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Tuesdays with Obviously: Northwestern

James from State College met with the media before a second trip to the state of Illinois in three weeks

Iowa v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Tuesday meant James Franklin was at Beaver Stadium to meet the press. There was reflection on last weekend’s win, a lot of talk about his squad’s depth, and some questions about things outside the building that are happening in college football. As always, click here for the full transcript or follow along for a few highlights.

Opening Statement

Franklin said his team “wasn’t a huge stat team” and went on to point out some of the big moments in the Iowa game, focusing on the early fumble and a fourth down conversion that allowed Penn State to play the game on its terms. The coaching staff named the offensive line the offensive player of the week, while Chop Robinson and Dom DeLuca were also honored. Franklin focused on the passing game of Northwestern as something to be on the look out for this weekend.

Wide Receiver Play

A familiar refrain here: Keandre Lambert-Smith was very good. Others had some moments. Overall the group needs to get better. Agreed.

Value of Depth

A two-part question focusing on what depth can do on both the game and practice field led to a long James answer. Franklin talked about the way he and his staff have sold the shared reps and usage to his players. It’s created a lot of respect amongst the team. There’s also been good competition between offense and defense. Franklin alluded to how Lambert-Smith and Kalen King have had some legendary practice battles.

The Cost of Winning

Franklin was asked about Ohio State AD Gene Smith testifying to congress that some recruits are now asking for $5,000 to even come on a recruiting visit. James alluded to the fact that his staff was dealing with the same issues, but then said the focus should be on Northwestern (there were, in fact, zero questions about Northwestern).

Seeking Balance

A reporter had done their research and mentioned how Penn State is just one 4+ minute drive away from where they were last year in terms of touchdowns. Franklin noted that he looked for balance in the offense and hoped that the group could find some explosive plays in the near future. However, he did ackowledge that part of that was dependant on how the defense was playing against the Penn State offense.

The Pribula Package

Franklin told the media that Pribula can do more than what he’s shown this year - which is mostly running - and that he’d like to see Beau run the full offense at some point. But, at the same time, his use of Pribula in the game likely forces other teams to be aware of the running quarterback. Franklin has been happy with his play.

Something interesting within a boring answer

Franklin was asked about the special teams struggles - Penn State is just 5-of-9 on field goals. He gave the basic answers about needing to be more consistent. But, he also acknowledged that there were times the team could have settled for field goals (think Delaware game), but they decided against it to go for it on fourth down instead. That’s the first acknowledgement that I can recall Franklin noting that the offense is making a concerted effort to convert more fourth downs.

Turnover Question

Pssttt...Penn State hasn’t committed one yet this year. Knock on wood.

Stat Stuff

James tried to ignore a question about how some numbers in terms of explosive plays are donw. Ultimately, he came back to the idea that turnovers are down too and that some wide receivers need to be better with YAC. There are nits to be picked and explosive plays seems to be that focus of the week.

Trusting the Process

Penn State players need to take care of the little things. That’s what James said. I think another coach we remember said that, too.

Complementary Coordinators

Franklin turned a question about his offense not getting “bored” with doing the simple things to win into a discussion about the strengths and balance that his two coordinators bring. More praise....hooray!

New Sneak Style

Franklin was asked a long-winded question about using Tyler Warren the way that they do with the quarterback sneak. James was about done. It was word salad about how it works but they’ll continue to tweak.

Obviously Count: 7 - six by James. I was hoping for a shutout.