James Franklin’s new press conference slot of Monday afternoons meant that the head coach spent much of his time responding to yesterday’s program news. The Nittany Lions are searching for a new offensive coordinator and Franklin explained that decision a few different times. You can read the full transcript here or read below for the highlights.
Franklin cut to the chase in thanking Mike Yurcich for his time, but saying it was in the best interest of the program to move forward in a different way. Then, there was a lot of complimentary talk about the Rutgers team that will travel to Happy Valley this weekend.
Not What Was Asked For
On Saturday, Franklin mentioned the need to get Drew Allar established with easy throws to get momentum going. Franklin said many of the things that he had asked for - good on third downs, easy throws, etc. - weren’t being done in games.
Splitting up the Duties
Franklin has said that Ja’Juan Seider and Ty Howle, who already had titles as asssitant coordinators, will be handling prep and playcalling duties. Franklin said the pair has done a good job already, noting that things had been more collaborative than they have been in the past several weeks. Franklin also noted that his role would stay the same with the offense as it has his whole time as the head coach.
James said this was his decision alone.
O’Brien to Coach Quarterbacks
Danny O’Brien will remain heavily involved and will take on the bulk of the quarterback coaching duties, though Franklin mentioned that he would be present in all of those meetings with quarterbacks.
Keeping Things Quiet
Franklin acknowledged that there were tough decisions with the quarterbacks, but that they were the first team members to know. Franklin said he later called their parents. Moving forward to hiring a new OC, Franklin said that he wants those players to be among the first to know as well.
Drowning Out the Noise
There were some boos hurled toward Franklin and his staff on Saturday, something that Franklin said didn’t bother him the same way that it did or would have earlier in his career. He said he is “more calloused” and focused more on the things that he can control.
Beating and Being the Best
Franklin said he, his team, and his staff all know the great things that come from being at a place like Penn State, but also the expectation to perform well in the most important games. Franklin said his aim with the new hire will be to find a coach that puts his team in position to win those biggest games.
Not Exclusively Wide Receiver
Asked bluntly if the wide receiver position’s struggles of “just not being good enough” were paramount of not allowing the offense to be good enough, Franklin disagreed. He did note that the group has had some struggles with consistency and depth, but that it wasn’t as simple as that.
Franklin said he had come to his decision and didn’t feel that he could fake it for another couple of weeks. He said it was a terribly difficult decision, but he also believed that he had internal options who could get the Lions through the rest of this season.
About the Turnover
It’s time for OC No. 6 under Franklin. He mentioned that all of his position coaches and coordinators are tasked with producing extremely good units and players. If they do that, they’re targeted by other schools for promotions. If they don’t, they aren’t good enough for a place like Penn State. He said that turnover is the nature of college football.
On Howle and Seider
Franklin praised the pair of acting coordinators and all that they have meant to the university in terms of recruiting, development, etc. He said they were working on a good plan for a good Rutgers defense.
Franklin said he already has a list ready and he’s narrowing that list. Ultimately, he’d like to have the new offensive coordinator around the team during bowl prep like he’s done in the past with a couple of hires (Manny Diaz for one). But, this would depend on that new hire’s current position/schedule.
Responding to Fans
Franklin was asked what he’d say to fans who were frustrated following the Michigan loss. He said it’s not about words, but about actions before going on to give the words that he’s still excited about the alignment and position of his program.
Closing the Gap
Asked directly about being 1-7 against Michigan and Ohio State since 2020, Franklin said that did impact his offensive coordinator decision. He said his team needs to be operating at its top capacity in all levels.
Revising the Plan
Franklin reiterated that the implementation and execution of a game plan were things that needed to change.
Quarterbacks in all of this
Another reiteration as Franklin said how he had talked to families about the decision and that he hoped his quarterbacks would handle the end of the season well. He said he feels really good moving forward with the relationships in the building.
Franklin closed in saying that Penn State needs to be focused on operating at 100 percent all 365 days of the year to be an elite program.
Obvously Count: 13