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Penn State Football: Franklin Talks Attacking Talented Ohio State Team

by on November 20, 2019 2:20 PM

"Probably the most talented roster we've watched on tape definitely this year, maybe since we've been here. It's going to be a great challenge."

That's how Penn State coach James Franklin describes Ohio State, the Nittany Lions' opponent this Saturday and Penn State's gateway to the Big Ten East crown. Win and the Nittany Lions find themselves back in the playoff hunt, in essence Saturday's game is a playoff game, the rewards for winning simply another step towards bigger and better goals.

So what goes into a game plan for a 60 minute contest where so much is on the line? How do you prepare to stop the best team you've seen all season and maybe the best team you've seen in six years?

James Franklin broke down what goes into planning for a game like this, and what amounts to the three philosophical keys to winning a game where both teams are trying to land knockout blows.

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"You look at the things that they do well, and one of two things," Franklin said on Tuesday. "How do you limit the impact of what they do well, whether it's personnel or scheme, but also what do they do well that also could put them in jeopardy or at risk, and how can you use that against them, whether it's someone's overly aggressive, whether someone is not aggressive enough. You're looking at those things. The combination of those things that you see on film from them, then knowing who you are and what you're capable of taking advantage of, that's where those things factor."

Don't Change Who You Are:

"I think one of the worst things that people do is they play a really talented team or roster, and you play conservatively," Franklin added. "You can't do that. I mean, we're going to have to go there, we're going to have to match their confidence, and we're going to have to match their play making. Matching their play making isn't just taking shots down the field, things like that. You're carrying the ball as a runner, as a running back or as a receiver, and they come up to make a tackle, they've made that tackle in the nine or 10 previous games, and you break that tackle and go for 40. That sends a message. You've made that tackle for 10 straight weeks, you didn't make that tackle this week. You got to be able to match those things.

"They bring a pressure that they've had a lot of success getting home on. We're able to slide and pick it up, now take advantage of when they blitz, they've vacated a zone or left someone one-on-one, you got to capitalize on it. Same thing on defense."

Mentally Prepare To Take Punches:

"For us to sit here and expect that Ohio State isn't going to make plays on Saturday, they're going to. Don't be shocked by that. I'm not just talking to you guys, I'm talking to my team," Franklin said. "That's going to be my message to the team. they're going to make plays, we got to match them. It needs to be one of those types of games, like a heavyweight fight. That guy delivers a blow, you counter. That's what it's going to need to be."


Three things that all sound simple, but are far easier to say than to execute. Can the Nittany Lions pull off the upset Saturday? It might be a tall order, but the formula is certainly there.

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