James Franklin isn't impressed with the level of intensity he's seen from the freshmen on scout team.
"I think the older guys — guys that have been there before, been in that situation — they understand," Franklin said Wednesday night. "But we've got too many young guys that don't understand the intensity of what we want."
The coach wants to take the "businesslike approach" he saw the last two days and inject a flow of energy into it. After all, it's no surprise the players who didn't make the cut for varsity aren't the most energetic on the field.
"But we've got to get those guys to embrace what their role is right now and make the most of it," Franklin said.
He noted that Jan Johnson is a "perfect example" of making the most of his role. Johnson, who wrestled for Penn State for a period of time, started out on scout team and unexpectedly got his big break last season.
When the Nittany Lions were plagued with injuries at Michigan, Johnson's number was called to start at middle linebacker in front of more than 110,000 fans.
That just shows anything can happen — even though it was unlikely the fourth-string linebacker would see action on defense in the Big House last year.
"All of these freshmen came in thinking they were going to start as true freshmen," Franklin said. "That's kind of the story they have in their mind, that they're going to come in and start as true freshmen and be freshmen all-Americans. And for some guys, it works out like that, and for other guys it doesn't. So there's a transition."
Last season, Penn State was known to be a "second-half" team, frequently starting off slow and then coming back to win it late. But that only works so many times.
This offseason, Franklin preached to his players about being a "four-quarter" team – starting fast and finishing strong. And also everything in between.
"I think one of the biggest reasons for that last year was because we were a young team. We're not a young team anymore," the fourth-year head coach said. "So that's not a reason anymore."
Franklin is done making excuses. Instead, he's taking action to ensure his team plays at its best for all 60 minutes.
He also thought it was important for his team to practice in Beaver Stadium more this summer and during camp.