Ohio State Loss Serves As Harsh Reminder Of Penn State’s Status
No. 9 Penn State football suffered its first loss at Beaver Stadium in nearly three calendar years when No. 4 Ohio State came from behind to win 27-26 on Saturday night.
Head coach James Franklin is known across the country for the level of emotion he regularly shows, and this was on full display throughout his postgame press conference.
Franklin took full responsibility for Penn State’s final offensive play call of the game, which was a run to Miles Sanders on 4th and 5. He also acknowledged that his team still has a lot of room for improvement, even with the amount of growth it saw in his first four seasons as head coach.
“The reality is, we have gone from an average football team to a good football team to a great football team,” he said. “We have worked hard to do those things, but we are not an elite football team yet. As hard as we have worked to go from average to good, and from good to great – the work that it’s going to take to get to an elite program, it’s going to be just as hard as the ground and the distance that we have already traveled.”
Franklin said that he’ll make sure that nobody in his program is satisfied with being great in order to make that next step to that elite status. He said that growth only happens in uncomfortable situations, and that doing all the little things the right way is the difference between being a great team and an elite one.
“Right now, we are comfortable being great,” he said. “I am going to make sure that everyone in our program — including myself — is very uncomfortable because you only grow in life when you’re uncomfortable. We are going to break through and become an elite program by doing all the little things. Lose by one point [to Ohio State] this year, lose by one point last year, you make that up by doing all the little things.”
According to Franklin, those little things extend far beyond the football field and include not settling for a “B” in classes and being on time for every single class and team meeting, among others. His players seem to have gotten the message, including senior cornerback Amani Oruwariye.
“He was referring to those little details,” Oruwariye said of Franklin’s postgame remarks. “Just little things that might make us uncomfortable and get us out of our comfort zone, not even in the game, but in practice, throughout our lives. We have to do that to become elite. We’re a great team, but we have to take that next step.”
Starting safety Garrett Taylor said that he and his teammates need to work even harder and trust the coaching staff to make that jump from a great program to an elite one.
“Everyone needs to take whatever they’re working on and work that much harder,” Taylor said. “If you think you’re working hard, you have to take that next step and do that little bit more. Everyone’s got to buy in, don’t fight the coaches, and trust that the coaches are doing everything in the interests of getting you better.”
Franklin added that he plans on ramping up his already-intense coaching style in order to help his team become an elite program.
“You guys thought I was a psychopath in the past? You have no idea,” he said. “I’m not saying that from a negative standpoint. I’m not a negative guy, but I am going to make sure that, in our program, that we do everything right, and we grow every single day and we challenge ourselves every single day and we get uncomfortable.”
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