Penn State's James Franklin: 'So Far, So Good' on Team's Return

Mark Wogenrich

Penn State's return process has gone relatively smoothly so far, coach James Franklin said, as the football team hits Week 3 of its voluntary workouts.

Franklin recently joined ESPN Radio's Golic & Wingo to discuss how Penn State has approached resuming workouts under COVID-19 protocols. Franklin sounded realistic but hopeful that football could be played this season. He also delivered what has become a common warning across the country.

"We averaged 106,000 fans per game last year," Franklin said on the show. "Our fans want that, and I don't think that's going to happen, but if you do? Then the better that we're all behaving in terms of following all these protocols, the better chance we have to have something that looks similar to that."

Franklin said that 38 players, including six on scholarship, had not yet returned as of last weekend. This stage of workouts will remain voluntary until July 13, when the NCAA's required period begins. Franklin stressed that he considers this period to be voluntary, with players and their parents deciding whether to participate.

To summarize, Franklin said the process has been, "so far, so good."

"We took a little bit more of a patient approach than most [programs] because we wanted to be able to learn from other colleges, learn from other pro sports leagues, the things they did well and maybe some things they would have done differently," Franklin told Golic & Wingo. "And for the most part, things have been good."

Penn State's coaching staff has split its schedule upon returning, with offensive and defensive coaches meeting in person on alternate days. Franklin said coaches have assigned seats in the team meeting room. Aside from the coaches, trainers and medical staff, other football personnel still are working from home.

Franklin also noted that one football player hopes to return at some point even though he has an autoimmune disease.

"He and his family want to come back and be part of the program," Franklin said, "and we have taken a more conservative approach as a program than the young man and the family want to. We just feel like that's the right thing to do."

The full interview is worth a listen.

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