. "We're just going to have to be flexible and make the best of it that we possibly can."

Asked whether Parsons could return, Franklin coyly said, "Yeah, you always keep the door open." It would be difficult, however, since Parsons reportedly has signed with an agent and has begun an outside training program.

Still, Franklin didn't entirely rule out the possibility.

"I think there's obviously a big difference between somebody that opted out a week ago and somebody that opted out multiple weeks ago," Franklin said. "It just makes it more complicated. So it was pretty fun hitting up Micah right after it happened and watching all the fans go crazy, so we'll see how it all plays out. But obviously it makes it more complicated the longer they've been gone."

What is the practice schedule?

Penn State has resumed its 20-hour workout week, meaning it can practice this weekend, and expects to begin practice in full pads Sept. 30.

Penn State has not had any contact work since the Cotton Bowl, though, so Franklin knows the team will need time to respond.

"When was the last time a Big Ten football player tackled anyone?" Franklin asked. "Most of us, we had no spring practices, so there's also an aspect of that that we have to get ramped back up and get some tackling in. You can't go from last season to your first game and never tackle."

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