Penn State Football: James Franklin Indiana Week Press Conference Recap


Penn State head coach James Franklin was again at the microphone inside of Beaver Stadium on Tuesday for his afternoon meeting with the media. There was some talk about the Nittany Lions fourth-straight loss after a defeat to the Maryland Terrapins before moving on to this week’s opponent.

Despite the tough one-point loss to the Terrapins, Franklin made clear that the team and coaching staff are upbeat and positive heading into this week’s matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers.

"“We are in a great mood. Excited about getting out to practice today and getting better and continuing to work with these guys. We’ve got a tremendous opportunity. Myself, the staff, the players are more determined and more optimistic than we’ve ever been.”"

Below are some of the highlights of Franklin’s weekly talk with the media. A complete transcript of Franklin’s press conference can be found on

Last month you mentioned your concern over Christian Hackenberg developing bad habits because of the pressure he’s been under. Do you still have those concerns? How do you think he’s holding up physically and mentally?

JF: Really good. We had a meeting yesterday. Had a really good meeting, discussed a wide variety of topics. It’s been a transition. I mean, it’s been a transition for him, really, from the last couple of years through the recruiting process and everything. I think he’s handling it well. There are areas that I think he can handle better, and we discussed those honestly in both directions.

But I think we’re in a really good place. I think we’re in a really good place. I know he’s excited about getting out there today and working with the guys, getting better, and maybe taking a little more of an active role in some things when it comes to leadership.

We have to remember, all of us, that he’s a true sophomore. He’s a true sophomore and he’s out there on the field as our offensive captain with our other captain, Miles Dieffenbach being out all year long.

So, I think he’s handling it well, considering he’s a 19 year old true sophomore with a lot of external things going on.

I’m pleased with him. I know he’s going to play really well on Saturday, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to protect him and give him time in the pocket.

Going back to your first year at Vanderbilt, when you guys hit early November, you were about .500, and some really close conference losses before you were able to finish pretty strong. I know it’s not the same situation now. But what helped get things going for you guys in that spot? Is there anything from that stretch that you can apply here?

JF: Yeah, I think there are a lot of things that apply. Bob said yesterday in the staff meeting that the last two years with this staff we’ve had the same exact record the last two years. We haven’t gotten to it in the same way, but we’ve had a similar record. So I do think all these past experiences help. I really do. I think it creates some mental toughness and thick skin.

This is a very humbling profession, and you just kind of stick together. I think one of the things that is really helpful is the fact that our staff has been together for a long time. I think that’s really, really helpful. So those experiences are important. I think experience counts at the coaching position and at the quarterback position, things like that. So we’re going to lean on those things.

Kids want to win every week, but at this point after four losses and some of the frustration that players talked about Saturday, how important is it to get something good going, something positive to get a win so they can feel better about themselves?

JF: It’s just as important as it has been at every other week of the year. 

Mike Sherman, you said you had him here, on your radio show. He came in during the bye week. What did you gain from having him come in after you’ve seen some of the things that he may have discussed or picked out as things you could do better, pay off or start to pay off, these last couple weeks since he was here?

JF: It’s funny because of some of these guys across the country are out of work and they go travel and hang out. Probably the biggest reasons is in our profession your wives don’t see you very often, and then you’re home every single day. So I think more than anything this was for Mike’s wife to get him out of the house a little bit. But it was a really good trip.

I think more than anything it’s perspective. It gives you a set of eyes from the outside to come in and say, “Hey, what you’re doing here is really good. Here are some other things that you may want to look at.” Guys to bounce ideas off of and hear some perspective. He’s got a lot of years in coaching and experience and success. He’s somebody that I trust and know. So it’s helpful.

It’s funny because it just doesn’t happen there. It happens where you call buddies that are defensive coordinators or offensive coordinators that played a team that you just got done playing and say, “Do you have anything? Is there anything you picked up that would be helpful?” Anything after the game you say you wish you would have done more. You’re reaching out to every resource you can to find maybe one little bit of information that could be the difference.

What will constitute a good season for you? And you talked about it a little bit, do you believe you’re on the cusp of turning that corner?

JF: Yeah, we’re excited about playing Indiana this week and finding a way to get a win and have some success, and get back on the plane and coming back and doing it all over again. That’s what we’re really excited about. 

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