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Tuesdays With James

Tuesdays With James: Penn State HC on Week 1-Week 2 Improvement, D-Line, More

Penn State went 1-0 last week and is looking to go 1-0 this week against Delaware.

Before every game, coach James Franklin addresses reporters about the week ahead.

Here’s some of what Franklin had to say this week.

JAMES ON WEEK 1 TO WEEK 2 IMPROVEMENT

Some say that the biggest improvements a college football team makes during a season take place between Week 1 and Week 2.

With the presser’s first question, Rich Scarcella of the Reading Eagle asked Franklin if he believed this to be the case.

In his answer, Franklin said that the best teams can adjust without having to lose a game. 

“I think your first couple weeks in the season, I think you can make significant strides, and you need to make significant strides,” Franklin said. ‘I think that’s what the best programs do. And I think the best programs improve and learn and make corrections after wins. They don’t have to have setbacks, wake-up calls, to be able to do it. Now, that’s easier said than done. But yeah, I think if you look at us, kind of some of the things that I just hit on, the areas for improvement. 

What are some of those “areas of improvement?”

“We need to be more consistent on special teams,” he said”. We need to create more turnovers on defense. Then on offense, we need to improve on our third down percentage and stay on the field. The best offenses get most of their first downs on first and second down, which we did do, but when you’re able to combine that with also being efficient on third down, then you’re difficult to deal with. The areas I talked about, areas for improvement with us, is really, I guess, what we’d be focused on, saying what we’d like to see in these next couple weeks, us build on the things we did well and improve in the areas that need to be addressed.”

JAMES ON THE INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE

West Virginia ran for 146 yards against Penn State, and RB CJ Donaldson ran for 81 on 18 carries and a touchdown. 

WVU’s O-line might well be one of the better ones Penn State faces in 2023, and it looked like the D-line struggled at times. 

But Franklin didn’t seem discouraged. 

“We needed to get off the field a little bit more on defense,” he said, “but we played really good defense when it mattered most and were able to get off the field. Defensively, if you look, they got the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly, which was smart. There wasn’t a whole lot of traditional dropback-pass.

Franklin said in Saturday’s postgame presser that he was impressed with WVU QB Garrett Greene, and reaffirmed that Tuesday. 

“The timing, the one throw he made to the tight end on the seam, that ball comes out way

before the receiver is even looking, so I was impressed with that.”

Franklin also complimented West Virginia’s playcalling. 

“They were smart. You look, they had their tight ends chipping

our defensive ends a lot. I think to me that shows respect for our defensive line and I have a lot of confidence in that position and how they’re being coached.”

Overall, Franklin’s confident with what Penn State’s D-Line will do in 2023.

“I think we’re going to end up having a very productive year up front,” he said. “That’s going to allow our defense to have the type of success that we need to have.”

JAMES ON MILLER TIME

Franklin spoke highly of second-year CB Cam Miller in last Tuesday’s presser. 

This Tuesday, after Miller picked up four tackles, including a tackle for loss, Franklin continued to speak highly. 

“Obviously his role will continue to grow,” Franklin said… I think Cam is really kind of that guy who’s showing up in a lot of different ways, special

teams, defensively, and is going to continue to grow. He’s a guy that I think is a lot like some guys that we’ve had in the past like Jonathan Sutherland, where every single day this guy practices and meets and prepares like it’s the Super Bowl, and he’s going to maximize his time here at Penn State and have a really good career. I think he’s a really good example for young players in our program.”

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