News and Notes from James Franklin’s Press Conference

Coming off the loss against Minnesota, James Franklin held his weekly press conference on Tuesday. Here are some of the notable statements from the Penn State Head Coach, including a very passionate conclusion to his press conference.

Indiana, Indiana, Indiana

Indiana is a surprise team in the Big Ten, sitting at 7-2 coming into Beaver Stadium off a bye week. Franklin noted how Indiana has a very heavy southeastern presence on their roster, with many players that are from traditional SEC territory.

On offense, the Hoosiers run a spread offense than it is more passing heavy than in recent seasons. Despite losing starting QB Michael Penix Jr. for the season, veteran Peyton Ramsey has stepped in admirably. His completion percentage is sitting at 72 percent, in addition to being the team’s second leading rusher. Franklin is also impressed with junior WR from Tampa, FL Whop Philyor, RB Stevie Scott, and OL Hunter Littlejohn.

Defensively, the Hoosiers run a four down linemen style defense. Franklin added that Indiana also plays a lot of robber coverage, which is something the Nittany Lions do not typically see. He also likes what he sees on tape from DB Marcelino Ball, LB Reakwon Jones, and freshman DB Tiawan Mullen.

Red Zone and Turnover Struggles against Minnesota

James Franklin led off his press conference addressing that the Nittany Lions’ struggles with turnovers and inside the red is what ultimately led to their first loss on the season. He noted that it appeared that they lacked an urgency when they reached the red zone, which is even more significant when playing on the road where things pre-snap can take a few seconds longer.

Franklin also addressed a specific red zone trip where the Lions did not convert early in the fourth quarter down 31-19. The Nittany Lions ran three running plays and a fade route to KJ Hamler and did not come away with any points. But, Franklin said he did not think they could have done anything differently on that trip. But, at the same time, he said even if they did see something else to do to make that trip successful, he would not share that with the media anyway.

The Running Backs

Journey Brown took the bulk of the carries on Saturday as James Franklin did what he said he would do all season, which is ride the hot hand. Brown had a 45 yard touchdown run and another big 35 yard run on Saturday. But, even with his big game, Franklin and his staff will continue to prepare as if all four running backs will play each week.

One interesting note on the running backs is when Franklin discussed freshman RB Noah Cain. Cain suffered an injury against Michigan State, but following the bye week, Franklin seemed fairly confident Cain would play against Minnesota. But, Cain did not see a snap throughout the game with ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe declaring Cain only available for emergency situations.

Franklin described Cain as being “90 percent” on Saturday and that he could have played, but Franklin and his staff preferred using three players at 100 percent than Cain at 90 percent. As our podcast addressed on Sunday, it seemed that Cain’s presence in the back field could have been helpful on the red zone trip early in the fourth quarter where the Penn State offense attempted two running plays with Devyn Ford instead of hot hand Journey Brown or the pro style, downfield running style of Cain.

Sean Clifford

Obviously, when a team loses, the media turns their attention to the quarterback to see how he will rebound from the loss. This happens even more when that quarterback threw for three interceptions on Saturday.

But, Franklin is very confident in Clifford’s ability to bounce back this Saturday against Indiana. He loves the way Clifford is wired and feels he will be driven by the loss. He does not feel that Sean will change his process in preparing for this week, but he will certainly put in extra time and effort to make sure he does not feel they way he did after Saturday’s loss against Minnesota.

Franklin’s Conclusion

Typically, James Franklin makes his opening statement, answers questions from media members on conference call, and then answers questions from the media members inside the room before he walks off and a player or two step up to the microphone.

But, this week, Franklin finished his press conference addressing many of the media members and Penn State fans who question his in-game decisions.

The first specific example he addressed was when Penn State went for a two-point conversion after Nick Bowers scored a touchdown to cut the deficit to five points. Franklin said his two point chart called for it, analytics called for it, and his gut instinct called for it. His internal logic was that they were going for it because they were on the road and the team wasn’t playing well. If they pick it up, the odds of winning the game increased. If not, they would still have to overcome to points as if they kicked the extra point.

Since Penn State did not convert, many fans and media members were critical of the decision.

