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Uncomfortable Silence or Rutgers: James Franklin’s Press Conference

Coach Franklin kept the media focused on Rutgers and refused to speak on the topic of the college football playoffs.

Maryland v Penn State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Coach Franklin left the possibility of a return for Brandon Mahon but announced that Paris Palmer is done for the season during today’s press conference. As has been the case in recent weeks, Franklin only wanted to discuss his team and his next opponent, Rutgers. Rutgers, Rutgers, and more Rutgers.

Here are some of the notable points from coach James Franklin’s press conference today.

  • Great team win, ball security was very important. No fumbles, which is good considering we had issues with that earlier in the season.
  • We started fast on offense. We’ve had a touchdown on the opening series for the past three games. Four out of our last five. The only other drive we didn’t score on was a blocked field goal.
  • Proud of the offensive line, the ‘next man up’ mentality. Counting Chance Sorrell we’ve lost four offensive tackles. Bates went out there and played after not having taken a rep at the position since he’s been here with us. I thought he played well. I’m really proud of coach Limegrover and that unit.
  • We’ve been without Brandon Mahon for the past couple of weeks, we’ll see how that goes. We’ve lost Andrew Nelson for the season. Paris Palmer is out for the season. It’s too early in the week to make the decision as to whether Connor McGovern will play this weekend. I did bring Michael Menet and Will Fries into my office. That conversation went really well. Both those young men and their families are perfectly comfortable with us doing whatever we have to do to win and put the team first. On a side note it was nice just to see those two guys sitting in my office. They are beautiful. They’ve gotten big, strong and mature. We are not at this point doing anything. Will Fries will be the one who is a little closer more because of our need at tackle. Michael Menet could play tackle, but he’s probably more suited inside, and Will outside. We’d love to keep those players’ redshirt if you can but just the way that this is playing out you never know and we want to be prepared for it.
  • Rutgers is a talented team with a new coaching staff and all the changes that come with that, that I can relate to. They’ve got a really good staff. At some point it is going to click for them. They are one of the better teams in the country defending the pass. This is a team that is waiting for, kind of, the light to go off and to have their moment.
  • (When asked about the big-picture scenarios surrounding the college football playoffs.) You got two choices here. You’ve got silence, uncomfortable silence. Or you have Rutgers. Which one would you prefer? It’s a great question. I understand you’ve got to answer it. But these big picture things about what’s going on in college football. What’s going on around the country and how crazy it is. Politics. You know. We’re going to focus on things that we can control. That’s not one of them so our focus in our locker room was make the corrections from Saturday and then, um, we’re moving on to Rutgers. So um (pauses), uncomfortable silence (brief pause), Rutgers. Uncomfortable silence (brief pause) Rutgers.

Reluctant Interview In An Uncomfortably-Small Space

While coach James Franklin chose to keep the conversation on Rutgers, shying away from any talk of the college football playoffs we at BSD wanted to get an informed opinion on the topic. So we sent our travel squad to Indianapolis, the site of this season’s Big Ten Championship. We were fortunate to catch up with former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora.

We asked the retired field-general to speak about the chances that Penn State has to make the playoffs. We got a very surprising answer. Mora is known for his skepticism in regards to discussing the playoffs prematurely.

As Mora was standing on an elevator waiting for the door to close, our eyes met. He turned away, pretending not to notice that I was running toward the elevator, hoping to get there before the doors closed. Realizing that I would not make it in time, I took the fedora that I wear with an index card marked ‘press’ tucked into the ribbon and threw it toward the door as the two panels came together. It was a perfect shot, the doors reopened due to the obstruction, buying time for me to get there as he frantically pressed the door shut button.

BSD: Excuse me coach.

Mora: Uh, I don’t have time to talk right now, sorry.

BSD: Just one thing coach. Please. The Penn State football team is on the cusp of the college football playoffs. If the team can keep winning it might have a chance to make the final four.

Mora: Wait. What? Are you talking about the playoffs?

BSD: Yes coach, the college football playoffs. Penn State has entered the conversation.

Mora: For the playoffs? Playoffs?

BSD: Yes coach, the playoffs. Do you think it is possible that Penn State will find a way to the four-team playoff this season?

Mora: Normally I would say that you should just hope to win a few games. But in this case it is perfectly reasonable to have conversations that speculate on Penn State’s chances of making the playoffs.

So there you have it. Even Jim Mora believes that we are justified in looking ahead to the possibility of Penn State earning a playoff spot. While coach Franklin won’t entertain the idea at this point, we fans have been given the green light to speculate about it.