One of the first things Penn State coach James Franklin was asked following Saturday’s 20-12 loss at Ohio State was whether he thought it was fair if people viewed his 1-9 record against OSU as a “referendum” of him as a head coach.
Although he understood the question, he didn’t want to discuss it.
“I totally get it,” Franklin said. “That’s (Ohio State is) a good football team. What I’ll talk about is today. We lost to a really good football team on the road. We had our chances. We battled. We weren’t able to capitalize. Big picture things, I’ll be happy to talk about that at some point, but right now, I want to talk about we lost to a really good football team on the road.”
That “some point” turned out to be just three days later.
Franklin was given another chance to address his team’s lack of success against Ohio State over the years and his role in that, and this time, he answered.
“I’m actually glad you asked the question,” Franklin said at his weekly Tuesday presser, “because I wish I would have answered it on Saturday. Although I was thinking about that specific game at the time. I think it’s more than fair to judge me and my staff for all of it. That’s what it’s about. The good. The bad. The consistency. The lack of success in that game (Ohio State). All of it. That’s totally fair to be judged by all of those things.
“But I also think it’s important to judge the entire body of work. All of it. Which, I don’t need to get into right now because I don’t want it to come off the wrong way, but yeah, I think it’s totally fair to be judged based on all of those things. The whole body of work. The good and the bad.”
Later in the presser, Franklin was asked if he felt he’d done a well enough job publicly taking accountability for Penn State football’s setbacks in this time period, when fan support for endeavors such as name, image and likeness are paramount
“Ultimately, it’s always on me when things don’t go well,” Franklin said. “When things do go well, trust me. I had all the things. When I talk about our process of being prepared for that game and then, literally, what I was going to say in the press conference after getting that win it was going to be obviously to praise the players. What was the difference this year in being able to get that win? It was going to be about the players and some other things that I wanted to talk about. That didn’t happen.
“And when it doesn’t happen, it is ultimately on me and my responsibility. There’s no doubt about that. There’s no grey area about that whatsoever.
Franklin then emphasized the importance of holding himself accountable.
“Is it nuanced and are there a lot of things that go into that that ultimately, no one really cares about at that time? Yes.” Franklin said. “There’s no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is for me to take responsibility and do everything within my power to get it fixed. There’s no doubt about it.”