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Mondays With James: Franklin Takes High Road on Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

Michigan has become the center of the college football world for all of the wrong reasons over the last couple weeks due to a sign-stealing investigation,but James Franklin didn’t have much to say about that

UM staffer Connor Stalions, who was in the middle of the investigation, resigned last week. There’s been a lot of speculation over whether Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will even be on the sidelines on Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

But even though there’s plenty to talk about within the Michigan program, Franklin took the high road during his weekly press conference, which was held for the first time on a Monday after switching from Tuesdays.

“I know these questions are going to come this week,” Franklin said. “I’m going to focus on the things we can control. We always have to have a plan in terms of what we do and how we communicate to our players, how we communicate during games. But I’m going to leave it at that, because less is more.”

Rumors were swirling over the weekend that Harbaugh would be suspended Monday, but reports surfaced from ESPN’s Pete Thamel Monday morning that Michigan would not be punished for at least the next 48 hours.

Franklin also was asked about Harbaugh’s status for the weekend, but declined to comment on the matter.

“I’m focused on all the stuff I see on film,” Franklin said. “That’s what we’re focused on. Their players, their schemes.”

JAMES FRANKLIN ON GAME TIMES

Although he wasn’t asked about Saturday’s game  being a noon kickoff, Franklin mentioned that there are advantages to the noon kick rather than a primetime game or even a 3:30 kick like many fans would have liked to see with a game of this magnitude.

“I actually think the 7:00 games, the White Outs and things like that, they can be a little sleepy,” Franklin said. “It’s late at night and guys are tired. I think the 12:00 game is a much better environment between the coffee and the sugar from the donuts, our fans will be ready to go.”

Franklin said fans creating a hostile environment will be a key Saturday.

“When you can get penalties, and get (Michigan) behind the sticks, they have not had to play that way a whole lot this year,” he said. “That will be a big part in the game.”

FRANKLIN ON STOPPING BLAKE CORUM 

Controlling Michigan’s run game may be Penn State’s toughest job Saturday as it deals with returning All-American Blake Corum.

Corum rushed for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, and is off to a tremendous start this season through the first nine games. He has 661 rushing yards and 16 TDs so far in 2023.

“They do a really good job of getting a hat on a hat, being able to get their six blockers on our six most dangerous defenders,” Franklin said. “I think Corum has tremendous vision. He’s patient. Once he does decide to go, he’s got the ability to burst through the hole. Even though he’s an undersized guy, he’s a powerful guy and he’s always falling forward.”

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