James Franklin outlines plan for deciding travel roster for road game

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Penn State will travel for the first time this season when it heads to Illinois this weekend for a road game at noon on Saturday. It’ll be the first opportunity for several players to experience a road game.

Coach James Franklin hasn’t yet announced the decision of who will travel to players just yet.

“Typically we announce those on Thursday, even to the players,” Franklin said. “They don’t even completely know yet because those last two or three spots are based on practice and how practice goes. Obviously if somebody tweaks something then we’ve got to make some moves and make some changes, so that’s usually pretty fluid until Thursday morning after the staff meeting, typically.”

The importance of being on the travel squad should be readily apparent. If you’re not a member of the team that travels for a road game, Penn State probably isn’t counting on you much in the near future.

If you’re not on that travel list, there’s a lot of work to be done to put yourself in position to play.

Even then there are opportunities to make the cut for players who might be showing they could be relied on in a year or two. Franklin has a policy that he likes everyone to have experienced a road game well before they would be called on to play in one.

So the last few spots on the travel roster are frequently reserved for those types of players.

“We typically try to rotate through, that all those guys will get that travel experience,” Franklin said. “So the first time that they’re doing it it isn’t the first time they’re playing in a game, they kind of understand what the expectations are.”

Penn State will have five road games in the Big Ten this season, with Saturday’s just being the first.

Still, it’s a chance for newer players to get their feet wet before the real meat of the schedule heats up. The big prize will be an Ohio State trip in the middle of October.

Everyone needs to be ready for that.

“So whether it’s a home game travel to stay at the hotel or whether it’s on the road to get the full experience, we try to rotate through when we can to allow those guys, especially the guys that we think are going to really factor in for us next year, (to get experience),” Franklin said.

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