Franklin: “We Have Healthy Dialogue” With NCAA Monitors
After a dominant win over Rutgers last weekend, James Franklin was excited and ready to go in his weekly press conference in Beaver Stadium on Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights:
The program is “thrilled” by the recommendations, and has “healthy dialogue” with the NCAA monitors
Franklin opened up his press conference by talking about the athletic integrity monitorship the NCAA mandated as part of the sanctions in 2012. The monitor, Charles Scheeler, recommended yesterday that his overseeing of the program cease at the end of this calendar year.
“We’re thrilled by the recommendation of the early conclusion of the monitorship that’s been made and accepted, which is great,” Franklin said. “I think it’s another sign that the healing is taking place, and there are positive steps in the right direction. A lot of hard work by a lot of different people got us in that position, so I think that’s exciting for the Penn State athletic department as a whole.”
When asked about the reported “evidence of increased tension, and a mutual lack of trust, between the head football coach and University athletics compliance staff,” Franklin said it wasn’t “tension” necessarily, but a dialogue.
“The way I look at it is, I think we have healthy dialogue. I really do,” said Franklin. “I think we have a healthy dialogue, back and forth with the compliance office. We look forward to continuing to strengthen those relationships, representing Penn State the right way, representing Penn State Football the right way, and building a program that everybody can be proud of. The President [Eric Barron] talked about the tension, when it’s the right way, [being] a positive. We look at it the same way. I look forward to strengthening those relationships, building those relationships, over the rest of this season and the rest of my career. It’s no different from any other relationship on campus.”
The offensive line has made huge strides
After giving up ten sacks against Temple, the offensive line hasn’t allowed one in the next two games. The line also opened up holes and allowed the running backs to gash Rutgers’ league-leading rush defense for 330 yards on the ground. Franklin says the unit has made some strides, and will continue to get better.
“I think they’ve made real progress,” Franklin said. “The first week, we don’t really want to talk about it anymore. Everybody knows the details of the first week. But I think how we’ve been able to run the ball and protect our quarterback the last two weeks has the o-line playing at a much higher level. That’s the threat of the running game. That’s how we’re calling the game, and managing it a little bit. I think we need to continue to do that. It’s gonna be even more magnified this year. If anyone has gotten a chance to watch San Diego State already, they play what I would call a “chaos” defense. If you’ve ever seen those defenses where they don’t even line up, they just walk around and do all those things. They blitz from every angle possible, so we’re going to have to continue calling and managing the game the way we are right now. But I do see those guys taking a lot of pride, building confidence, playing faster and more aggressive.”
Anthony Zettel is just fine
Despite only having 2.5 tackles for loss and zero sacks through three games, Franklin isn’t worried about Anthony Zettel’s lack of impact on the stat sheet.
“There’s no doubt he has peoples’ attention,” says Franklin. “We go into games saying the same thing for the team we’re playing this week, ‘Is there a guy on offense, defense, special teams we feel like, if we’re not aware of them or have a plan for them, that they can change the game singlehandedly?’ That, I think, is Zettel. People are making sure they have double teams, they’re chipping him, they’re getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly, all those types of things. So I think that’s probably the biggest thing. We love Anthony, we think he’s doing a great job for us. Having him and AJ [Austin Johnson] on the field causes major stress.”