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This is James Franklin at his very best

James Franklin got on quite a passionate roll Wednesday night at the end of his post-practice media session on Zoom.

Franklin answered questions truthfully about the frustrations surrounding the uncertainty of next week’s Big Ten games, plus he weighed in on the league changing its minimum-game rule to allow Ohio State to get into the conference championship game.

We’ll get into all of that in a bit.

It was what Franklin said at the end — and how he said it — that showed just how passionate he is about his players and life getting back to normal after the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch the video below to get the full effect of Franklin’s personality and leadership.

 

Franklin has already said he hasn’t handled his family being away very well, and that is certainly understandable. This is what he said one month ago on Nov. 10.

“I’ll be honest with you,” Franklin said. “One of the things that I have not done a great job of handling personally that I have to be honest with myself and honest with the team and honest with you guys, I have not done a great job of managing my family being gone. I have not. They are my fuel. I go home, they’re able to pour into me. And I have not done a great job of that.

“Again, at the end of the day, I have to. I have to manage those things. I have to do a great job.”

Here’s the amateur psychologist in me explaining what we see from Franklin in the video and also how he has been for several weeks now.

Here’s the text of what Franklin said in the video:

“I can’t wait to take this thing off (his mask), so they can see my face and my emotion, and they and I hug them. And when I used to punch Trace McSorley in the chest. and then he punched me back the one time at bruised my chest. I want people to see my emotion. I want people to see my passion. I want people to see my face. And I want to see theirs. And I want to hug and I want to want to do all that. And people need that. People need that. Our players need that. The community needs that. I need that.

“I need to be in there on Wednesday, and have Audrey asking me tough questions. I want to be in there and Ben asking me some outside the box questions. We all need it. And I know it’s gonna come back at some point, and we just all gotta stick together and fight through this.

“One of the things we talked about today in a team meeting is we can’t stop taking moments to think about our blessings and the things that we’re appreciative of. And even in these times that the things that we still gotta believe in and got to be excited about. Being appreciative is important. I know I’m preaching right now. I know Audrey hates this stuff. But that was a long answer.”

As for the current football news of the day …

Franklin also expressed his frustration over not knowing what is going to happen next week with the Big Ten’s week nine schedule.

“I was told a week ago is that the West teams were all going to come to the East because this is the year to do it. And next year we’re gonna have to travel,” he said.

“I don’t know if all the fans know this, every other year it’s five and four home and away. So what we were told was that, next week, was since we weren’t going to go to the neutral sites, the domes, that it would be home games for the East this year because next year, it’ll be the opposite. And then I heard today that that may be changing, which I don’t think is right. And then on top of it, there’s still a lot of stadiums where parents can travel, and it sure would be nice to be able to tell the parents so they can make plans to be able to get to games. I don’t i don’t think that’s right.

“I think there’s there’s some frustration about it. I did talk to some other coaches in the league. I did talk to Sandy (Barbour) about it. The fact that the game is next week and we still really don’t know, and we were told one thing last week and now it’s it’s different is a little bit of a concern. … I don’t think it’s right you could be going on the road two years in a row. I don’t see how that makes sense.”

At this point, Penn State doesn’t know if it would play on Friday or Saturday next week.

“That’s the other problem is we don’t know where the games are, we don’t know who you’re playing,” Franklin said. “And then on top of that, they’re saying that there’s a possibility that games could be Friday and Saturday.”

Lastly, Franklin was asked what he thinks about the Big Ten reversing course on its scheduling requirements to allow Ohio State, which has played just five games, to be eligible for the conference championship game.

Franklin paused for a couple of seconds, choosing his words carefully, then said this:

“I have opinions that go all the way back to the year that we won the Big 10 championship,” he said. “But, again I’m focused on Michigan State. I do think, I do believe that it is the right thing to do to make sure that the best team in the Big 10 is is in the Big 10 championship games on the East side and on the West side, especially if they’re things that are outside of their control. I do believe that. I do believe that’s the right thing to do for our conference.”

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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