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James Franklin Weekly Press Conference Notes: Indiana

In this week's press conference, James Franklin discussed game depth, limiting the amount of plays Indiana runs, and how Ben Kline fooled everyone into thinking he's a Rhodes Scholar.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, we'll bring you news and notes from James Franklin's weekly press conference. Today, Franklin discussed the Army game, game depth, success on defense, and what needs to be done to stay consistent.

Opening Statement

  • 1-0, 4-1, which they're really proud of. Only 40 teams in the country are 4-1 or better.
  • Turnover margin has been integral to the team's success. It hasn't gotten as much attention as it should, especially given the conditions the team has played in.
  • Team has played 21 freshmen to this point.
  • First time team has started 4-0 at home since 2008.
  • Team is 2nd in the nation in sacks and 3rd in tackles for loss.
  • Meanwhile, Indiana has only given up 3 sacks.
  • Franklin reiterated that unless there's a season-ending injury, the depth chart doesn't change much week to week. Because the chart comes out on Monday, it's impossible to predict what will happen from Tuesday-Friday.


  • On turnovers: It's a point of emphasis for the staff, but it's always a point of emphasis, as opposed to a change based on past performance. There are turnover drills every single day, and coaches are instruct it to not let it become monotonous.
  • On concerns that the team is too dependent a freshman runner (Saquon Barkley): Franklin mentioned that all they have is freshman runners. There are no other options. Mentioned Mark Allen and Nick Scott by name as well.
  • On depth: Early in the season, they had good practice depth, but that was not the case in terms of game depth. As the season goes on, some guys start making an impact and that game depth increases.
  • On Ben Kline: He's there mentally. He's been getting his body back to the point where he's able to do what his mind tells him to do.
  • On Carl Nassib: He's an impressive guy in terms of physical features. What makes him speciall is that he's somewhat odd. Franklin likes Nassib's peculiar way of being. The combination of physical ability and personality makes him the player he is now. Looking at film, Franklin believes Nassib played at a higher level last season than he was given credit for.
  • On the punters: Punters have a significant impact on our team. The games that they've punted well are games Penn State has done well in. Both punters, of course, look great in practice. Last year it had to do with pressure, since we got the ball of more slowly. Now it's just experience, maturity, and consistency. Team has to get back to having special teams as a strength.
  • On DaeSean Hamilton: He's a guy who's proved he can make plays for us (along with Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall). The team has to focus on getting the ball to him more, but it's also a matter of having mroe depth at the poosition.
  • More on Ben Kline being a Rhodes Scholar candidate ("is he really that smart?"): "He's a Rhodes Scholar candidate, but no, he's not really that sharp, he's beating the system. He's found a way to fool everybody."
  • On preparing for teams when you don't know who will start: The #2 running back for Indiana is very similar to the #1 back, so it doesn't make that big an impact. The quarterback, however, changes. They would go from a pocket passer with a strong arm to somebody who could scramble for 71 yards on a broken play. Those are two completely different styles.
  • On expectations vs reality: "That's the hardest part of my job." It's hard to get people really excited about the season, the team, and the future, without setting up false expectations, especially at a place where, no matter what has happened in the past, the day the season starts, people remember 1982 and 1986, and that's their expectation. Likewise, it's the thing that Franklin loves the most about Penn State. There are actual expectations. Franklin sees the things that everyone else sees. However, Franklin is not willing to throw people under the bus.
  • On Tevin Coleman vs Jordan Howard: Franklin cuts off the person asking the question to say no, they are not similar. They are completely different players.
  • On the staff's faith on defense: Yes, the staff has confidence on defense. The question mark this year was at linebacker, and that's come along pretty well. The team's style of play is tailored to the strength on defense.
  • On feeling good about the direction of the program vs production on offense: It's about the team overall, and it's about the long-term development. It's not about statistics. The work that they're doing and their approach, which is to find ways to get wins.
  • On the defensive backups: Part of last week's issues were Army's style of play. Franklin purposefully wanted to limit snaps on defense against a team with that style of play.
  • On balance on offense: No, they still don't have the balance they want. They also need to limit penalties on offense, which has killed drives in the past.
  • On Indiana's style of play: Penn State has to find a way to get sacks and tackles for loss. That's one sure way to limit the amount of plays they run.

That's all for this week's edition of press conference notes. If you'd like to view the full viedeo, follow the link below: