Penn State head coach James Franklin met with the press on Friday during Rose Bowl Media Day.
With the Rose Bowl between Penn State and USC coming up on Monday, the Media Day event was held Friday. Head coach James Franklin met with members of the press to discuss his team ahead of the big game.
Highlights of what the head coach had to say can be found below. A full transcript of Franklin’s talk with the media can be found on GoPSUSports.com.
Kickoff for the Granddaddy of Them All is set for 5:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 2.
On Being Involved in the Rose Bowl:
“Yeah, I think it’s obviously something that I’ve looked forward to in my career. This is something that I’d imagined.”
“I got a couple coaches in my staff that have been involved in this game in the past. We’re excited about the opportunity. We had dinner at the stadium last night. It’s a beautiful setting. Then the year I took the job, I did some media work for the National Championship game. I think it was Florida State and Auburn that was here, and I was on the sideline during that game and did stuff before the game.”
On Thoughts the Night Before the Game:
“Night before the games, I’m usually pretty good. I know a lot of people probably are nervous. I’m a nervous wreck all week long from a preparation standpoint. But we do everything we possibly can to be prepared and ready to go.”
“So the night before the game, all of our coaches, all of our players should sleep very well, because they know we’ve done everything we possibly could to get prepared and ready for the game.”
On the Deep Passing Game:
“We love to chuck it deep. It’s fun. The fans love to chuck it deep. The players like to chuck it deep. The wide receivers do. We’re in a situation now with our offensive line has allowed us to do that. We’ve been in a situation our first two years where we couldn’t take as many shots as we wanted to.”
On What Penn State Has Had to Overcome:
“I prefer to talk about the nine-game winning streak, I prefer to talk about what we’ve done this year. But, yeah, I think if anybody really takes the time nationally or here in this market and kind of really thinks about what we had to overcome, I think it’s one of the better stories in college football. I mean, you think about all the different things we had on our plate that we had to overcome when we took the job, the situation that we walked into now and where we’re at in a fairly short period of time, it’s a credit to our players. It’s a credit to our coaches. I also think it speaks about what Penn State is, because very few programs could survive what we’ve been able to work through and be able to be back so quickly.”
Who Needs to Have a Big Game in Order to Win:
“I think Brian Gaia has a tremendous challenge against Stevie, their nose guard. I think that’s going to be a big match-up in the game. He’s been very disruptive. That’s going to be a challenge for us. Brian’s our senior starter, a captain, does a great job getting us lined up. He’s not the biggest guy in the world. He’s big enough to get the job done, but that’s going to be a challenge for him.
I think, obviously, the other thing is being able to get pressure on their quarterback. They do a great job of protecting their quarterback and keeping him comfortable in the pocket. He’s also a much better athlete than I think people realize. Does a great job of extending plays and things like that. So I think they’ll probably be the two biggest challenges in the game.”
On Saquon Barkley:
“I think Saquon is one of the unique running backs in the country because he just has so many tools. If you listed out all the attributes and traits that you’re looking for at that position, he’s going to have a checkmark in most of the boxes — body type, size, strength, power, vision, balance, speed, durability. He’s going to have a lot of those characteristics and traits that you’re looking for if you had the opportunity to build a running back. They’re hard to find. You can find a guy that’s undersized. He has great quickness, change in direction and speed, but can’t run for power. He can really do both.”