Penn State football: Live updates from James Franklin's weekly press conference

© Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Burns

12:31 p.m.: Hope everyone's Tuesday is off to a good start! I won't be back in State College until next week, but luckily there's a live stream of today's presser. Keep it locked here for updates.

12:32 p.m.: Players of the week from Pitt

Offense: Journey Brown and Will Fries

Defense: Micah Parsons and Shaka Toney

Special Teams: Jordan Stout and Jonathan Sutherland

12:35 p.m.: Franklin starts by showering this week's opponent with praise, as usual.

12:37 p.m.: Franklin, asked to evaluate the run game through three games: "We've been pretty good on first and second down offensively in general. We've been great in the red zone. We have to be better on third down."

12:42 p.m.: Franklin says he's proud of how PSU is playing sound, mature football. "No one unit is dominating statistically, but we're playing really good team football."

12:43 p.m.: JF on Rasheed Walker: "He's growing up and growing up fast. The fact that we haven't talked about him a lot is a good thing."

12:44 p.m.: JF says that PSU has to get KJ Hamler even more touches.

12:47 p.m.: A non-football note, Franklin calls The Arboretum and the patio outside his office the "two most underutilized spots on campus." Went on like a minute-long monologue about nature and a wedding that he attended. Riveting stuff.

12:50 p.m.: JF says that the staff emphasized opponents' success on third down during the bye week. "Screens have been something that have hurt us over the past two years [on third down]."

12:53 p.m.: JF says that many freshmen will hold onto their redshirt and won't play against Maryland. Didn't list any specific players.

12:57 p.m.: On the importance of the first three games in regards to building depth: "I think it's been good and I think it's been important but we have to keep building it."

Adisa Isaac and Brandon Smith have shown some flashes and deserve more reps. "Some of the young corners have shown some good things," as well, and JF says it's been nice to get Jaquan Brisker and Lamont Wade on the field at the same time.

1:06 p.m.: On the difference between established players and those who are still fighting for a role: A lot of times, young players think they should be playing more because of "splash plays," but the staff values consistency throughout the week and then on Saturday. 

1:09 p.m.: On the challenges of playing on Friday rather than Saturday: There's nothing to do during the day and no games to watch. Managing down time is a challenge.

1:10 p.m.: JF doubles down on the plan to play all four running backs until one separates from the rest of the pack.

1:15 p.m.: On the importance of Jan Johnson's leadership to a young linebacker group: "He's been a culture-driver for us. Our players get a little sick of coach Pry and I talking about Jan Johnson, but it's a great story for college football and it's a great story for Penn State."

1:17 p.m.: On the running back situation: "We've got four guys that we feel good about. You'd love for all four to step up and dominate, or you'd love for one or two to separate themselves from the pack, but either way we feel that we've got four guys that we can win with."

That's all from Franklin. Tariq Castro-Fields is up next.

1:23 p.m.: TCF on what he remembers about committing to Penn State over Maryland on National Signing Day in 2017: "I know it was a stressful day. I didn't make the decision until about 2:30. I really just decided when I picked up that hat."

1:28 p.m.: TCF on what makes KJ Hamler special: "His quickness put together with his speed is dangerous. If you don't get hands on him, he'll just run by you."

1:35 p.m.: TCF on CJ Holmes, who cracked the depth chart at safety for the first time this week: "He's a great athlete. He's done everything that the coaches have asked of him on the field."

1:37 p.m.: TCF on Joey Porter Jr.: "He's developed a whole lot. He has 40-inch arms so it's kind of hard to get around him. I'm trying to teach him how to practice, but that's one of my favorite freshmen. He's blossoming...It just looks so easy for him, honestly."

That's all from Castro-Fields. Cam Brown is up next.

1:45 p.m.: Brown on Brandon Smith: "I've seen his development start from the winter when he enrolled. He's playing more confident now, he's flashing...He's becoming somebody that you can almost depend on. He still has a lot of room to grow. He's going to be a great player."

1:50 p.m.: Brown on the biggest challenge that Maryland's offense presents: "They have a very strong run game. I wouldn't say it's a challenge because we've been playing really well on defense and stopping the run with Pitt last week, but honestly, the biggest challenge is going to be recognizing all the formations because they run a lot of different formations and packages."

1:53 p.m.: Brown on Lance Dixon: "Lance is a fast guy. He's a converted defensive back. He's been growing and learning. Coach Pry's trying to find the spot that he's most comfortable with him at, whether that's at SAM or WILL"

1:54 p.m.: Brown on Jordan Stout: "We call him 'Sturdy Stout.' He's very consistent and knows exactly what he needs to do. We love and appreciate what he's doing."

That's all from Brown. Thanks for following along!

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