Wide receiver Jahan Dotson was in the house at Lucas Oil Stadium.

By Harry Allison

It was Big 10 Media Day yesterday in Indy, and Penn State coach James Franklin had his eyes on Sept. 4 and Wisconsin.

“But I must admit,” Franklin said, “having Wisconsin’s logo up there I think has really raised the standard for our guys.”

Franklin admits that his Nits have a chip on their shoulder following a 4-5 season in 2020. He liked the idea of beginning the season against the perennial Big Ten West contender, saying such marquee early matchups are good for college football.

Franklin also outlined high expectations for a Penn State roster that returns 19 starters, nearly 80 percent of its offensive production and a third-year starting quarterback in Sean Clifford.

“We’ve had a lot of success at Penn State,” Franklin said, “and we’re excited to get back to that.”

“I’ve got a lot of history with [new offensive coordinator] Mike [Yurcich]. We go back a long way. He obviously grew up in Ohio but spent most of his career, especially early on, in the state of Pennsylvania. He coached and played in the same conference that I did [the PSAC] and has had a lot of success. We’ve been tracking and pursuing Mike for a couple years, and we had an opportunity to bring him back and couldn’t be more excited about having him with us.”

“I don’t think you’ll see things be a whole lot different than who Penn State has been really over our entire time at Penn State, especially the time we were in this facility [in 2016] and won the Big Ten championship. It will be a similar style. We want people to defend 53-and-a-third [the width of the field], we want to be able to get our players in space, we want to be able to run with power and authority, and I know Mike feels the same way.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons on offense. At the receiver position, we were young last year, and Jahan Dotson obviously will lead that group. I think we probably have one of the most talented running back rooms in the country, or are at least are part of that argument. Same thing at the tight end position. And we’re really excited about what we can do at the offensive line position, and then obviously having an experienced quarterback like Sean Clifford, who has now seen it all.

“Two years ago, Sean won 11 games, won the Cotton Bowl and had a lot of success. And obviously as an entire organization we had some challenges last year, and that was an opportunity for all of us to grow and evolve, and Sean has as well.”


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