Penn State bringing high expectations into 2017 season

Penn State opens the season Saturday hosting Akron at Beaver Stadium at noon. (WJAC)

UNIVERSITY PARK -- In this week's Penn State Insider Report, we take a look at the Nittany Lions' 2017 season-opener against Akron.

On Sept. 6, 2014, James Franklin led Penn State into Beaver Stadium for the first time for a home-opener against the Akron Zips. Three years later, he will run out with his players to once again face Akron but this time feels very different for Penn State's head coach.

"I just kind of look at really the last three years has kind of been a whirlwind, and all those experiences and all those opportunities have got us to this point," Franklin said.

"I wouldn't change a thing that's happened over the last three years."

The reigning Big Ten Champions enter the 2017 season ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, but they also return plenty of depth and experience.

"The most important thing was to build on those fundamentals and techniques and confidence that they have," Franklin said.

Having capped an unexpected season in the Rose Bowl, returning players made sure to transition high expectations into a more determined offseason mindset.

"The work ethic is cranked up to a whole different level because we know where we want to go," defensive tackle Curtis Cothran said Tuesday.

"Our goal is to get a national championship," offensive tackle Ryan Bates said. "Our confidence is through the roof right now and our expectation level is through the roof as well."

Penn State kicks off their season at noon Saturday in Beaver Stadium against Akron.

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