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Penn State Football: Franklin Talks Corrections And More At Tuesday Press Conference

by on September 27, 2016 3:00 PM

James Franklin spoke to the media on Tuesday ahead of Penn State's meeting with undefeated Minnesota this weekend. With the Nittany Lions at 2-2 on the year Penn State will look to bounce back from a blowout loss to Michigan during a three game stretch within the confines of Beaver Stadium against the Gophers and Maryland prior to a bye week heading into a primetime clash with Ohio State.

With plenty to discuss from injuries to improved play, here are a few quotable moments from Franklin on Tuesday.

On making corrections but not overreacting to mistakes made in one game.

"Well, we're not going to overreact. We're going to correct the mistakes. It's never a personal thing. It's correcting the mistakes. Our guys want to play well. The coaches want to play well, as well, and be successful."

"So yeah, it will never be that. We'll make the corrections. We'll watch the tape. We did those things on Saturday. We've moved on to our next opponent now. Did that on Monday, and then Tuesday is our first day to get out on the field and practice. That's what it's about. It's about correcting the issues that showed up in the game on Saturday. Some of those things are quick fixes, when it comes to funneled mens and techniques and assignments, and some of them are long-term things that we're going to be working on for the next 25 years. You're constantly going to be working on growing and developing the players while they're in the program and in the future."

"That's what it is. It's correcting, it's learning from it, it's growing, it's magnified like I mentioned before with young players, and the more experiences they have, positive experiences they learn from, negative experiences that we all learn from and grow and improve."

On the read option and if it has been effective.

"Yeah, you know, the read option, it's interesting you say that because there's a lot of different discussions with that this week, and really the last couple weeks. Typically you're reading a defender, and if that defender turns his shoulder and collapses down to tackle the running back, you pull it and get on the edge. If he stays square and is trying to kind of play both, you hand it off, and that's pretty much what we've gotten week in and week out. We've gotten people that have stayed square shouldered with the quarterback's read and haven't gotten the quarterback on the edge a whole lot, so that has been something that we've discussed about how people are playing us. You kind of see that week in and week out."

"You have visual reads and indicators that you have during the game, and then sometimes there's also -- what coaches sometimes call genetic reads where that guy maybe is square shouldered but you feel like you're a better athlete and you can beat him to the edge and deep the defense on us and maybe loosen him up a little bit. We've had some discussions about that, there's no doubt about it, and then, yeah, I think that's been something I've bought up the last couple weeks, and Joe is obviously very aware of, how many different ways can we get 26 the ball, whether it's traditional running game between the tackles, whether it's getting him the ball on the edge or whether it's throwing him the ball in the flats like we did last week which got us going offensively. Yeah, we want to look at as many different ways, same discussion that we had obviously using him as a kickoff returner, just the more times we can get the ball in his hands, the better, but we also still need to continue to develop our traditional running game and being more physical up front at the tight end position and offensive line and getting more movement."

"So we've improved there, but we still need to be more physical."

On fixing the run game.

"Well, I think, again, we need to be better, there's no doubt. I think the stats are a little bit skewed after last week. It's no different than if you play Navy or you play Army, you're probably going to be one of the top-ranked pass defense teams the following week because it skews your stats up a little bit. We played a very, very physical defense. You look at Pitt, Pitt is not allowing anybody to run the ball on them this year. You look at Michigan, Michigan is one of the better defenses in the country. So there's no doubt that we need to be better. It goes back to kind of what I was already talking about, that I think we are improved on the offensive line. We need to be better in our pass protection on obvious passing downs, and we need to be more physical. We're getting a hat on a hat, but we're not creating movement, so we need to do that. We need to create more movement. We need to create more space because we've all seen that Saquon can be effective when he's given a little bit of room."

"And then I think the other thing where Saquon I think could be a little bit better is Saquon I think all year long has really been trying to make every run an 80-yard touchdown. You've got to be willing to lower your shoulder down and just run people over or get in a gap and push the pile for four or five years where I think he's been a little bit trying to make the extra cut every single run, and there's a time and a place for that."

Is there a reason why there have been so many injuries or is it just bad luck?

"To be honest with you, I've had that discussion with our medical staff and the coaches and the administration, as well. I'm not sure. I mean, there's a lot of factors that could go into it. It could go into our set of circumstances over the last three to four years having reduced roster and guys taking a lot more reps than they would in a traditional situation. Does that factor into it? Is it nutrition? Is it sleep? Is it sport science? A lot of factors. Is it just a streak of bad luck?"

"I think it's probably a little bit of all those factors like most things in life. But yeah, it's hard to say right now. I think we'll probably look back at it. The only thing I can do is take my 22 years' experience and say what is different now compared to other places I've been, and there's really only a few criteria that are different here than other places."

Finding healthy bodies to play linebacker.

"Well, I don't know if we're at that point yet. I understand your point. I mean, we have a two-deep right now at pretty much every position that we feel pretty good about. Again, if you look at Will linebacker, you've got Cam Brown. Now the backups to him are two guys that are going to train at multiple positions in Manny Bowen and Jay Cooper. It's a one-deep with some flexibility."

"At Mike linebacker we feel good about Brandon Smith and we feel good about Jay Cooper. At Sam linebacker we feel good about Manny Bowen, Koa Farmer and Von Walker, and we've talked about Von being able slide over to the Will linebacker, as well, and learn that. And then Jonathan Thomas is another guy that we already made taking reps gaining confidence every single week hasn't played defense in a number of years. So there are some guys that we could move, but now again, kind of like the conversation that me and Jordan just had, you have to be careful because now you start taking away from one position too much, then that position now is in a tough spot."

"So again, I think you have to be careful with the extremes."

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