James Franklin celebrated Halloween by speaking to the media about his team following its win against Indiana and ahead of Saturday’s trip to Maryland. A lot of familiar territory with this press conference, which you can read a full transcript of at this link. Otherwise, some quick notes for the last ever Tuesdays With Obviously (it’s switching to Monday starting next week).
Boilerplate stuff. The coaching staff celebrated Halloween with trick or treating in Lasch Building with families. Then, it was a quick look back at Indiana and a look ahead at Maryland, a place where James Franklin has so many connections.
A look back
Franklin was asked specifically about the play of his run defense against Indiana, a question that he quickly turned to say that his defense didn’t play its best game last week. Franklin noted that defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was very transparent in talking with his team about what needed to be fixed immediately.
An honest Sunday
Piggybacking off the previous question, Franklin spoke to how the team worked hard Sunday to address the issues that it saw in the Indiana win.
An offensive line
Penn State’s offensive line didn’t have its finest moments last Saturday, but Franklin was quick to point out that a lot of factors led to not as much success on first and second downs. Again, the message was that the Lions are working to fix those things heading into the season’s homestretch.
A Gattis question
Former Penn State assistant Josh Gaddis is acting as offensive coordinator at Maryland. James said in about 150 words that he knows Josh and that he’s coaching.
Franklin was asked about his starting quarterback eight games into the season. This turned to a conversation about how Penn State has had a lot of mobile quarterbacks in the past and that puts a different kind of pressure on defenses. Franklin was hopeful that the late touchdown pass at Indiana would provide both the confidence and the threat to make things easier for Allar in the future.
Trey Wallace is likely NOT out for the season based on Franklin’s answer about wide receiver play before moving on to discussing Malik McClain. He’s been a solid special team’s contributor, but his consistency has held him back out wide dating back to the Illinois game.
Daequan Hardy has been a spark at punt returner and Franklin was asked about his contributions there and “what took so long” to make it happen. Franklin reminded the reporter that Jahan Dotson was a very good punt returner - of course that was back in 2020 and 2021. Nevertheless, he’s been pleased with what Hardy has brought, but he also explained why you’d never be seeing him play offense.
More About Wide Receiver
Franklin was asked about wide receiver and the chasm between KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Harrison Wallace, and everyone else. Like he’s said since back in the spring, it’s all about the consistency.
Sophomore tackle Drew Shelton saw plenty of action against Indiana following Caiden Wallace going to the bench. Franklin said he expects Wallace to be back and able to play, but that Shelton will be a key figure on Saturday and moving forward.
More about consistency with wide receivers
There was more about wide receivers and who might play. The notable part of this answer was that Franklin noted he sometimes didn’t answer questions directly in ways that people would expect because he is very aware of how his players might perceive hearing things about themselves in press conferences. This was an issue at a school to the west of State College last weekend.
An evaluation of Yurcich
A lot of word salad, etc. in a question where Franklin was asked to evaluate Mike Yurcich. Again, the most notable part of this was Franklin saying that wasn’t really something that you did midseason.
Franklin said his team was resilient on Saturday - something that is good as the season nears a finish. Picking up a theme of more coach speak than usual on Tuesday?
One last question about wide receivers
Well, one more question about wide receivers and another answer about them needing to be more consistent.
Final editor’s note: Press conferences will now move to Mondays and maybe they’ll be less coach speak. We’ll find out next week. Tune in with us!
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