At his weekly press conference Tuesday in Beaver Stadium’s media room, James Franklin didn’t get too specific about the skirmish that took place between Penn State and Michigan in the tunnel at halftime of Saturday’s game at Michigan Stadium.
A day after a video surfaced of a furious Franklin screaming at somebody unknown, Neil Rudel of the Altoona Mirror asked Franklin about the situation.
— The Winged Helmet (@TWH_Chris) October 17, 2022
As expected, he didn’t say who he was yelling at or reveal any specific details about what happened.
But he did speak his mind on the matter to a degree.
Michigan and Penn State got into it after halftime.
Nothing like a lil tussle in the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/42VxGUrAzL
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 15, 2022
Franklin, and many who saw the skirmish, feel it was a product of Michigan Stadium’s tunnel setup.
“The one tunnel is a problem,” Franklin told reporters. “It’s a problem and has been.”
This seems like it would be a common occurrence at Michigan Stadium, as both teams exit the field through the same tunnel.
— Chris Washington (@jcwashington) October 18, 2022
What moron designs a locker room like that.
— Scotty Does Know (@Scotts021) October 18, 2022
— The Millman (@millman85) October 18, 2022
In a 27-second clip posted by The Winged Helmet, a Michigan-themed social media account, Franklin exchanges words with somebody for the first six seconds and seems to calm down for the next seven.
Then, things got more interesting.
“Would you stop talking?” Franklin can clearly be heard saying to an unknown person. “We’ll handle our guys; you handle your guys. It’s this fucking guy.”
It’s not clear who Franklin was yelling at or who “the guy” he was referring to was.
Franklin then yelled, “just stop talking to us,” before a game official tried to put him at ease.
The skirmish ended up doing nothing to help Penn State. The team got outscored 25-3 in the second half.
Franklin feels the Big Ten needs to enforce a rule to stop future halftime skirmishes from happening.
“To me, we need to put a policy in place from a conference perspective,” Franklin said. “In my mind, that’s going to stop it. We’re not the first team to kind of get into a jawing match in the tunnel. For me, I want to focus on getting my team in their locker room and not jawing back and forth.”
Last November, Michigan and Ohio State had words for each other at halftime of their rivalry game.
Chaos in the tunnel between Ohio State & Michigan pic.twitter.com/HedljphBq1
— Josh Pate (@LateKickJosh) November 27, 2021
As a coach, all Franklin wants to do at halftime is get his squad into the locker room and focus on the second half.
He doesn’t want any nonsense on the way there.
“There really should be a policy that the first team that goes in, there’s a buffer,” he said. “Because if not, this team starts talking, this team starts jawing back and forth, and what can happen is something bad is going to happen before we put in the policy.”
Franklin suggested a 1-2 minute buffer to solve the problem and called the solution “really easy.”
Until something like that appears, he sees more ugly incidents and possibly worse outcomes.
“We’re not the first team that’s had issues like that,” Franklin said. To me, under the current structure, we won’t be the last.
This week, Penn State will focus on Saturday’s White Out game against Minnesota at Beaver Stadium Saturday, Oct. 22.