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Penn State Football: Franklin Looking Ahead To Purdue

by on October 26, 2016 4:15 PM

Fresh off of a 24-21 upset of No. 2 ranked Ohio State it was yet another week in the Big Ten as James Franklin looked forward not back at his weekly press conference on Wednesday. Franklin speaking to the media a day later than usual due to a family funeral, was equal parts excited for what upsetting Ohio State meant for the program and focused on Penn State's noon kick against Purdue this upcoming weekend in West Lafayette.

Here are just a few of the quotable moments from his interview.  

Q. After an historic win like that, how much confidence do you have that the players can put the Ohio State game behind them and focus completely on Purdue?

"Well, I think when you have a young team like we do, that's a challenge, but I thought our coaches did a great job with that on Sunday. I sat in both the offensive team meeting and defensive team meeting, our unit meeting, whatever you want to call it. I thought Coach Moorhead reinforcing the things I had already said in the team meeting."

"I thought Coach Huff did that with special teams. And I thought Coach Pry did a great job with that in their unit meetings. Then Sunday we go out and make the corrections from the game. Before we're halfway through practice, we switch to Purdue and we were able to do that."

"And then our conversation was that we're not talking about Ohio State anymore, except for the guys that have to go to the Quarterback Club luncheon and the guys that have to go to the press conference. Besides that, we're going to move forward and move on and learn from it and grow from it."

"I think one of the things that help us, is we don't change our approach, ever. So I think since we didn't change our approach on the front end, we don't need to change our approach on the back end, and you know, it's business as usual for us. It was a great game. It was a great environment and it was great to see our players go out and play well and it was great to see the fans enjoy it so much, and our alumni and letter men and all those things. But again, it's on to the next game."

Q. You talked a lot about the job Brent Pry has done this year. What stands out most to you about his coaching, and how have you seen him grow as a coach over the years that you've known him?

"I think it's perseverance. I think the way he's handled situations, the way we handled losing all those defensive linemen; and knowing that we had a bunch of inexperienced guys that we're going to have to fill in in that role; and how he handled and how he approached it; how he persevered and handled the linebacker situations and losing a lot of guys."

"I've been a lot of places where that happens and there is a "woe is me" by the coach, and if you do that, the players take on that identity. He hasn't been like that. It's been next-man-up; what a great opportunity we have to go out and do something really special, and is really positive, yet very demanding, which I think is a really important trait in a coach, which he has. He can be really demanding on people but still be positive and do it in a constructive way."

"So he's very respected. I've known him for a long time as I think you guys know. I think his first year coaching was my last year playing. I've known him for a long time kind of followed his career, watched his career. We've always stayed in touch.And then obviously we've been together for the last, I guess this would be year six, and you know, you guys know how I talked about him before this season. Had a lot of faith, had a lot of belief in him and I'm proud."

"I think Tim Banks has kind of taken on his role that he had last year, has done a nice job with that, a really good sounding board, different perspective on some things, and you know, Terry had never really coached on the defensive side of the ball before coming here as a head coach. Kind of coached them all but never primarily coached on the defensive side of the ball."

Q. From the outside it looks like your defensive line is completely different now than what it looked like the beginning of the season. Can you talk a little about the key to their development and why did everything come together last Saturday night for them?

"Yeah, it's not real profound. They are gaining experience. They were inexperienced guys at the beginning of the year. We have guys like Parker who has played a decent amount of football and Brown and Sickels has played a decent amount of football for us."

"But we were really -- the other guys lacked experience. Robert Windsor is a red-shirt freshman, has had a big role for us this year. Guys like that, you know, guys that are coming on for us. You look at Shareef, there's another guy. Those guys were red shirts last year. I think that the biggest difference from the beginning of the year till now is the experience that they have gained by playing week-in and week-out."

"So having success, being coached hard, being really demanding on those guys and those guys gaining in confidence and experience and what to expect. And I think also, you know, that they have realized that they can be good, individually and collectively, that they can be pretty good. When you have success, your confidence grows every single day and those guys are doing that."

"And he's doing a tremendous job with the corners and obviously Sean Spencer has really done a nice job. Last year we lead the nation in sacks with our defensive line and then obviously Carl, and then obviously the production that we're getting out of these guys now. So he continues to do a great job, not only with production in terms of sacks and tackles for loss, but also just the attitude and the energy that he brings to practice every single day with his guys."

Q. When you see your offensive line develop over the last couple weeks, what's the next step for them?

"Yeah, I think continuing to be more physical. We talk about finishers, guys that are going to finish blocks, pancake blocks, create movement, create space. I think we're doing a great job right now consistently getting a hat on a hat in the run game, as well as pass protection."

"You know, you want to limit those plays where you have guys coming from where there's a missed communication and we were double-teaming or we were responsible for; and communication was a big part of that, and I think we've done a good job of that, as well as protecting the quarterback. And I think Trace has helped with that, as well, avoid some things and also build their confidence."

"I think the next thing, it could be really physical. Create a lot of space where you have gaping holes that the running back can run through and that you're finishing blocks and taking people to the ground, because that's our mentality. That sets a tone. That tells your opponent you're in for a long day, those types of things, intimidation-type blocks and things like that."

"I'd like to see us more physical. I'd like to see us have a little bit more of a nasty streak, but we're headed in that direction. There's been signs of it. I just want to see it more often. I think that's the next step for us."



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