Quick hits: Penn State coaches speak

January, 24, 2014
Jan 24
12:40
PM ET
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- New Nittany Lions coach James Franklin officially introduced his coaching staff on Friday morning and addressed the media before his two coordinators took the dais.

Bios on each assistant coach can be found here and here. Below are some highlights from the news conference:
  • Penn State will have a recruiting coordinator for both sides of the ball. Josh Gattis (wide receivers coach) for offense, Terry Smith (cornerbacks coach) for defense. Said Franklin: "I think we'll have the most aggressive recruiting staff in America."
  • Franklin isn't certain who will call the plays on offense. He has an offensive coordinator, a pass-game coordinator and a run-game coordinator -- and Franklin himself is known as an offensive-minded coach. At Vanderbilt, he said offensive coordinator John Donovan called everything and believed that would be the case at Penn State.
  • Franklin smiled when a question regarding names on the back of the jerseys was asked and joked, "That hasn't come up from anybody." He said an official announcement would be made at a later time regarding names on jerseys -- something Bill O'Brien implemented -- but said that was not yet decided upon. Still, Franklin added, he's going to "show tremendous respect for our traditions and for our history and for our past."
  • The focus for the staff right now is recruiting. As far as looking at film of the current squad, Franklin said his assistant coaches have downloaded film to their laptops and iPads -- but likely won't really delve into that until signing day is finished. It's important for current players to start with a clean slate, he added, and, "There are no returning starters at any position."
  • The most important hire, Franklin said, was strength coach Dwight Galt, who mentored former Penn State strength coach Craig Fitzgerald. Said Franklin: "He's kind of the Yoda of the program. You walk by his office, there'll always be players in his office talking to him."
  • Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said his philosophy is to tailor the scheme to the players. As a result, Penn State will recruit on talent -- not necessarily for how they fit into a certain scheme. The identity of his past Vanderbilt defenses changed from year to year -- from a strong secondary in 2011 to stopping on third down in 2012 and stopping people on first and second and having lots of takeaways in 2013.
  • Shoop twice said he came to Penn State to build Big Ten championship-caliber defenses and national championship-caliber defenses.
  • Donovan said Penn State is now "a personnel-oriented, pro-style offense" and that players will learn a system that's used in the NFL.
  • Donovan's first impressions of Christian Hackenberg: "We've seen some film. He's obviously got a lot of talent. I'm really excited to work with him. ... I know it's hard for him because he was close with Coach O'Brien."

Josh Moyer | email

Penn State/Big Ten reporter

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