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Penn State Football: Five Things Franklin Will Have To Talk About Saturday

by on January 22, 2016 2:00 PM

For the first time since Penn State's bowl game loss to Georgia, head coach James Franklin will take to the podium for an end of year press conference. On what should be a cold and snowy Saturday morning, Franklin will face plenty of questions about recent staff changes, player transfers and the overall state of the program.

In what largely amounts to a State of The Union address, Franklin will get one final chance to reassure the faithful that things are headed in the right direction before the offseason finally begins.

Franklin will come into Saturday with an agenda and a message to get across. But here are five things he'll also have to address along the way.

1. Everything Is Okay.

In truth each of the moves that have happened at Penn State this offseason have in their own way made sense. Bob Shoop wants to move his career along faster, Herb Hand gets a fresh start with an old friend. The transfers all fit the mold of why players usually transfer. Nothing really stands out as unusual. Sure, Penn State would love to have Bob Shoop, but you don't get everything you want.

But as a large collection of changes and moves it doesn't "look" good. Even if the sky isn't falling, Franklin will have to convince some portion of fans out there of that fact.

2. These Guys Are Good

Replacing Bob Shoop is a problematic issue simply because he's one of the best in the business. And by default chances are whoever Penn State was going to end up with was going to be a hypothetical step down. Even if the results are eventually the same, no Bob Shoop means no more Bob Shoop. So that means a little bit of campaigning on Saturday to convince the masses that this staff is as good as the staff before it.

3. It Doesn't Really Matter What Hack Thinks

It's not unreasonable to raise an eyebrow at Christian Hackenberg's method of departure, or perhaps the not so subtle jabs at Franklin by neglecting to thank him as Hackenberg announced his plans to enter the NFL Draft. Even if it isn't a requirement that every player love a coach inserted into the middle of their career it's at least a reasonably sized red flag when your undisputed leader is less than fond of your head coach.

But does it really matter what Hack thinks? He was never a Franklin guy in the first place. All that really matters is if Trace McSorely and company enjoy what Franklin brings to the table.

This may not come up on Saturday directly, but the subtext might.

4. This Is How The World Works

Change is new for Penn State and Penn State fans, so at some point Franklin will have to remind everyone of that. This is similar to telling people the sky isn't falling but in a different context. Change can be bad, but the fact change is happening doesn't automatically mean that bad things are in fact happening. 

A little reminder of this fact won't hurt the cause any.

5. What's Next

Perhaps most important of all, Franklin will have to set the course and make that course clear. He's big on selling the idea of Penn State being great again, but it's a very vague map. The answer to this question might simply be more time, more recruits and more stability. It doesn't have to be complex, but it couldn't hurt to go over the steps again. If Franklin is going to win the press conference, that means telling everyone that things are okay, and telling them where things go from here.

If he does that it might be a cold Saturday, but it could be the first win Penn State has had in a while.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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