James Franklin’s teams have won a lot of games in his time at Penn State.
His overall record at Penn State is 86-37 and he’s 54-31 in the Big Ten.
This year’s team is good, too, having won eight of its first nine games, the most recent being Saturday’s 51-15 win at Maryland. But the way Penn State’s gotten some of its wins has drawn criticism from fans and media for the way its won some of its games.
Last week, Penn State beat Indiana by nine as a 32-point favorite. Days later, at his post-Wednseday practice presser, Franklin made it clear that he felt winning was to be appreciated.
“I mean, there’s teams that are ranked at number one, number two, number three team in the country, and they struggle to get a win,” he said. “And no one kind of talks about that. But when we struggle to get a win, or it’s not as pretty, then everybody’s, like, overly concerned, in my opinion. It’s a long season. You’re not going to dominate every single week. You got to find ways to win, however, you do it. And then you got to learn from the wins and you got to learn from the challenges, and you got to learn from the setbacks and be very honest and transparent with yourself and your team.”
Also Wednesday, one of Franklin’s players, safety KJ Winston, said he didn’t feel like the team played its brand of football against Indiana.
Three days later, Penn State was much more convincing.
In his postgame presser, Franklin was asked if he felt Penn State won this game on its terms, with Winston’s comments being used for reference.
Franklin said he “disagreed with that,” without being 100% specific as to what “that” was: The question or Winston’s comments?
In any case, Franklin went on.
“I mean, I get it,” he said. “We’re all just totally focused on us. You look at the scoreboard, you look at games. There are people battling and losing games they’re not supposed to lose or battling every single week. We’re just totally focused on Penn State. I get that.
“But at the end of the day, it’s a long season. You have to find a way to get wins. You have to find a way to get wins. We got a win last week, we got better, and we got better this week. I think that’s something that’s really important.”
James Franklin after Penn State heat Maryland, 51-15: “I think we take winning for granted. You come into a press conference after we win and it doesn’t feel like it.” pic.twitter.com/aCl8gzHiXg
— Mike Poorman (@PSUPoorman) November 5, 2023
Franklin said Penn State’s won over the years, but “not as much as everybody wants.”
“I get that,” he said. “I also think we’ve taken winning for granted a little bit. We would win games, and you come into the press conference, and it doesn’t necessarily feel like it.”
Franklin then said that although he can’t control how the outside world views his team’s wins, he has much more control over how people and his program view them.
“I can’t control the press conference,” he said. “I can’t control outside of the press conference, but I can control the Lasch Building. I want people to feel good after wins. That doesn’t mean we don’t have things to correct and learn from and get better, but I want to feel good for wins because they’re hard to get and there are examples that you guys could use as well every week of people that don’t win the way they’re supposed to win or don’t win at all.”
If Penn State beats No. 3 Michigan next week, nobody will take it for granted.