Penn State football: Notes from Practice

UNIVERSITY PARK — Less than two weeks into Penn State's fall practice, and things haven't changed much this season, in terms of approach and philosophy.

For the Nittany Lions, that's a good thing.

BTN visited Happy Valley on Wednesday as part of its conference tour; between the on-set visit and media day earlier this month, head coach James Franklin has reiterated that his message hasn't changed much coming off an 11-win season and Big Ten title. 

But things are still moving forward, and with that in mind, here are a few items from this week’s practice.

Sustaining Success

Looking at the college football landscape and at the teams that routinely are ranked high, Franklin was asked what those squads do well and what Penn State needs to replicate if the Lions want to maintain their success.

Recruiting, obviously, plans a big part, Franklin said, but aside from that, he also mentioned behind-the-scenes factors that typically go unnoticed: player development, strength conditioning, and coaching stability.

“I make the argument: It’s every single day, being willing to fight and battle all the things that you have to fight to keep the program going,” Franklin said. “You lose a battle here, you lose a battle here, you lose a battle here, and five years from now, you look back and all those little things add up.

“I think those programs that are competing at the highest level, year in and year out, across the board, throughout the program, throughout the university, there’s consistency and everybody pulling the rope in the same direction.”

DeaSean Hamilton Impresses

Penn State’s No. 1 receiver spot is open with the departure of Chris Godwin to the NFL. Quarterback Trace McSorley has said it’ll be a group effort to replace that production, and DeaSean Hamilton is in a strong position to be McSorley’s go-to guy on the outside.

Here’s what Franklin said about the senior receiver:

“There are bigger guys, there are stronger guys, there are faster guys, but he is as polished and as productive of a wideout as I’ve been around in a camp setting. I think he’s going to have a huge year for us.”

Ricky Rahne: future offensive coordinator

Tight ends coach and passing game coordinator Ricky Rahne has spent the majority of his coaching career with Franklin, who described Rahne as “fiercely loyal.”

Franklin said he believes Rahne is a future offensive coordinator, and Rahne echoed that sentiment, saying that’s his goal. He doesn’t have any aspiration to be a head coach—Rahne would rather coach football than be a CEO, he said—and Rahne mentioned a few times after practice how happy he and his family are to coach at Penn State and live in the State College community.

“Where I went to school (Cornell), they told me, ‘You go to an Ivy League school, you should be able to do whatever you want in life,’ and I want to coach football,” Rahne said.  

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