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Penn State Football: Franklin Talks Routine, Approach As Saturday Draws Closer

by on November 29, 2016 3:15 PM

Routine has in large part been a key factor in Penn State's success this season. The 1-0 mantra each week is as much about doing the little things right and the big things taking care of themselves as it is about actual wins.

And so far it has worked out, the Nittany Lions sit at 10-2 with eight straight victories and a win away from a Big Ten title. It's hard to argue with the method and even harder to argue with the results.

"We really kind of are looking at this, although we're the home team, we're looking at it as an away game," Coach James Franklin said on Tuesday. "I think our guys are a little bit surprised at that. Some of them look at it as a bowl game."

But in truth it isn't anything like a bowl game. Penn State will leave Friday for Indianapolis, the practice routines are the same, the travel schedule is the same. The only thing that is different are the stakes, everything else is business as usual.

"Not everybody is able to travel and dress, limitations there," Franklin added. "We're not going, like, three days early. It's an away game for us the way we look at it in terms of our approach. It's going to be a night game. We've had a lot of those, how we handle those in our approach, our planning, our organization."

"But our guys are excited, they're focused. We're not going to treat it as anything different. We're not going to change how we go through our weekly game plan. We'll probably cut back a little bit this week, but we've been doing that every week. Besides that we want to make sure our guys are fresh, prepared and ready to go on Saturday."

Frontally for the Nittany Lions the increasing pressure each week have become routine. As Penn State's winning streak has continued the opportunities have only gotten greater and greater. Saturday might be the biggest game of the season, but in truth each week for the past several has been that way. That's something that defensive end Evan Schwan hopes works in their favor come Saturday night.

"Yeah, it does help," Schwan said. "Having the mentality that we've had, which is being 1-0 each week, has been the reason. I attribute that to why we've had the success that we've had."

If nothing else this won't be the first time to a major postseason game for Franklin who has worked in the broadcast booth at the national title game and the Big Ten title game before. And it's wasn't because Franklin was looking at doing something other than coaching, he was scouting out what could lie ahead.

"Yeah, I took a bunch of notes that whole weekend while it was going on, before it started, after the game was over when I came back. I talked to our staff about some of those things, talked to our administrative people about traveling, the hotel, venue, all those things," Franklin said.

"Yeah, just being in there, seeing what it was like, what the environment was like, how different teams approached it. You find out teams that have played in that game before, what they did, what their plan it was. For example, a little small thing. Michigan State last year did a walk-through in the stadium. Iowa did not. We don't typically walk through at away stadiums. Are we going to do that or not now we're playing in the championship game? As you guys know, I like routine."

The result? Penn State won't have a walk through at the stadium on Saturday (Wisconsin will) because the Nittany Lions never have one at the stadium. They won't deviate from what has worked so well all year.

As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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