EAST LANSING, Mich. — When an unexpected three-plus-hour weather delay hit Spartans Stadium, James Franklin didn’t have a game plan.
After all, he had never been a part of something like that in his 23 years of coaching. But he guaranteed he will have a plan moving forward if he’s ever faced with a similar situation.
“I’ll talk to sports scientists. I’ll talk to other coaches,” Franklin said in his postgame press conference. “I’ll go through every detail, what happened today, and we will make sure that we have the best plan possible to put our kids in a position to be successful.”
While the fourth-year head coach admitted the messy weather affected his team’s play, he didn’t use it as an excuse for the Nittany Lions’ 27-24 loss to the Spartans. He instead blamed Penn State’s inability to win the position battle and turnover battle.
With just under eight minutes left in the second quarter, the stadium called for a weather delay due to lightning in the area.
Quarterback Trace McSorley admitted the team didn’t know what was going on at first. All he knew for sure was it could be a while. He was right.
So the Nittany Lions treated it as a long halftime break.
When offensive lineman Connor McGovern learned the delay would be longer than two hours, he took off his equipment and knee braces to relax. The team even brought in Chick-fil-A for the players.
Franklin admitted it’s not ideal to be sitting in a visitor’s locker room for three hours and 22 minutes.
“I’ve never been a part of something like that before,” he said.
When the team heard the starting time had been moved up to 4:38 p.m. instead of the previously announced time of 5:30 p.m., they played music to boost energy and also made adjustments similar to how they do at halftime.
Franklin acknowledged the weather affected the game. Players were slipping all over the place and were covered in mud.
He highlighted one of the Nittany Lions’ three interceptions where a receiver slipped and the ball fell into the safety’s hands.
“For me to sit here and say it didn’t have an effect — it did,” Franklin said. “But they’re playing in the same conditions that we are, so I don’t want to sit here and say those things. … They handled it better than we did at the end of the day.”