Penn State Football head coach James Franklin met the media for his weekly press conference Tuesday, and gave Nittany Lions fans a glimpse into this week’s home opener against Ohio, plus a seemingly renewed sense of focus from the head coach.
Here are three takeaways from Penn State Football coach James Franklin this week
Franklin’s Renewed Sense of Focus Continued
Franklin made mention of dropped passes in the Purdue game Week 1 multiple times over the course of his time with the media. He mentioned it as things that just cannot happen, not calling out players individually, but more so by position group.
However, Franklin then was asked about cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and his performance in West Lafayette.
Franklin lauded Porter, and even said as a secondary they credited them with 16 pass breakups, which is more then the official box score from the game. He then called out Porter for dropping a would-be pick-six early in the game, referencing how the game could have been totally different had he made that play. Franklin cited that is the next step in the cornerbacks progression in becoming the player they all think he can be.
The head coach was not necessarily critical of players, but his resounding tone when talking about dropped passes, and ways to get better continued a noticeable trend with Franklin. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder, certainly not happy with how the last two seasons have played out.
2. Abdul Carter is a Major Factor at the Middle Linebacker Position
Freshman linebacker Abdul Carter was thrown out of the game Thursday night for a targeting penalty, after just his first, and only, play of the game on defense.
Carter did appear on one other play on special teams, but that was the extent of which we saw number 11 that night.
When asked about the middle linebacker battle between Elsdon and King, Franklin was quick to point out that they were hoping to have Carter enter that rotation as well and anticipated him playing more than he did.
Franklin went so far as to say that the targeting penalty threw a wrinkle in their plans, and they had to adjust on the fly.
Expect Carter to play a ton of valuable snaps this Saturday as the Nittany Lions host Ohio, and expect him to potentially be a major factor in the Penn State defense moving forward this season.
We have heard nothing but great news coming out of camp about the freshman backer and this is further evidence of what Franklin and this staff thinks of Carter and his potential.
We Will See Freshman Quarterback Drew Allar Early on Saturday
The head coach seems to remember last year all too well, when a Sean Clifford injury against Iowa not only cost Penn State Football a big game, but sent their season into a downward spiral.
Franklin made note that it is likely we see backup quarterback Drew Allar on Saturday, but not just in mop up duty if the Nittany Lions are up big late in the game. He said he would like to get him in in the early portion of the game, when the outcome is still in the balance, which will likely come as a surprise to many, but is probably a smart move after what happened last season.
Last season, the Lions took down Wisconsin on the road in week one and came home and played Ball State.
Taking care of business, they got the backup quarterback Ta’quan Roberson in the game for a few drives in the fourth quarter, even seeing him throw a touchdown pass. We saw though that that was not enough to have him ready to come into the game against Iowa.
Allar was forced into action for a series against Purdue while Clifford was in the locker room and looked poised, and made a few really nice passes. The more chances he gets to do this the better moving forward as you never know when his number will be needed to be called upon.