The other example was the decision late in the fourth quarter with Penn State down five to kick the ball deep and force Minnesota to pick up the first down to end the game. They ran a squib kick, which Minnesota bobbled, and forced the Golden Gophers to set up deep in their own territory. Penn State forced the 3 and out and burned their final two timeouts, but got the ball back with the chance to score with over two minutes left.

Since Penn State did execute, nobody questioned the decision.

Franklin’s point is that when there are decisions that have a gray area, everybody is quick to question his decision and declare their opinions of what they thought should have happened as fact. Franklin understands he is the one to receive the heat when a decision does not pan out, that is just part of the job of being a head football coach at a football power like Penn State.

But, if Penn State did get the two point conversion, would fans be up in arms about going for it? Franklin is right, nobody would question the decision.

If Penn State failed to stop Minnesota after kicking the ball deep late in the game, would Penn State fans be clamoring that Franklin should have opted for an onside kick? Franklin is right, they probably would.

Franklin is right. It is easy after seeing the results to say he made a bad decision. As a fan base, it is time to stop doing that any time Penn State does not execute because more often than not, he makes many right decisions that we forget about. And in providing this closing statement, Franklin was right again.

 

Week 10

Week 10


Offense:

Saquon Barkley, Running Back, New York Giants (Team Captain)

  • Barkley struggled to get anything going against the Jets. He rushed for just one yard on 13 carries. He added five receptions for 30 yards in the
    Giants’ 34-27 loss to the Jets.

Mike Gesicki, Tight End, Miami Dolphins

  • Gesicki made three receptions for 28 yards in the Dolphins’ 16-12 win over the Colts.

Chris Godwin, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Godwin made six receptions for 74 yards in the Buccaneers’ 30-27 win over the Cardinals.

DaeSean Hamilton, Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos

  • The Broncos were on a BYE in Week 10.

Jesse James, Tight End, Detroit Lions

  • James did not make any receptions in the Lions’ 20-13 loss to the Bears.

Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears

  • Robinson made six receptions for 86 yards in the Bears’ 20-13 loss to the Lions.

Miles Sanders, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles

  • The Eagles were on a BYE in Week 10.

A.Q. Shipley, Center, Arizona Cardinals (Team Captain)

  • Shipley helped the Cardinals rushing attack to just 75 yards in their 30-27 loss to the Buccaneers.

Donovan Smith, Offensive Tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Smith helped the Buccaneers’ rushing attack to 118 yards in their win over the Cardinals.

Robbie Gould, Kicker, San Francisco 49ers

  • Gould did not play due to injury in Monday Night’s wild game.

Sam Ficken, Kicker, New York Jets

  • Ficken was 4-4 in extra point attempts and 2-3 in field goal attempts in the Jets’ 34-27 win over the Giants. His long was a 53 yard field goal.

For The Glory Offensive Player of the Week:

Sam Ficken

It was again a slow week for our PSU in the NFL offensive players so the award goes to Sam Ficken. In the Jets’ win over the Giants, he nailed a season long 53-yard field goal. He was 4-4 in extra points and missed just one 54-yard field goal.

Defense:

Adrian Amos, Safety, Green Bay Packers

  • Amos picked up six total tackles in a 24-16 win over the Panthers.

Troy Apke, Safety, Washington Redskins

  • The Redskins were on a BYE in Week 10.

Jack Crawford, Defensive End, Atlanta Falcons

  • Crawford did not make any tackles in the Falcons’ 26-9 win over the Saints.

Grant Haley, Cornerback, New York Giants

  • Haley recorded two total tackles in the Giants’ loss to the Jets.

Austin Johnson, Defensive Tackle, Tennessee Titans

  • Johnson recorded two total tackles in the Titans’ 35-32 win over the Chiefs.

DaQuan Jones, Defensive Tackle, Tennessee Titans

  • Jones made two total tackles in the Titans’ win over the Chiefs.

Sean Lee, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys

  • Lee made four total tackles in the Cowboys’ 28-24 loss to the Vikings.

Jordan Lucas, Safety, Kansas City Chiefs

  • Lucas did not make any tackles in the Chiefs’ loss to the Titans.

Carl Nassib, Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Team Captain)

  • Nassib was OUT for the Buccaneers’ matchup with the Cardinals.

Nick Scott, Safety, Los Angeles Rams

  • Scott did not record any tackles in their 17-12 loss to the Steelers.

