Penn State Football: James Franklins’ losses mounting on and off the Field

Penn State Football head coach James Franklin (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Penn State Football head coach James Franklin (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Penn State Football suffered six losses in their last eight games but, the losses don’t end just on the field.

Let me take you back to week six of Penn State Football’s season.

Penn State Football is coming off a dominating 24-0 throttling of Indiana to improve to 5-0. The program has a road win against a ranked Wisconsin team and a home win against a ranked Auburn team. They are ranked number four in the country and headed to take on the third-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. Sean Clifford is an early Heisman candidate. The defense is only allowing 12 points per game.

Now, imagine that season ends with six losses, with your two other wins coming against Maryland and Rutgers. It almost seems unreal.

Penn State Football went from being the fourth-ranked team in the nation to a team that barely finished with a winning record. College Football Playoff hopefuls to a generous Outback Bowl appearance. The offensive line got exposed, and the defense could only do so much.

That’s not where the losing ends.

James Franklin is facing an unprecedented amount of turnover of his roster and staff this offseason.

Penn State had six players opt-out of the Outback Bowl and declare for the NFL Draft. After the game, at least two more players have joined the opt-outs. Currently,

Penn State is looking at replacing upwards of six starters on one of the best defenses in the country. The Nittany Lions also have to replace their most consistent and explosive offensive weapon, Jahan Dotson.

These losses don’t include any players that plan to transfer. No players have entered their names into the transfer portal as of yet. It’s hard to believe that the running back room will stay intact with the incoming talent.

Franklin has never lost this much talent at once.

In college football, staff turnover occurs every season.

James Franklin has had multiple offensive coordinators move up the ranks to head coach at other programs. This season feels different. Longtime defensive coordinator Brent Pry is no longer with the program. Franklin will have a new defensive coordinator in Manny Diaz for the first time in ten years.

Franklin will also have to replace Joe Lorig, the OLB coach, and special teams coordinator, with Stacy Collins.

Penn State Football has had elite punters during Lorigs’ tenure.

In addition to the two coordinators, Franklin is also losing Sr. Director of Football Operations Michael Hazel. Hazel, like Pry, has been with James Franklin since the Vanderbilt days. Michael Hazel oversees Penn States’ external operations, facilities, and liaison to marketing, strategic communications, and high school coaches. He essentially runs everything that occurs behind the scenes.

This offseason will be the most important of the James Franklin era at Penn State Football.

No fan, especially one of a school that just signed their coach to a ten-year extension, wants to hear the word rebuild. The great thing about college football is, a rebuild can turn into a reload if done correctly.

Penn State Football has the recruiting class coming in that you need to reload the roster. Like most good programs, the transfer portal will be imperative to Penn States’ success. It will be a true wait-and-see scenario.

We won’t know if Franklin handles all these losses well until next season starts.

Hot. Projecting Penn State's starting offensive line in 2022. light