Penn State Football: James Franklin Temple Week Press Conference Recap


After finally getting back into the win column last week, Penn State head coach James Franklin could breathe a bit easier this week. Though there’s still plenty of work to do, the Nittany Lions are now just one win away from being eligible to play in a bowl game. Franklin met with media members on Tuesday inside of Beaver Stadium to look ahead to this week’s matchup with in-state rival Temple.

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Franklin reflected on last Saturday’s victory in Indiana before moving on to this week. He commented on the fact that his Nittany Lions have been involved in several close games this season, including the 13-7 win over the Hoosiers.

"“I think to me this is what you want to do. You want to find ways to win close games. We were able to do that early in the year. Then we had a couple of games we didn’t. Now we’re getting back into that again.”"

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

James, now that you’ve had time to evaluate the film, how did Miles Dieffenbach play? Do you expect him to get more playing time in the coming weeks?

JF: Yeah, Miles didn’t get a lot of reps, but we were able to get his feet wet. Probably could have played him a little bit more, but we’d rather have been cautious on the front end than overly aggressive. I know he wants to have a bigger role this year, this week, and we’ll see how he practices and go from there. 

How do you feel Geno Lewis has responded since you had that meeting with him a few weeks ago? Have you seen what you wanted from him during the week as well as on Saturday?

JF:  I feel good. Geno’s got a lot of ability. He’s got obviously really good hands and leaping ability. What we need to do is we need to be more disciplined with everything we’re doing, and that’s not just Geno, that’s a lot of guys. That’s making sure that we’re reading the coverages the same way so the quarterback and the receivers are on the same page. It’s the depths of our routes. It’s the timing. It’s knowing when we’re hot. It’s all the little things that are important.

I think you said a couple minutes ago, I just want to be clear, are you expecting to have Donovan Smith this week?

JF:  Yeah, I would hope so. Again, we don’t know. It’s not really our decision. It’s up to the medical staff. We were hopeful that there was a possibility that last week. It didn’t happen. Obviously the chances and the likelihood go up a little bit. We’ll see.

I won’t really know that until later (in the week). I know sometimes you think I’m not being completely honest, but I just don’t know. He didn’t practice on Sunday, I’ll tell you that. We’ll see what happens today. We’ll see what happens today. He’s going to have to get reps in practice to have a chance to play well on Saturday. We want to put him in a position to be successful. So I’m not sure at this point.

We saw a lot of different line combinations Saturday. Derek Dowrey saw time. What did you see from him in the game and what did you see from him during the week that gave you confidence to put him in?

JF: Yeah, to be honest with you, Derek’s done some nice things all year long, and it has to do with that. But it also has to do with just fact we are trying to find the right formula of those five guys in there. And the problem is every time you think you’ve got the formula worked out, you lose a guy. And again, it’s not just losing one guy in a situation that we’re in, it’s three guys move for every one injury. So those things are part of it.

So, hopefully we’ll be in a position to get two of those experienced guys back this week, that would be helpful. Then we still have to get to the point where we have to get those five guys used to playing together, which they haven’t done all year.

With your team and both teams coming in looking for bowl eligibility, you’re big on keeping the message the same and keeping your teams focused. Can you talk about the challenges of that? Secondly, what does being bowl eligible, what’s that mean in the end in terms of practice especially with such a young squad?

JF: Yeah, the way we do this is by me not answering your question right now and keeping the formula the same. We don’t talk about those things. We don’t look at those things. We focus on finding a way to beat Temple this week. At the end of the year if someone calls and tells us we have an opportunity to go somewhere, wherever it is, we’ll be excited and fired up about it. Because for us, it’s about keeping the family together as long as we possibly can.