Players enjoy a trip
UNIVERSITY PARK — Running back Saquon Barkley and some Penn State teammates got a chance to work out with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, the reigning NFL Rookie of the Year, during a recent trip to Florida.
“It was really cool,” Barkley said when telling the story following PSU’s fifth spring practice Wednesday night.
Barkley, receiver DaeSean Hamilton, safety Marcus Allen and running back Mark Allen visited a Florida training facility, where Prescott also just so happened to be working out.
“We wanted to do something different, something new,” Barkley said. “We went to Florida, got to visit some stuff down there, got to have fun and spend time with your brothers. But we also tried to evaluate ourselves and get better instead of going somewhere else and having fun and partying.”
Barkley’s main takeaway from working out with Prescott wasn’t about training, but instead about intangibles.
“How to be a leader, how to lead a team, how to come to practice every single day and be a pro, pretty much,” Barkley said.
“Obviously, I’m still in college,” he added, “but (I learned about) if you could be a pro about your body and you could be a pro about how you approach practice and try to be a leader, and just overall try and be a better player.”
Barkley likely will find himself in the pros in about a year. He has two years of college eligibility remaining, but most expect him to enter the NFL draft early after his upcoming junior season.
Barkley is expected to be a Heisman Trophy contender this fall after coming off a sophomore season in which he ran for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns, while catching 28 passes for 402 yards and four scores.
Wade’s solid start
Prized cornerback recruit Lamont Wade, who enrolled at PSU early and is going through spring drills, already is impressing the coaching staff.
“He’s a different kid because he’s already physically developed. It’s not like he’s 170 pounds. He’s 190,” coach James Franklin said. “He’s got tremendous confidence, as we all saw in high school, but sometimes that kind of goes away when you get to college. That hasn’t gone away. He’s got a lot of competitive confidence. And he seems to learn well.
“He’s made plays so far. Up to this point it’s been pretty good. You never know a week into this does he hit the wall as the installations continue to build up. Haven’t seen that yet.”
Franklin added that it’s tough for a true freshman to show up in the summer and learn everything quickly enough to have a chance to compete for a job right off the bat. But with early enrollees such as Wade, the learning curve has already started.
“The fact that he’s been here and been able to train and learn the stuff, it will make him so much further ahead than those other guys when they come in,” Franklin said.
News and notes
n Fans can expect to see a more competitive Blue-White Game coming up April 22. Franklin wants to see the starters squaring off against the second stringers for much of the scrimmage, which he believes fans will enjoy more.
n Trace McSorley threw 29 touchdowns with only eight interceptions last season, but Franklin said the interceptions came in bunches at times. “We’ve got to kind of cut that down,” the coach said. “You cut those interceptions down in half, then we’re in a really, really good situation.”
n Franklin spoke about trying to get that little extra effort out of everyone on the team in order for the Lions to get even better. “For where we want to go, we have to practice at a level that nobody here has really seen before,” he said. “We’ve got to be 1 percent more focused in team meetings and how we take notes. We’ve got to be 1 percent more focused in our assignments. We’ve got to have 1 percent more effort in the way we practice. We’ve got to elevate a little bit.”