Saquon Barkley Planned to Spend Spring on Penn State Coaching Staff

John Healy
May 28, 2020 - 10:00 am

Saquon Barkley had unique plans to improve himself this offseason, but it was ultimately thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Giants running back intended on returning to Penn State this spring and spend some time as a coach on James Franklin’s staff, according to Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post.

Barkley, who has quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in the league in his first two years in the NFL, does not necessarily have plans to become a coach – at least not yet – but rather wanted to gain their perspective on game planning and strategy.

“He wanted to sit in all of the coaches’ meetings to see how we came up with the game plan, how we watch film and all the things we discuss,” Franklin, who coached Barkley at Penn State, told The Post. “He wanted to be able to learn football and view it through a different lens because he thought that would help his growth, and he’d be able to go back and have a bigger impact with the Giants. He could see how coaches assess things and why.”

Of course, the coronavirus ruined those plans as Penn State’s spring camp was schedule between March 18 and April 18, but Barkley managed to make a guest appearance on a team-wide conference call instead.

Franklin was hardly surprised, though, that his former running back’s curiosity has extended beyond the physical nature of the game as Barkley approaches the 2020 season as a veteran on the offensive side of the ball and with a new coaching staff at the helm.

“He is very curious about a lot of different things,” he said. “Throughout Saquon’s college experience and afterwards, he is very observant. He is asking a lot of questions. Whenever your best player is also your strongest culture-driver behind the scenes, it’s a recipe for success.”