James Franklin Discusses Challenges Of 2020 Season On College GameDay
Penn State football head coach James Franklin joined ESPN’s College GameDay Saturday morning from Beaver Stadium.
Franklin sat down with Maria Taylor to discuss the challenges surrounding the 2020 season, Penn State’s goals coming off the Indiana loss, and of course what the Nittany Lions need to do to beat No. 3 Ohio State.
“It’s been unusual, but you gotta embrace it,” Franklin said. “We came in to practice in the stadium, in this type of setting, as much as we possibly could. We’re fortunate in the Big Ten to be able to have at least our families here, I think that’s been great for our players to at least get a little bit of normalcy.”
The head coach also discussed the challenges specific to his team so far, most notably the lack of several star players. The Nittany Lions are without Micah Parsons after his decision to opt out in August, Journey Brown could potentially miss the whole season due to a medical condition, and Noah Cain will miss the season due to an injury.
With Brown and Cain out, Penn State will need to rely on young running backs Devyn Ford, Keyvone Lee, and Caziah Holmes to carry the load.
“To see a guy like Devyn Ford step up, and we’re gonna need him to do that at the running back position, as well as the two true freshman that we’re now relying on,” Franklin said. “Again, this 2020. There’s a lot of challenges that come with it, but our guys have embraced it. I thought we had a really good week, bounced back from obivously a very, very challenging game last week.”
Even after the brutal loss in the season opener, Franklin added that his players and coaches did a great job at practice this week. He explained that he wants his team to “focus on the positives” entering a battle against one of the best teams in college football.
Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, they’ll play without what’s normally one of the best atmospheres in college football. Besides families of the student-athletes, there won’t be anyone but cardboard cutouts in Beaver Stadium Saturday night.
“Obviously our gamedays are as good as anywhere in the country,” Franklin said. “To come in here and try to act like we can make up for that, it’s not reality.”
While the lack of fans will be tough, Franklin will still get support from his family at home. His wife, Fumi, and two daughters, Addison and Shola, joined the end of the broadcast to surprise the head coach.
“It’s great to see them,” Franklin said. “They’re not with me this year so obviously it’s great to see my daughters and my wife.”
Franklin and the rest of his team will try to take down Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Beaver Stadium. The matchup will be broadcast on ABC.
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Provost Nick Jones said Penn State doesn’t plan on mandating vaccines ahead of the fall semester.
Students can begin selecting alternative grades starting Wednesday, May 12.
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