STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) – In a weekly press conference yesterday Penn State’s head football coach James Franklin spoke about the No. 7 Nittany Lions Saturday matchup with No. 3 Ohio State.
“Tremendous challenge [and] also [a] tremendous opportunity,” said Franklin. “We’re looking forward to going to Columbus and play this game.”
Franklin says that the team will be using its combined experience in this matchup, including those that went through the 44-31 loss last season in Beaver Stadium.
“I think last year’s experience was a learning tool for our entire team, for all of our coordinators and all of our coaches,” Franklin said. ” I think we played really well for three quarters and didn’t finish.”
Franklin says some of the guys they are going to be watching out for are Buckeyes wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams, tight end Cade Stover and linebacker Tommy Eichenberg.
“A guy that I’ve got like a coach crush on, is No. 35, Tommy Eichenberg,” Franklin said. “Just a really good football player. He’s fun to watch. Physically he can make the plays. He’s obviously the quarterback of the defense”
Franklin also noted that Ohio State’s Harrison is a strong player, mainly due to his body control and ball skills. Franklin says Harrison’s consistency is another one of his top qualities.
The main thing Franklin will be relying on in the big matchup is what he has been preaching all season – complementary football.
“We’re playing really good complementary football on offense, defense, and special teams,” Franklin said. “I think that’s been really important for us.”
Franklin says that a lot of times important offensive stats are not exclusive to the offense, but also rely on good defense. It requires both sides of the ball to have quality performances for the team to be successful.
“A lot of times we’ll talk about an offensive stat but it’s really not an offensive stat, it’s a team stat,” Franklin said. “The offense, I think we may be leading the conference in points right now. That’s not an offensive stat. Our defense is putting our offense in a position to have short fields. That’s a team stat.”
Franklin puts a lot of emphasis on getting better each week. Right now, he believes the Nittany Lions are doing that in their complementary football focus.
“I think we’re probably more complementary and more balanced than we’ve been in the past,” Franklin said.
Saturday’s game will kick off at noon.