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James Franklin Weekly Press Conference Notes: B1G Championship Week!

Penn State is playing in the B1G Championship Game, CJF had some things to say ‘bout that.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Badgers, Badgers, Badgers....(Video via

Opening Statement

  • Pokes fun at media over names screwed up in B1G Conference Call
  • Looks forward to seeing big PSU contingent in Indiana
  • Says MSU was a great team win and team showed great focus and chemistry
  • Offense had 13 explosive plays (20+ yards) and no turnovers
  • Says defense allowed no explosive runs. Wants to hold opponents to 3.3 yards-per-rush, has done so since Purdue game.
  • McSorley, Marcus Allen, Brandon Bell and Blake Gilikin were coaching staff players of the week
  • Praises Paul Chryst and Barry Alvarez (CFP committee member Barry Alvarez)
  • Says the Badgers are a traditional Penn State team who is big across the board
  • Every OL is 6’6 or higher
  • Badgers lead country in TOP
  • Defense and special teams have been very sound all year
  • Lots of shifts that cause opponents to jump offside on Special Teams (which Franklin says is illegal...)
  • Team will operate under normal travel and preparation schedule


  • On Saquon Barkley’s status/Change in players given how big the game is: Players have reacted normally and following normal approach. Had a few questions on B1G Championship game but nothing major. Saquon “looked great” on Sunday when Franklin saw him and team anticipates he will play and play well on Saturday
  • On Badgers’ secondary: Wisconsin leads nation in interceptions, PSU leads in explosive passing plays. McSorley’s mobility helps with explosive plays. Keeps eyes downfield and causes conflict for underneath defenders. Says playing defensive back is one of most difficult jobs in all of sports.
  • On Ryan Bates’ move to tackle: He’s been really good. One of the bigger stories of the season and the year. Staff has always thought Bates was a really talented lineman. Body type probably more apt for center or guard but “his feet are just so good.” Praises the way he pulls and runs. Says play of Bates and Chasz Wright really helps the team.
  • On backup running backs: Managing reps is difficult. All want to make an impact and have handled it very well. Saquon gets “angry” because whenever Andre Robinson goes in the holes just seem to open up. Jokes around that the line likes Robinson more. Says Mark Allen has a lot of energy and leadership skills, understands what it takes to be successful and win. Sanders has obvious talent that appeared the first day he stepped onto campus.
  • On team’s achievement: Good teams all over the country strive to be greater than the sum of the parts and team is right about where they’d like to be but you always want to do a little bit more.
  • On opposing defenses loading the box: Saw some of that last week as MSU changed some of its defense. Concerns are alleviated when McSorley is able to be mobile and wide receivers can go up and get the ball. Team is “not playing in a phone booth.” Wanted to spread out offense due to talent at the skill positions.
  • On doing analysis for FOX at B1G Title game in 2015: Took a bunch of notes and talked to the staff and administrators about a number of aspects of the game and the logistics surrounding it. Helped him take in the atmosphere and the environment of the game.
  • On defensive improvement: Staff has done a great job of getting players ready to play despite injuries and setbacks.
  • On atmosphere around town: Tries to head out to town Sunday morning after games. Regular trips to Dunkin’ Donuts with his daughters. Went and greeted students in tents waiting for B1G Championship game tickets. Says he’s never seen anything like the line of tents outside the ticket office.
  • On rebounding from sanctions: Wants to talk about the game, but says fans are finally talking about what Penn State is now rather than what is has been in the past.
  • On preparation for quarterbacks: Hornibrook will play. Franklin says he has a lot of friends in the Malvern Area (where Alex Hornibrook is from), he will play.
  • On preparing for Wisconsin backs: Has to start with Clement. Other guys are complimentary pieces and it starts up front. Have to create negative plays or zero gains and get opponents off schedule. Defense, like the offense, has to start fast.
  • On travel rosters/restrictions: Can take everybody, but can only have a certain number of guys on the sideline. Will travel a little bit more than the normal 70. Staff tries to rotate young player on travel roster to gain experience for them.
  • On eliminating negative play: Strength of Wisconsin is at LB, despite the strength in the secondary. Have a lot of leadership in addition to creating negative plays. Never out of position.
  • On success at wide receiver: Lot of depth in the area and a lot of guys who can do different things. Yards after catch have been a big part of creating chunk plays.