Penn State’s James Franklin on Noah Cain’s Michigan workload, Michigan State’s trick plays | TribLIVE.com
Penn State

Penn State’s James Franklin on Noah Cain’s Michigan workload, Michigan State’s trick plays

1843476_web1_AP19293130816049
AP
Penn State coach James Franklin celebrates a touchdown catch by wide receiver KJ Hamler during the second half against Michigan in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. Penn State won 28-21.

STATE COLLEGE — Spartan Stadium has not been kind to James Franklin during his time at Penn State.

The Nittany Lions are 0-2 against Michigan State in East Lansing, losing 55-16 in 2015 and 27-24 two years ago in the infamous weather-delay game (3.5 hours). But this is a different PSU team and the sixth-ranked Lions (7-0, 4-0) are looking to make it through October with an unbeaten record.

Franklin, in his sixth year at Penn State, held his weekly news briefing with the media Tuesday afternoon inside Beaver Stadium. Here are some of the key takeaways …

* The Lions are preparing for some Michigan State trickery. The Spartans rallied to beat PSU 21-17 last season and a Michigan State first-half touchdown drive was greatly aided by a 26-yard run by Connor Heyward with a fake punt and a 36-yard option pass from Heyward to wideout Cam Chambers two plays later. Franklin said his Lions will prepare for fake punts, onside kicks, fake field goals, etc.

“They just always seem to have something in their package,” Franklin said, adding, “we need to spend time on all of those looks this week.”

* Penn State Players of the Week for the Michigan game included some new faces. Wideout KJ Hamler (two touchdowns), the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, was named PSU Offensive Player of the Week along with veteran guard Steven Gonzalez. The defensive winners were outside linebacker Micah Parsons and cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields. The Lions’ coaches picked speedy coverage specialist Dan Chisena as the top special teams player after he logged two tackles vs. the Wolverines.

* Franklin offered up a detailed explanation why talented true freshman back Noah Cain saw limited action (five carries, 19 yards) vs. Michigan. PSU continues to rotate Cain, Devyn Ford, Journey Brown and Ricky Slade into the feature back role. Cain had run for 100-plus yards in the Lions’ two games prior to Michigan.

“Yeah, there’s always things that you (media) guys are missing and that’s no disrespect to you guys,” Franklin said. “But we’re out at practice and in meetings for 16-plus hours a day, and out at practice and watching everything, and you guys get 20 minutes a week to watch practice and just the games. There’s a thousand points that go into decision-making.

“But we have four backs that we really like and we’ll continue to play those guys. We’re very pleased with know a. Actually, (I) had dinner with Noah (Monday) night. My wife was busting his chops. He’s been great. He’s been really good. We’re as pleased with him as you guys are, and we’re as pleased with him as the fans are, as well, but we also have a lot of confidence in those three other guys, as well.”

* Special teams penalties now have Franklin’s full attention. Penn State had a 100-yard kickoff return by KJ Hamler against Michigan wiped out by a holding penalty.

“I think the biggest thing we have to do is eliminate the penalties on special teams,” Franklin said. “We’ve had too many penalties on special teams. You know, that — obviously the penalty on Saturday, we had a kickoff return or for a touchdown on a double-team. You don’t need to hold on a double-team. We didn’t have the guy blocked, anyway. Wasn’t going to make the tackle. We’ve just got to be smart because those penalties are impactful.”

College Videos
Categories: Sports | Penn State
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.