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Penn State Football

Tuesday With James: Franklin on Receivers, Coordinators, More

Photo by Penn State Athletics: James Franklin

University Park— Penn State HC James Franklin addressed media for the first time this spring on the first day of spring practice for the 2024 season.

Here’s some of what he had to say.


Spring football is usually important for new players and coaches to a program, and Penn State will have no shortage of that with all three coordinators being new to the program.

Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki was hired away from Kansas. Tom Allen was brought in as defensive coordinator after being fired as Indiana’s head coach. New special teams coordinator Justin Lustig was brought in from Vanderbilt, where he held the same position.

“I think the most important thing is we have to get through the 15 practices, and the coaches and the players feel like we have a really good understanding of how we want to play and who we want to play in all three phases,” Franklin said.


The passing game struggled through most of last season, especially at receiver It probably didn’t help that QB Drew Allar was a full-time starter for the first time. KeAndre Lambert-Smith was the leader at the end of the season with just 673 receiving yards, and he was a glaring non-factor at the end of the year.

Franklin did pull off a solid addition out of the transfer portal with a veteran in Southern Columbia native Julian Fleming transferring in from Ohio State. Otherwise, there will be a lot of familiar faces in the receivers’ room.

“I don’t think we’ve ever really had a talent issue at wideout,” Franklin said. “I didn’t really feel like we needed to go out and do a whole lot in the transfer portal, but we needed to make sure we had enough competition at every single position to bring out the best. I think Julian’s helped with that.

“He’s brought an element of experience and maturity that has been really good. He’s approached things the right way since he stepped on campus.”


PSU letterman and fan favorite Saquon Barkley signed a 3-year, $37.75 million dollar contract with the Eagles earlier this week.

Make Franklin, who said he talked to Barkley earlier this week about the deal, one of the many fans on the eastern half of Pennsylvania that are excited that he’s returning to the state.

“For him to come back and be able to play within the state in Philadelphia, he said that was one of the first things that was kind of the sales pitch to him. Just a really cool opportunity,” Franklin said.

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