News & Notes from James Franklin’s Press Conference
It is Tuesday so it is time to recap what Penn State Head Football Coach James Franklin had to say during his weekly press conference.
Yesterday, a letter written to Jonathan Sutherland made headlines throughout the Penn State community. James Franklin opened his press conference by addressing the letter. Among the highlights of his opening monologue, he described his team and teams in general as “the purest forms of humanity we have”. In addition, he went on to mention Sutherland, who is a 2019 team captain, as “the ultimate example of what our program is all about”.
Very well done, Coach Franklin, very well done.
The offensive players of the week from the Purdue game were Jahan Dotson and Noah Cain. On defense, Lamont Wade and Shaka Toney won defensive players of the week. Then, Journey Brown won the special teams player of the week.
Iowa, Iowa, Iowa
“They do what they do and they do it really well”. That is how Coach Franklin described Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa Football team. Offensively, Franklin is impressed by the starting tackles of the offensive line, LT Tristan Wirfs and RT Levi Paulsen. Those two will have to keep a Penn State defense that just recorded 10 sacks away from QB Nate Stanley. Franklin called Stanley a “big, good looking sucker” during today’s press conference. He is a big, imposing guy and is able to make big time throws.
Defensively, expect a typical Iowa defense under defensive coordinator Phil Parker. They are currently third in the country in scoring defense. Currently, Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa, and Ohio State make up the top four in scoring defense nationally, in that order. Watch out for DE AJ Epenesa, LB Michael Ojemudia, and DB Geno Stone as key playmakers for the Iowa defense on Saturday night.
Also, Coach Franklin is very excited to wave to the kids in the Iowa Children’s Hospital on Saturday night. In case you do not know about perhaps the best modern tradition in college football, here is a good example of it.
Coach Franklin highlighted a few of his own players throughout his press conference today.
Franklin “couldn’t be more proud of Shaka” after picking up three sacks on Saturday against Purdue. Franklin recalls when Toney did a cart wheel after receiving his offer from Penn State. But, initially, Penn State wanted Shaka Toney as a linebacker. But, Franklin cites Toney’s good stubbornness and knowing his identity as a player to insist to Franklin and his staff that he is a defensive end, despite his 195 lb frame at the time. Franklin knew he just wanted Shaka the person in his program and the two became a perfect match.
“It’s kinda how he is wired” is what Franklin had to say when talking about Sean Clifford as a leader. He mentioned Clifford is probably more vocal than Trace McSorley. But, he understands playing quarterback is a lifestyle and that permeates throughout the program as every player realizes being a Penn State Football player is a true lifestyle.
The true freshman is having a lot of success in the Penn State backfield and a lot of it could be related to his background. Cain played in a similar crowded back field in high school at the highly reputable IMG Academy. As a whole, Cain is a very mature person and very well liked on the team.
After picking up a sack on Saturday, Franklin was asked about DT Fred Hansard. Franklin loves Hansard’s personality and his ability to overcome the multiple injuries he has had at Penn State. Also, he may be the best dancer on the team and could give former Penn State DB Marcus Allen a run for his money, according to Franklin. I am not sure about that one, Marcus was really, really good.
Kirk Ferentz and Kinnick Stadium
James Franklin believes Kirk Ferentz has been at Iowa so long because he built a team with a true identity. It all starts with the head coach and “they’re gonna do it the way they do it”, which Franklin added is easier said than done.
Also, according to Franklin, Iowa has a unique home field advantage at Kinnick Stadium because the place is sold out, the fans are right on top of the sideline, and they receive great support because they are the only show in town.
The HBO Special “24/7 College Football” episode involving Penn State will air tomorrow night at 10 PM ET on HBO. It will be a “Hard Knocks” style of show featuring Penn State’s preparation leading into the Purdue game. But, when the program is over, Coach Franklin reminded Penn State students and fans that if you see his players not to talk about the show. But, instead, say “Iowa, Iowa, Iowa”.