Cameron Wake, Defensive End, Tennessee Titans

  • Wake did not record any tackles in the Titans’ win over the Chiefs.

Anthony Zettel, Defensive End, Cincinnati Bengals

  • Zettel recorded one total tackles in the Bengals’ 49-13 loss to the Ravens.

For the Glory Defensive Player of the Week:

Adrian Amos

Like the offense players, it was a very quiet week for the Nittany Lion defensive alum in Week 10. Our reward goes to Adrian Amos who was the only one who did anything of note as he recorded six total tackles in the Packers’ win over the Panthers.

Inactive Players:

Ryan Bates, Offensive Tackle, Buffalo Bills
Saeed Blacknall, Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins
Brandon Bell, Linebacker, Carolina Panthers
Mike Hull, Linebacker, Miami Dolphins
Brendan Mahon, Offensive Guard, Carolina Panthers
Connor McGovern, Offensive Guard, Dallas Cowboys
Trace McSorley, Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens
Shareef Miller, Defensive End, Philadelphia Eagles
Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback, Detroit Lions
Kyle Vasey, Long Snapper, Atlanta Falcons
Stefen Wisniewski, Guard, Kansas City Chiefs
Trevor Williams, Cornerback, Arizona Cardinals

Week 11 Predictions: Minnesota Golden Gophers

8-0 vs. 8-0. The No.4 Nittany Lions can taste their goals, but first have to travel to Minnesota to take on a surprising and surging Minnesota team. Can Penn State end the Golden Gophers unbeaten season? Penn State is 6.5 point favorites heading into the weekend.Week 9-1.png

Brandon Musso (8-0) & (5-3) vs. The Spread

Penn State has survived a gauntlet of tough matchups over the last three weeks. After their success making it through those tough games, many are already looking forward to a battle of unbeatens when the Nittany Lions head to Columbus to take in Ohio State. However, there is one problem: that gauntlet is not yet over as Penn State is on the road again to face an undefeated Minnesota team. 

This game is another definite test and threat to the Nittany Lions undefeated record. As it has been for the last few weeks, it is imperative that Penn State starts fast. Kickoff is set for 11:00am local time at Minnesota, a slow sluggish start because of the early game time will not bode well for the Nittany Lions.

The biggest key to this game will be Penn State’s ability to get to the quarterback. The past two games have not played in their favor as they struggled to get any sustained pressure on the opposing quarterback. Solid defensive play starts upfront and in order for the Nittany Lions to come home with a win, the defensive line needs to get back on track. 

I think the defensive line returns to form and helps limit the Minnesota offense as the Nittany Lions win another close one.

Penn State: 24 Minnesota: 14

Kraigen Rasalla (8-0) & (3-5) vs. The Spread

One of the two games between undefeated teams this week, Penn State and Minnesota are both coming off bye weeks heading into this highly anticipated match-up. Penn State was tested by their recent schedule, playing at Iowa and against Michigan before beating Michigan State on the road. Now, they will start their challenging back third of their schedule in Minneapolis.

Penn State comes in as the favorite and as the #4 team in the country, and for good reason. Their big play offense is combined with their #2 ranked scoring defense.

The weather forecast is looking like a cold afternoon in Minnesota, but that shouldn’t affect Penn State QB Sean Clifford, as he excelled in throwing accurate passes in the cold rain at Michigan State. A lot will be on his plate as Penn State has yet to develop a consistent running game.

I expect Sean Clifford to lead Penn State by finding his favorite receiver KJ Hamler. In addition, I think this will be the game where WR Justin Shorter has his break out game. Shorter has just 9 catches for 109 yards. I expect him to make 5 catches for at least 75 yards and unleash his potential in this huge match-up.

Penn State takes care of business on the road and passes another test in their quest for a perfect season.

Penn State: 31 Minnesota: 17

Cory Lestochi (7-1) & (4-4) vs. The Spread

Minnesota is good, but they don’t have the horses to run with the Nittany Lions late. All week this defense has been hearing about how big this Minnesota offensive line is. Let’s see how this high powered Golden Gopher attack does against an actual defense and a real starting quarterback–two things Minnesota hasn’t faced for over a month.

