Penn State and James Franklin are coming off a loss for the first time in 2023.
The loss wasn’t just any loss: It was another loss to Ohio State.
James Franklin is now 1-9 against OSU.
Usually, Franklin’s Tuesday presser is after a win, and the not many questions are centered around what happened in the previous game. That wasn’t the case this Tuesday.
Here are the key points from Franklin’s latest Tuesday session.
JAMES FRANKLIN ON THE IDENTY OF PSU OFFENSE
Last season, Penn State once again became known as a running team.
That was largely because of freshmen studs Nicholas Singleton (1,061 yards, 12 touchdowns, 7.7 YPC), and Kaytron Allen (867 yards, 10 TD, 5.2 YPC).
Despite still having Singleton and Allen, Penn State ran the ball just 18 times against Ohio State.
Although QB Drew Allar never found his rhythm, Penn State still threw it 42 times in Columbus.
Last season, Penn State offensive identity was clear. This year, people are asking questions.
For Franklin, much of the problem was the fact that Penn State went 1-for-16 on third down.
“I thought our identity was staying on schedule, converting on third downs and then either converting on third downs or going for it on fourth down situations,” Franklin said. “I feel like that had been our identity for the season. We have a lot of respect for their short yardage situations, excuse me, their short yardage defense and how they were defending it, but we did not do that. We did not either convert on third downs like we had been doing or put us in a situation where we were in fourth-and-short to go for it.
“I think to me, I guess what I’m saying is, our lack of success on third down really kind of changed the game. We just didn’t have enough opportunities. We couldn’t get into a flow. Didn’t get enough touches for people. When you have the lack of success that we had on third down, it’s hard to get anything going.”
SPEAKING OF THE RUNNING GAME
Franklin was asked if he felt Singleton and Allen got enough touches.
To this past Saturday, I felt after the game that those guys should have got more touches. When I looked at the run/pass, it wasn’t as far off as I thought it was, but when you keep going three-and-out, that’s an issue. You just don’t have enough touches,” Franklin said. “Just like earlier in the year I think we had a game where we had 45 minutes of possession time. Why? Because our defense was getting three-and-outs, and we were having a ton of long drives. So you are able to get the opportunities and touches for everybody. In terms of explosive plays, that’s a combination of us doing a better job of blocking on the perimeter. That’s a combination of us being able to make the safety miss. You either make a miss or breaking tackles. That’s also back to what I’ve discussed with you before about how people are defending us. When you have guys on the outside and you have the production on the outside that concerns people, it changes how people defend you. People are going to load the box up and not allow Kaytron and Nick to beat you until you prove you can do it on the outside with your quarterback and wide receivers and somewhat the tight ends. I think it’s a combination of those things more than anything else.”
JAMES FRANKLIN ON LACK OF SLEEP
There’s always a lot of film for coaches to dive into after a game.
But after a loss, watching film becomes even more strenuous.
Franklin didn’t pretend otherwise.
“You can probably tell from my voice,” he said, “we haven’t gotten a whole lot of sleep since that game, for a number of reasons. From a fixing the issues, coming up with the plan for this week, moving forward and all the things that have to happen moving forward on Sunday, I think our staff has done a good job of that. No, I think obviously after a loss, should your process stay consistent? Yes. But for me to sit here and say that after a loss, we don’t spend more time having discussions on what went wrong and watching the film more times than we normally would watch the film and sit here and say, okay, well, why did these things show up in this game and they had not shown up before? I wouldn’t be being transparent with you if I didn’t say we spent more time in the office, watching film, having hard discussions. That definitely has happened.”