Penn State Football: James Franklin Big Ten Championship Week Press Conference Recap

James Franklin met the media on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s Big Ten Championship game. 

Penn State’s season isn’t quite over yet. With an eight-game winning streak, the Nittany Lions earned a berth in this weekend’s Big Ten Championship game. However, before looking ahead, head coach James Franklin addressed his teams performance last Saturday against Michigan State.

“To talk about Michigan State a little bit, obviously a great team win. The thing I’m probably most proud of is this team’s focus overall, their discipline, and our chemistry,” Franklin said.

He also talked about the explosiveness of the offense after putting up 45 yards and 463 yards of total offense. On defense, Franklin stated a key in the game was limiting the Spartans to field goals early down in the red zone.

As for this week, Franklin is expecting a big showing of Penn State fans in Indianapolis.

An interesting point of preparation heading into the game with the Badgers is the fact that Franklin is away of a tick that Wisconsin has used on special teams to draw penalties.

“I think it’s illegal. Technically by the rule they’re not shifting, stemming their front to run their punt return. They’re doing it clearly to gain a penalty. Right after they do it, their whole special teams go crazy. You can see that’s clearly what they’re trying to do. We’ll be prepared for that, working on that all week long with our punt team.”

The entire transcript of what Franklin said to the media Tuesday can be found on GoPSUSports.com. Read below to see highlights from the head coach.

On the Status of Saquon Barkley:

“Saquon, as you guys know, whether there was something to report or not, I wouldn’t report it. I think he’s already told people he feels great. He looked great on Sunday when I saw him. So we’re anticipating him playing and playing well on Saturday.”

On the Explosiveness of the Passing Game: 

“I think the explosive plays come from Trace’s mobility, when he is able to step up in the pocket and extend plays. He’s also one of those quarterbacks that when he steps up in the pocket, even when he’s kind of on the run, he’s eyes are downfield. That puts your underneath coverage and defense in conflict. Are they going to step up and stop Trace from running? When you do that, that creates really good throwing lanes. Or are you going to drop back and get really soft and try to help the underneath coverage on deeper routes and be susceptible to the quarterback being able to run on you?”

On His Team Overachieving: 

“I think all good teams across the country overachieve. That’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to maximize the opportunities you get and trying to maximize the talent you have. You do that with great chemistry, relationships, trust and love for one another. You’ve heard me say those things before. You prepare like crazy, so when opportunities come you can take advantage of them.”

On Being an Analyst at the B1G Championship Last Year:

“Yeah, I took a bunch of notes that whole weekend while it was going on, before it started, after the game was over when I came back. I talked to our staff about some of those things, talked to our administrative people about traveling, the hotel, venue, all those things.

Jjust being in there, seeing what it was like, what the environment was like, how different teams approached it. You find out teams that have played in that game before, what they did, what their plan was.

For example, a little small thing. Michigan State last year did a walk-through in the stadium. Iowa did not. We don’t typically walk through at away stadiums. Are we going to do that or not now that we’re playing in the championship game? As you guys know, I like routine.”

On the Turnaround of the Defense:

“I’ve been saying for three years that Brent Pry did not get enough credit. I’ve been saying really for six years that Brent Pry did not get enough credit for the type of defense that we’ve played. That’s why when the opportunity came, as you guys all saw, it did not take very long. We had our plan and we moved forward. He’s been awesome.”