James Franklin: Penn State To Play ‘Purest Form Of Football’ Without Crowds

This year’s football season is going to be unlike any other Beaver Stadium has seen.

Penn State Athletics already announced that no fans or tailgating will be allowed this season — besides cardboard cutouts, of course.

Despite Governor Tom Wolf’s decision to allow outdoor sporting events to fill to 15% capacity, the only folks Penn State is trying to bring to games as of now are the parents of student-athletes.

“I think the Big Ten would like to have the parents at the games, so we’re expecting that to happen now, especially now in Pennsylvania we think we can make that work,” James Franklin said at his post-practice media availability Wednesday night.

Franklin added that since this delayed schedule was announced, he and Penn State Athletics’ priority has been getting parents into games.

“We’re excited about that, and then all the rest of that stuff is kind of outside of our control,” Franklin said.

Despite how strange it will be to have a nearly empty Beaver Stadium when a team like Ohio State rolls into town, Franklin says he and his team are looking on the bright side.

“In some ways we’re gonna get back to the purest form of football,” Franklin said. “You’re playing in some field connected to a school or a church, and it’s your parents that are sitting there watching, and it’s the purest form of football.”

Franklin added that the lack of crowds will also remind him of his earliest days in the sport.

“I remember sitting in the car with my mom driving me to the game and she’s smoking a Paul Mall and I got my full equipment on, everything but my helmet sitting next to her,” Franklin said. “You get out and you run out of the car with the full uniform on, and put your helmet on and get going.”

Although his players are now in uncharted territory, Franklin hopes they’ll take something away from the unique experience.

“I’m hoping that our players do two things. Number one, that we get back to that special time when the game was just so pure. You just played it for the love of the game,” Franklin added. “I think there’s also that part, we’re so blessed to be here at Penn State and play in front of 100,000 fans. I don’t think anybody takes it for granted, but if you did, this is kind of a wake-up call to all of us.”

Penn State won’t get to play in this unique Beaver Stadium setting to begin the season. Instead, the Nittany Lions will hit the road to take on Indiana on October 24.

Franklin’s team will kick things off at home against the Buckeyes on Halloween. Penn State will also host Maryland, Iowa, and Michigan State.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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