Clifford and Co. make enough plays to keep this one safe. Minnesota’s special teams is horrendous and is the difference in this one being close and this one being a 21 point win for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State: 38  Minnesota: 17

 

Picture by Kami Brand.

Hardcore College Football, Penn State-Minnesota Preview

Cory Lestochi joined up with Caleb Sipe from SidelinesUMN to discuss this battle of unbeatens. You can find them on Twitter @HardcoreCollegeFootball or on Facebook @HardcoreCollegeFootball!

Here is their link on twitter:

They are also on Spotify, Castbox, and Apple Podcasts under Hardcore College Football.

What are your thoughts on the game?

BREAKING: Penn State Lands at #4 in the First College Football Playoff Rankings

The initial College Football Playoff Rankings were unveiled on Tuesday Night. Penn State comes in at #4 with an 8-0 record on the season.

They come in behind #1 Ohio State, #2 LSU, and #3 Alabama. They are ahead of defending National Champion Clemson at #5.

Meanwhile, their opponent for Saturday, undefeated Minnesota, comes in at #17. This is well below their ranking of 13 in the AP poll.

What do you think of the rankings? Is Penn State too high, too low, or right where they should be?

News and Notes from James Franklin’s Press Conference

A battle of unbeatens looms this week as #5 Penn State travels to #13 Minnesota. Here are some of the highlights from James Franklin’s press conference previewing the match-up.

Michigan State Players of the Week

Pat Freiermuth won Offensive Player of the Week after scoring three touchdowns. Lamont Wade was the Defensive Player of the Week. Three special teams players, Blake Gillikin, Dan Chisena, and Drew Hartlaub won Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

Minnesota, Minnesota, Minnesota

James Franklin believes that this weekend his defense will face the best offensive line group and best wide receivers group they have seen all season. Both groups feature big, physical players that will be a challenge for the Penn State defense.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan leads the charge, throwing 18 touchdowns this season to just 4 interceptions. Franklin also really notices running back Rodney Smith, who has a team-best 889 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, and is a factor in the return game, as well. Minnesota’s receivers are led by Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman, who both have over 600 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns and 6 touchdowns, respectively.

Defensively, Franklin has “a huge crush” on Minnesota DB Antoine Winfield Jr. He is the son of former NFL star Antoine Winfield and is second on the team in tackles with 43 to go with his 5 interceptions in 2019.

As a team, Minnesota is a group that found ways to win early and the season and has only gotten better since. They play a style of football that is not too common anymore. They like to win the time of possession battle and use their physical offensive line to slow the game down if they get an early lead. It will be Penn State’s job to get out to an early lead, like they have most of the season, and make sure Minnesota does not play to their strengths.

Bye Week Agenda

After a difficult three game stretch leading into the bye week, James Franklin said his team spent the bye week focused on rest and recovery. As a team, they were able to focus more on individual drills, as well. Players who typically travel were off on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday last week, while players who do not usually travel had a scrimmage on Thursday. The last time Penn State had a bye week, they came out on the road and won 59-0. Let’s see if their preparation will produce those results, yet again.

Injury Notes

Both John Reid and Noah Cain left the game early against Michigan State. As for the Minnesota game, Franklin is confident both players will be available this Saturday.

Strength of the Locker Room

One of the most noticeable elements of this 2019 team is the leadership of it. Franklin noted that it has been strong despite having a small senior class. He added that the leadership council and the captains are culture drivers and there is a strong alignment between the players and coaches this year.

Some of that alignment has to do with not only saying the core values coming from the coaching staff, but also living by those core values. One example is the “1-0” motto. This was something Franklin said he started in the 2016 Big Ten Championship season. But, for 2019, this team has taken a great deal of pride in the mantra each week.

Defensive Line

With Antonio Shelton suspended for this Saturday’s game, James Franklin and Brent Pry will have to adjust their defensive game plan. One way they will do that is by expecting both Robert Windsor and P.J. Mustipher to play 15-20 more snaps than they typically play.

Coaching Rumors

As expected, James Franklin debunked any coaching rumors surrounding him. He noted how he and his staff work very hard at the task at hand, which this week is Minnesota.

But, he knows Minnesota Head Coach P.J. Fleck is also hearing his name in the rumor mill. So, if you want to ask him questions about coaching else where, distracting him from game planning for Penn State, Franklin is all for it!

« Older Entries