What James Franklin is saying …

Penn St Iowa Football
James Franklin says “there’s still a lot of room for growth and improvement ” on the offensive line.

Here are some highlights from Penn State football coach James Franklin’s weekly Tuesday teleconference:

On speaking to his team about social issues: “That’s what I want our team to do is to be able to have dialogue and be able to have love for one another and support for one another and respect each other —  not always agree, but respect. That’s what we’re trying to do on our team, with also trying to keep the balance that we need to get ready and to get prepared for Indiana. But you need to balance both of them, because that’s part of our job, too.”

On the game-winning touchdown pass, where the execution was lacking: “If you watch that ball thrown, there’s like eight people going for that ball — defensive players, offensive players. Our distribution wasn’t really good. We’re kind of short-cutting routes, rolling routes. We’re not getting to our depth. So that’s why you saw way too many people near the ball. When you get into the red zone, all the details are magnified because you’ve just got less field and you’ve got less space.”

On giving Saquon Barkley a rest: “Saquon is a guy that is very, very honest with us. We’ve got a special player and we’re going to use him. When he feels he needs a blow, then he’ll tap the helmet. He comes out and he’s getting some water. We’ll have a stoppage of play and Joe [offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead] looks over and goes, ‘Saquon, you ready? You ready, Saquon?’ Third time: ‘Saquon, are you ready to get back in there?’”

On wide receiver and former Glassboro High School star Juwan Johnson: “He’s a guy that takes a lot of pride in working on his craft. You walk through the weight room and he’s in there getting extra work. You look out there on the field, he’s getting extra work. He’s with Trace [McSorley] watching film. He’s just a guy that really showed up on campus very mature but has grown in so many ways in understanding what he has to do to be successful at this level.”

On why Penn State gained 579 total yards against Iowa but scored just 21 points: “Yards were good, but in terms of points, I think a really good play to look at was third-and-2, 12:53 to go in the fourth quarter, we run Trace [McSorley]. If you go back and watch the play, if we hold our blocks for a half-second longer, Trace goes at the very least for a 40-yard run if not a touchdown. We’re got to sustain blocks a little bit longer.”

On the progress of the offensive line: “Can they be better? Yes, no doubt about it. Will they get better? Yes, there’s no doubt about it. I’d say probably about where we thought they were going to be, but I did think there’s still a lot of room for growth and improvement there up front. I think that’s what we’re going to need to happen in every area for us to continue playing and finding a way to get W’s on Saturdays.”