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Press Conference Notes: Fiesta Bowl Announcement

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James Franklin and Chris Petersen met with the press following the announcement that Penn State and Washington would meet in the Fiesta Bowl

Nov 18, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State head football coach James Franklin greets fans before the game against Nebraska at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Dunn/York Daily Record via USA TODAY NETWORK Chris Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Statement

  • Honored and humbled to be a part of the game. Big-time bowl in a great venue against a challenging opponent.
  • Big fan of Chris Petersen, lots of respect for what they’ve been able to accomplish at Washington.
  • Looking forward to playing an opponent from a different conference, and will get started preparing as soon as possible.


  • On connections to Chris Petersen, and how much time Franklin has casually had to watch Washington play: The two coaches have been on the Nike trip the last couple years, so both Franklin and his wife have gotten to know Peterson and his wife. Franklin had hired a graduate assistant from Petersen’s staff at Boise State (named Bush Hamdan, by the way, fantastic football name), and Bush had nothing but praise for Peterson.
  • On Washington currently being the third team ranked #1 in rushing that the Lions will play (Michigan and Michigan State both held that title at the time the teams clashed), and how they’ll prepare for it: The Big Ten prides itself on defense, and you’ll see a lot of teams near the top of defensive statistical categories. Playing against good defenses is a challenge, but it helps you improve as well. Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake has done a great job using different size guys in their nickel package. Hoping to get some guys back and be as healthy as possible to have the best time possible.
  • For Coach Petersen - How they’ll handle playing Penn State’s #7 offense: Haven’t had a chance to look at a bunch of Penn State film yet, but aside from the offense, the PSU defense is really good as well. Will be a challenge, but that’s the point of the big bowl games - to play a difficult opponent.
  • On no Big Ten or Pac-12 teams making the playoffs: Excited about the Fiesta Bowl. Playoff debate is not something they worry about, as whatever number of teams are in the playoff, the next team left out is going to complain.
  • On relationships with Bush Hamdan and Jimmy Lake, and what insights can be gleaned from knowing them: Bush was a graduate assistant at Maryland, while he simply knows Lake via the profession. Not sure how much extra knowledge he will gain from knowing them, beyond what the tape tells them.
  • On the committee leaving out Ohio State, whether it’s a sense of vindication from last year, or disappointment that 2 years in a row the B1G champ has been left out: They were practicing when the results came out, so he didn’t know about it until afterward. Focus on the things you can control; would love to have a handful of plays back from the season, but are focused on improving right now.
  • On neither conference getting their champion in the playoffs: Asked that already, and they’re excited about playing Washington in the Fiesta Bowl. Not part of the decision-making process for the playoffs, so they don’t worry about what they can’t control.
  • On the success that Penn State has had in the Fiesta Bowl, and whether fans will be motivated to travel west for a second year in a row: Great history with the bowl, and the fans always travel well. Fans are all over the country and all over the world. But really all that matters is the two teams lining up across from each other - history is great, but it’s the 2017 Washington Huskies vs. the 2017 Penn State Nittany Lions.