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Penn State Football: The Five People James Franklin Meets Back In State College

by on September 06, 2015 2:45 PM

This part isn't in the coaching brochure when you start the job. That super enjoyable task of waking up early in the next morning and watching film from a loss. Then, when you're done with that, walking out in front of the media and fans and explaining what happened. Chances are you understand the situation better than most, but that doesn't make it easier. 

In fact, sometimes that makes it even harder.

Penn State will practice today, because that's how James Franklin has the team's schedule setup. It's a chance to flush the loss out of the system and move on to the next week. By all accounts that is what Penn State players prefer and more often than not it seems to have worked.

But for the first time in a very long time a Penn State coach will have to go out in front of a crowd and explain what exactly happened during an almost unbelievable loss. The final few years of the Joe Paterno era were fairly successful. Bill O'Brien coached in a situation everyone understood, and even last year under Franklin there was a reasonable amount of leeway.

This one though, is going to be hard for fans to let go.

And so with public appearances set for this week, most notably his coaches radio show on Thursday, here are the five people James Franklin will meet this week in State College.

Mr Answers:

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There is undoubtedly going to be at least one person this week who tells Franklin what Penn State should have done. This guy isn't about suggestions he's about giving you the answer key. It might vary from "Go deep a lot" to "Fire John Donovan" and that makes him all the more interesting to see in person. He might not even be wrong this time.

Mr Good Job Good Effort:

The good news for Franklin is that someone out there is going to give him a hug, tell him it's going to be okay and start singing the fight song. And in the end it is just football and one loss is just one loss and if you take this all too seriously you probably shouldn't. But as much as Franklin doesn't really want to hear your 10 minute game plan, he probably doesn't want you to tell him everything is just fine either.

Mr. Explain Yourself:

A close cousin to Mr Answers, Mr Explain Yourself is less interested in giving answers as he is somewhat indignantly asking what in the world happened. To be fair, nearly everyone is asking that question, although some people might ask it more tactfully than others. If nothing else, I might end up being this guy. I mean, how can playing that badly not make you curious?

Mr Joe Would Have Won:

For the most part Franklin has been able to avoid nearly any or all Joe Paterno comparisons. Lose to a middle of the pack team though and suddenly it's time to remind everyone about a former coach. Technically this person isn't wrong, Paterno for the most part, beat everyone he was supposed to beat. And to his credit that is how you pick up 409 wins. But it doesn't really mean much now. Blue Whales are the largest animals on the planet and Pandas like bamboo. These things are all facts, but they don't help Franklin much.

Mr Fire Everyone:

It's a drastic move, but hardly gaining yards on offense and giving up 10 sacks is the kind of thing people can get fired for. That's not going to happen, and it shouldn't happen this week, but that doesn't mean someone isn't going to suggest it with their inside voice. It would be really interesting if this comes up at Franklin's radio show, but undoubtedly he'll be able to pivot away from actually addressing it if it does.


The cast of characters lurking out in the world after a bad loss are much larger than just these five which is probably not good news for any grocery store runs Franklin plans on making this week. But as he knows all too well, beating Buffalo next weekend will go a long way towards making things right again.

That being said, Thursday's radio show is about to make the airwaves the place to be come 6:05 pm.


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