Penn State football is three weeks away from its season opener at Temple on Sept. 5.
Anticipation is high, hopes are higher and head coach James Franklin and company have some depth chart decisions to make.
But first, some bodies have to get thrown around.
Saturday, Penn State held its first true scrimmage of fall camp.
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It was closed to media, but Franklin spoke of the plans for the scrimmage after practice on Wednesday.
“We’ve had elements of scrimmage in every practice,” he said. “We did a goal line scrimmage...a third down scrimmage...
“We’ll do a situational scrimmage where we’ll move the ball. So we’ll go (at) like the 25-yard line for a series, ones against the ones for six reps, twos against the twos for six reps — when I say six reps, it’s six reps minimum. If the series goes on for 12 plays it’ll keep going, but if the defense gets two 3-and-outs, it’s over — and then the threes will get three reps, minimum.”
Franklin said the team would then position the ball at various points of the field and repeat that aforementioned process, and then follow up with kicking drills and live periods with special teams in between each planned goal line series. He said that live drills with special teams are something the team had not done last year.
“The first time we did live, it was in a game,” he said. “Now we’re able to have more depth, so we’re able to do some of those things.”
That’s not the only difference.
“The practices are just on a completely different level (from last year), in terms of competition, in terms of leadership, in terms of how physical we’re able to be,” said Franklin. “We’ve had more live periods this year...it’s just different. So I think you do a better job of evaluating how guys are going to play in those situations.”
The next step for Penn State will be to break out into scout teams. Franklin said this can be expected two weeks to a week and a half before the first game of the season, and at that time, many depth questions will be answered.