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James Franklin provides fall camp QB updates at Penn State football media day

Head coach of the Penn State football team James Franklin had an important update on fall camp today.



James Franklin, Penn State football
Sep 18, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin fist-bumps members of the Penn State student section prior to the game against the Auburn Tigers at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Today, James Franklin spoke to the Penn State media at the Penn State football media day event. With Basic Blues Nation writers on-site, we were able to gather his thoughts firsthand. Coach Franklin and the Penn State community have high expectations heading into the 2023 season and finally fall camp has started for the Nittany Lions. Now, the real work begins to find out which players will play an important role this fall and who is starting to separate in these position battles.

James Franklin provides fall camp QB update to Penn State media

As James Franklin took the podium this afternoon he provided an update on how fall camp has gone, his thoughts on the Big Ten Conference bringing Oregon and Washington into the picture, and more. Later in his Penn State football press conference, Franklin provided an update on the quarterback room.

Franklin stated that “Drew and Beau obviously in year two they look like guys that are in year two in the same system mentally, they look like guys in year two physically. They’ve both gotten stronger, they’ve both gotten leaner, they’ve both gotten faster, they’ve gotten more confident with their reads, their accuracy, their decision making those types of things. So they’ve been impressive, they really have.”

James Franklin did not outright name a starter at this time, but the update from Drew and Beau is positive. To know that the growth is evident with both players from year one to year two in Mike Yurcich’s system says a lot about how much they retained last season and during the Spring.

Freshman QB Jaxon Smolik is standing out

Coach Franklin went on to speak about who has been the surprise of fall camp so far. He said “I’d say Smolik has been the surprise of camp so far, specifically in the quarterback room. He’s one of those guys that although he is still learning the nuances of the position and the nuances of the offense in terms of in the meeting room. When asked questions, he’s not where Drew and Beau are in terms of being able to answer questions in the meeting room, but he’s just got a natural feel for the position. Some guys it’s almost like a point guard you just got a feel for depth and spacing on the field and how to find open receivers. He throws a really nice ball.”

During the Blue-White game, Smolik had an up-and-down performance. But based on what Coach Franklin said today, it sounds like Jaxon Smolik has had a growth spurt like Drew Allar had between Spring Ball and Fall Camp. Depth is always a concern at the quarterback position, but to know that the Nittany Lions have two very talented players that can see the field now and also a freshman who has taken the right steps for his future within the program.

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Former Editor-In-Chief at Victory Bell Rings, Morgan is the current Site Manager for Basic Blues Nation, host of the Basic Blues Podcast, and co-host of the weekly Penn State Roar Room spaces. Morgan lives in upstate New York with his wife and cats.


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