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Tuesdays With James: Franklin Discusses Tengwall, Freshmen RBs, More in Weekly PC

No. 16 Penn State is 5-1 this season, and coach James Franklin loves to stress his team’s goal of going “1-0” every week.

Franklin’s team failed to do that for the first time in the 2022 season this past Saturday, when Michigan tamed the Nittany Lions, 41-17.

With that debacle over, Penn State is looking to finish a week undefeated for the sixth time in 2022. 

Penn State caps off its week at home against Minnesota in the school’s annual White Out game.

Franklin has his weekly press conference Tuesday in Beaver Stadium’s media room. “Tuesdays With James” will highlight some of the session’s key points. 

JAMES ON MINNESOTA, MICHIGAN COMPARISONS

Michigan likes to run the ball, and did it quite successfully against Penn State, going for 418 yards, four touchdowns and 7.6 yards per carry on the ground.

Minnesota also likes to run the ball, and features one of America’s best running backs in Mohamed Ibrahim.

In five games this season, Ibrahim has 694 yards, nine touchdowns and averages 6.7 yards per carry.

Ibrahim is a star, and Franklin understands that his defense must be better against the run.

He also expects Minnesota to try to replicate what Michigan did.

“I think there are similarities and I think we also know this is a copycat business, right?” Franklin said. “So people are going to watch the film (of the Michigan game) and take some ideas. Minnesota wants to run the ball. They want to constrict the life out of the game in terms of time of possession, all those types of things.”

“So, yeah, we’re going to have to be ready to defend the run and the play-action passes that come off it for them. They’ve got a really, really productive back that does a great job within their system. So that will be a challenge, no doubt about it. We are going to need to be ready. The corrections we made on Sunday from the previous game as well as getting prepared for what Minnesota is going to try to do, obviously, is going to be a big storyline in this game.”

NICK AND THE FATMAN 

Just six games into their college careers, true freshmen running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron “Fatman” Allen are already two of Penn State’s most important players.

Although the two combined for 35 yards on 12 carries at Michigan, their numbers for the season are much more pleasing.

Singleton and Allen have combined for 801 yards, nine touchdowns and average more than six yards per carry collectively.

Singleton and Allen have room to grow, as all freshmen do, but Franklin feels they’re better than they were when the season and, thus, their careers began.

“I think they’re ahead,” Franklin said. “They’ve played a ton of football for us. They’ve learned a lot through both good experiences and challenging experiences and adversity.”

Franklin said the two freshmen have found out “how physical and challenging” the Big Ten is, especially the Big Ten East, and feels that knowledge will help them this week.

“Those experiences are valuable for them,” he said. “I’m a huge believer in the experience that they gained on the field from a physical perspective, a mental perspective, that they’re growing every single day.”

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH TENGWALL?

Landon Tengwall, Penn State’s regular starting left guard, hurt himself during warmups before the Michigan game, and didn’t play as a result.

Hunter Nourzad started in his place.

Will Tengwall play Saturday?

We don’t know yet.

“So, it’s Tuesday, Franklin said. “We haven’t practiced yet. It’s not a season-ending injury, so I won’t address it unless it’s a season-ending injury. We have not practiced yet and I’m not sure if he will be available or not.”

Franklin said Penn State is “hopeful” for Tengwall to be ready for Minnesota.

“He was in getting treatment on Sunday, getting treatment on Monday, and we’ll see, kind of, where he is at end of the week,” he said. “He’s also a guy that played a lot of football for us, so hopefully, if we can get him some practice reps this week, then he has a chance to go.”

“i just, again, I don’t have a whole lot of information on Tuesday when it comes to injuries unless they’re season-ending injuries.

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