Coach James Franklin and Penn State are looking to go 1-0 for the fifth time this weekend, and Northwestern is in the way.
JAMES FRANKLIN ON BEAU PRIBULA
Franklin was asked how he felt about quarterback Beau Pribula and how the backup QB’s season has gone through four games.
The second-year in-state product from York has played in all four games. He’s been used primarily as a runner.
He’s run the ball 28 times. He’s thrown it 12. In running, he’s picking up 166 yards and two touchdowns. Saturday’s 31-0 massacre of Iowa was Pribula’s best running performance yet. He gained 55 yards on eight carries. That’s good for a 6.9-yard-per-carry average.
Franklin said Penn State’s coaching staff has been “very intentional” with Pribula’s usage.
“Very much like we were last year with Drew (Allar) in making sure we’re going to get Beau these reps,” he said. “Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, sometimes we’re putting him in a series before we’ve really made a change, allowing him to be in with the majority of the ones still because we think that’s important. Then after that series, make some more changes.”
Franklin added that Penn State would “like to get him involved more in a situation where he can actually run our offense.”
“Because I think right now, he’s being used primarily as a runner, but we feel like we can run the whole offense with him. But a lot of that is because it’s borderline four-minute offense, as well, and it’s something he also does well. So, it kind of allows us to do both, gain a hat in the run game, four-minute, and play to one of his strengths. But I do think it’s important that we continue to grow those other elements. He’s getting in, in practice a lot, obviously, but I think it’s been really good.”
JAMES FRANKLIN ON EXPLOSIVE PLAYS
During his question to Franklin, Ben Jones of StateCollege.Com noted that Penn State’s had 12 touchdown drives that lasted four minutes or more.
Penn State’s played four games this season.
Last season, Penn State had 13 such drives in 13 games.
But Penn State grinding out these drives also indicates that Penn State hasn’t been producing “explosive plays,” which are something that Franklin looks for.
Jones asked Franklin if Penn State’s offensive identity is something that allows for the explosive plays that add excitement.
“I’m always looking for balance,” Franklin said. “We’re always looking for balance, and right now I think we have shown the ability to run to win, and we’ve shown the ability to pass to win. I think we need to be able to show that we can grind it out to win, which we have, but I also think we need to show that we can be explosive to win, as well. We’ve done that at times but probably not as much as we’ve grinded it out, but I would also say that also plays a little bit to how people were playing us. We’ve got to be able to show that we can grind it out or be explosive, run the ball to win, pass the ball to win, and we need to continue to grow and develop in the explosive play area.”
James On Special Teams
One of the downsides in Penn State’s 38-15 Week 1 win over West Virginia at Beaver Stadium was that kicker Sander Sahaydak missed two field goals of less than 40 yards.
Since Week 1, Columbia transfer Alex Felkins has been the No. 1 guy.
Through three starts, Felkins is 5-for-7 overall and 3-for-4 from 40+.
Both of his misses have been 40 yards or more.
Overall, Franklin feels all three phases are playing well.
“I think there’s been flashes of really good things. I think our units are playing well and are playing fast and are playing aggressive and hard. I think we just need to be a little bit more consistent at the specialist positions in terms of our field goal percentage. I also would say we have gone for it on fourth down as a philosophy, coming into the season, that could have skewed those numbers with some chip-shot field goals that would have helped. Punting, I think you really have to talk about drive start with that because although we’re not, again, crushing the ball, it’s difficult for people to get returns on us. Our kickoffs, I think that’s been pretty consistent in terms of our philosophy of kicking it out and covering down. I think we’re good, but we need to take the next step from a consistency standpoint.”