Opinion: HC James Franklin Wasn’t Wrong in Idaho Rout & Here’s Why

I honestly can’t believe I have to write this piece, but after the 79-7 rout of Idaho, some fans criticized Penn State’s head coach, James Franklin for running up the score. These are also the same people that will always find a reason to be upset at the head coach. If you can’t be happy with the performance on Saturday, you’ll never be happy. That being said, I feel the reason some people are upset at Franklin is simply because they don’t know the unwritten rules of football.

Complaint: Franklin was calling timeouts up by 40 in the first half that’s just unsportsmanlike.

Not only was it the first game, where repetitions are critically important, but it was still the first half of the game. No matter your opponent, or the score, it is a common belief among coaches that you always play a complete half of football regardless of the score or opponent. It sends a poor message to your team if you become complacent and don’t use timeouts to score more points before the half. We should applaud Franklin’s aggressive demeanor before the half.

Complaint: I didn’t like how Franklin let his starters play another series in the third quarter when the game was in hand.

This goes back to the complacency problem. If your starters go into the locker room thinking their day is wrapped up, then they don’t prepare properly for the second half. It’s important for the team to get into a habit of coming out firing in the second half. This prevents a second half letdown.

Complaint: It was unsportsmanlike to keep going for it on fourth down instead of kicking field goals.

This is actually a common misconception. It is actually more unsportsmanlike to kick field goals and add insult to injury than going for it on fourth down. In most circumstances, going for it on fourth down has a lower success rate than kicking field goals. Therefore, it is common courtesy to not kick field goals when the game is out of hand.

Complaint: I didn’t like how much they celebrated the last touchdown.

On the final drive, the Nittany Lions kept the ball on the ground with fifth string running back, Nick Eury. Before this game, Eury only had one carry in his career and that came in the Georgia State game a few years ago. Let’s just say he made the most of his opportunity and the reason the sideline celebrated so much is because the senior running back worked his entire career for that moment. Idaho knew the run was coming, if they didn’t want Eury to score they could have stopped him.

Complaint: Joe Paterno never ran the score up the score and embarrassed his opponents.

Complaint: I feel bad for the Idaho players.

Besides the fact that Idaho walked home with over $1 million to help their program and staff, these players are professionals. If you play this game long enough you usually end up on both sides of these type of games and handle it accordingly.

Penn State takes on Buffalo this weekend, you can read our preview here.

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