During football season, Penn State fans circle Tuesdays as the day the head coach gives his weekly press conference.
This was the case when Joe Paterno was in charge, when Bill O’Brien ran the show and for the first nine and a half seasons of the James Franklin era, that aspect of Penn State football has stayed the same.
But it might be changing.
During his post-practice media availability Wednesday– another weekly ritual– Franklin said Penn State has “had discussions” about moving his weekly presser to Monday. A part of that reason is so when losses like the one at Ohio State this past Saturday take place, Penn State can stop rehashing it sooner.
“So we can move on and not keep doing this,” Franklin said, “not keep going back and talking about it. I get that you guys ask the questions, but for us, one of the ways to move on is to stop talking about it, and the hard part is, you guys want to talk about it. Which I get it. I totally get it. “
“But it’s kind of sending mixed messages, right? The best way to move on is to focus on the next opponent, learn from it, which we did on Saturday night, which we did all day Sunday. But then it’s time to move on to the next opponent. Learn the lessons from the game, make the corrections, and then pour all of our energy into finding a way to get a win against Indiana and playing well so we can build that confidence and take it through the rest of the season.”
Franklin said it’s “not always fun” for him to come to his weekly presser.
There have certainly been times when Franklin’s had fun Tuesdays such as the Sept. 26 presser when he asked each beat writer who had a question about their coffee preferences.
Even when Franklin isn’t enjoying his presser, he feels it’s productive for the program because “it allows the rest of the staff to focus on the job at hand and move on.”
“Now, are we completely in a submarine?” he said. “No. But I think on Sunday, just like a lot of people, we were in there and there were tough film sessions, tough conversations, a lot of transparency and a lot of honesty, really good discussion from the entire staff and that is hard to hear sometimes, but it’s also needed. So it was a challenging night and it was a challenging next day. Again, like I’ve mentioned before, you kind of move on.”
There have been times when Franklin’s quotes have been taken out of context, and he feels if he answers a question wrong, it can be “divisive.”
“They can be divisive for the coaches and the players, they can be divisive– a lot of times, as we’ve all learned, people only hear my answer, they don’t hear the question,” he said. “I don’t want to ever say anything that’s divisive between the offense and the defense or a position group feeling like they’re being called out. We do those things behind closed doors, but the reality is, there’s room for growth there, and there’s some times where things happen where you guys don’t know about where a guy runs the wrong route or the wrong assignment. I’m not going to come out and say those things… but those things happen, and those things may limit playing time or opportunity, but I’m not going to come into the press conference and necessarily say that when it doesn’t necessarily make sense to you guys.”
Overall, there are a lot of difficulties that come with Franklin’s job, and saying the right things to the press in a way that gives them what they need without causing problems within the program is one of them.
“That’s the challenge as the head coach,” he said. “In the press conferences, how do I answer your questions so you guys feel like I’m giving you what you need to do your jobs, but not do anything that’s going to cause issues in my locker room? That’s literally the balance constantly. How can I answer your questions, but most of your questions put me in that position? So that’s the challenge.”
Franklin didn’t say whether his post-practice availabilities will be altered, nor if the weekly player availabilities will change.