Keeping their game safe
After a player transferred to Pitt, PSU changed up its play signals from sidelines
After a former Penn State football player transferred to Pitt in August, James Franklin addressed Week 3 on the schedule almost immediately. He called that another unintended consequence of the NCAA transfer portal.
Franklin said Tuesday that his team changed its sideline signals soon after John Petrishen, a former Penn State safety, transferred to Pitt. The Panthers visit Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
An all-state player at Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Petrishen dealt with multiple injuries at Penn State, saying in August that he underwent offseason shoulder reconstruction. He played in 13 games, primarily on special teams, for the Lions last season.
Petrishen, who graduated from Penn State and will have two seasons of eligibility at Pitt, said that “a fresh start and change of scenery will pay huge dividends in all aspects of my life.”
For Penn State, Petrishen’s decision prompted changes as well. At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Franklin brought up the move to change signals without being asked. Petrishen was at Penn State for four years and “knows all our signals,” Franklin said, particularly the defensive calls.
Franklin said that Penn State implemented the changes during training camp and put the new signals in use for the season’s first two games.
“As soon as that was announced, that that’s where [Petrishen] was going, we had to get with our guys and come up with new signals for everything that we do,” Franklin said. “The fact that we did it right away, we’ve had plenty of time to get it done, and now our guys are comfortable.”
Players said the adjustment wasn’t
too difficult, so long as they were prepared in meetings.
“It shouldn’t be too crazy,” defensive tackle Antonio Shelton said, “as long as everybody’s locked in on it.”
Franklin tied the decision to another critique of the NCAA’s recent transfer rule changes that allow players to transfer with fewer restrictions. In years past, coaches could block transfers to certain schools, such as conference teams or upcoming opponents. Under the system implemented last year, coaches no longer can do that.
Last week, Franklin lamented that the NCAA transfer portal has prodded college coaches to start recruiting college players. That, along with having to change his team’s signals, prompted Franklin to say that the NCAA “overcorrected” its rules regarding transfers.
“This is exactly why, for years, coaches were against the transferring within conferences or games on your schedule,” Franklin said. “I think the problem with it is that, as we all know, some people abused it, and they were denying kids everywhere that they wanted to go, and that shouldn’t happen. But what happened is we overcorrected.
“We went from being able to deny [players from transferring] everywhere to now not being able to deny them [from transferring] anywhere. So it’s problematic. That’s why people have no-competes and things like that. It is what it is, and if that’s in the best interest of the student-athlete, we’ll adjust.”
Penn State coach James Franklin changed his play signals after former Nittany Lions safety John Petrishen transferred to Pitt.