Blue White Illustrated

May 2023

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 65 of 67

6 6 M A Y 2 0 2 3 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M I n the last two paragraphs of an Oc- tober news release devoted primarily to women's basketball, the NCAA announced that the spring transfer window had been moved up by a full month for college football players at the FBS and FCS levels. While over- looked by many (including this writer) at the time, those changes will make an already hectic April even busier. The release stated that the NCAA Di- vision I Council had "voted to move the spring notification-of-transfer win- dows in both Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivi- sion football to April 15-30, rather than May 1-15. "The Football Oversight Com- mittee proposed the change to allow participation discussions to occur at the conclusion of spring football, while also providing football student- athletes with more time to go through the transfer process and arrive at a new school before the start of summer ac- tivities." In other words, players can begin en- tering the portal on the same day that the Nittany Lions will hold this year's Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium. The 15-day window will overlap with a recruiting evaluation period, which also begins on April 15 and extends through the end of May. During that time, coaches are allowed to see pros- pects twice at their school. In addition, college football teams can also host prospects on campus until the end of May. Put it all together, and another wild stretch is about to kick off for coaches who in most cases will be just wrap- ping up a busy offseason stretch en- compassing the final weeks of the first transfer window, the traditional Febru- ary signing day, winter workouts and spring practice. Given the heavy demands on coaches' time, Penn State's James Franklin has been trying to take a creative approach to calendar man- agement in the hope of avoiding staff burnout. "There are a lot of moving parts," Franklin said. "The new schedule, I think, has made it even more challeng- ing. "Typically, after the bowl game we would get a little bit of time off. We got no time off this year. The day we landed from the [Rose Bowl], we had an official visitor on campus. So, I'm trying to find some times throughout the rest of the year, from a calendar perspective, whether it's a long week- end, or throwing them a real bone by coming in at 8 a.m. instead of 7. Where we can take a little bit of time, we're trying to find days to do that, because the calendar has gotten more and more challenging." Franklin said the issue of staff burnout has been a rising concern among his counterparts at other Big Ten schools and around the country. "We worry that coaches who probably would have stayed in college football are going to go into the NFL," he said. Penn State recently lost an assistant to the NFL, with defensive line coach John Scott Jr. leaving in February to take a job with the Detroit Lions. While Scott didn't say why he left after three seasons at Penn State, it's not hard to imagine the college game's seemingly endless work schedule playing a role. That's one reason why support staffs have grown in recent years and will likely continue to expand. Unless the NCAA plans to change its calendar, hiring sprees might be the only way to offer on-field assistants a breather. Franklin has made strides in that area, and he wants to make more. "I think we've been fortunate that the administration has been sup- portive," he told reporters earlier this spring. "I've talked about this in the past with the new rules. They almost make it impossible to not have a big staff. You have to have the numbers. "As you guys have seen, we're liter- ally at these [spring] practices and we'll have anywhere between 80 and 120 prospects at practice. Some of them are guys who are rising seniors that we're trying to get to commit. Some are rising juniors that we've al- ready offered, but then if you don't do a good job with those other 60 guys, there are going to be five or six guys in there that you're going to offer schol- arships to, and they're going to base their opinion about Penn State on how that experience is." A bad experience on just one visit can make the Lions' path to landing a prospect all the more challenging. It's why the university's administration has supported — and should continue to support — Franklin's push for more off-field staff members. While it may sound dramatic, the future success of the PSU program partially depends on having the necessary support person- nel in place. ■ O P I N I O N GREG PICKEL GREG.PICKEL@ON3.COM No Rest For The Weary In Today's College Football THE LAST WORD James Franklin has pushed for more staffing to help Penn State cope with the ever-growing demands on coaches' time. PHOTO BY DANIEL ALTHOUSE

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