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NEWS
October 23, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - James Franklin's brain constantly churns. Frequently waking up in the middle of the night, Franklin said he has a reputation for texting fellow coaches or administrators at 3 or 4 in the morning about potential play-calls or how practices are run. The first-year Penn State coach also acknowledged having audio recorders and notebooks beside his bed to capture his middle-of-the-night epiphanies. Why does he do this? The coach wants to make sure he doesn't forget anything, something he can't afford to do. Because when it comes to life - including, but not limited to, football - Franklin knows he can get better.
SPORTS
October 23, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The presumption for the last month is that the feeling within the Penn State football program hasn't been very positive, what with the Nittany Lions having lost games before each of their two bye weeks. If you told that to James Franklin, however, he would say that you are wrong. With the Lions preparing for Saturday night's game at Beaver Stadium against 13th-ranked Ohio State, Franklin exuded positivity and confidence Tuesday at his weekly news conference as his team tries to bounce back from losses to Northwestern and Michigan that saw it score just one touchdown and 19 total points.
SPORTS
October 22, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Larry Johnson earned a reputation as an outstanding recruiter, an elite defensive line coach, and an excellent role model for college football players during his 18 seasons as a Penn State assistant - 16 to Joe Paterno and two to Bill O'Brien. But when the athletic administration of the university looked to hire a new head coach, officials twice passed over him in favor of O'Brien in 2012 and James Franklin last January. Johnson then said goodbye to Happy Valley, not knowing where his next job would be. A new job, however, surfaced almost immediately when Ohio State coach Urban Meyer asked him to become assistant head coach and defensive line coach, meaning fans of Johnson over the years will be shaking their heads Saturday night to see him on the visitors sideline at Beaver Stadium wearing the scarlet and gray of the Buckeyes.
SPORTS
October 9, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Penn State lines up Saturday night at Michigan for its first game in two weeks, it could see a Wolverines team in disarray with its coach on the hot seat, or one that could ride the noise from a crowd of more than 100,000 as motivation to climb out of its funk. Nittany Lions coach James Franklin doesn't know what scenario he is going to experience when he visits the Big House for the first time in his career. But he wants his team to be as consistent in its preparation as any other week.
SPORTS
September 30, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - A half-full Beaver Stadium, with less than 2 minutes to go, was silent. As the impressive homecoming crowd of 102,910 whittled down, thousands of noticeably shocked students stuck around until the end. In the front row of the student section, a handful of fans, caked in peeling white and blue paint, spelled out on their stomachs, "We are Penn State. " Some gazed out onto the field without expression. One covered his face with a white Penn State T-shirt as the clock wound down.
SPORTS
September 29, 2014 | By John Stuetz, Inquirer Staff Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Mike Hull made one of his career-high 16 tackles to set the tone on Northwestern's final third-quarter drive - the second straight three-and-out forced by Penn State. So despite several previously missed opportunities, the Nittany Lions trailed by just eight heading into the fourth quarter on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. "Yeah, we were feeling really good about it. We were feeling really confident," Hull said. "And then they get a quick score, and it kind of flips.
SPORTS
September 29, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - After four games of feeling good about a new head coach, building up some momentum, and generating hope that a bowl bid would soon be possible, Penn State wiped out that optimism in a dismal performance Saturday. A sun-splashed crowd of 102,910 homecoming attendees at Beaver Stadium watched in disbelief as the Northwestern defense completely dominated the overmatched offensive line of the Nittany Lions and handed James Franklin his first loss in Happy Valley, a stunning, 29-6 defeat.
SPORTS
September 28, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – James Franklin said it's a part of every head coach's routine when watching film of his team's next opponent. "You're trying to find the guy that can wreck the game," the Penn State coach said. The Nittany Lions have that type of player in defensive tackle Austin Johnson, a sturdy 6-foot-4, 313-pound redshirt sophomore who starred at St. Augustine Prep in South Jersey. Johnson could be a major headache for Northwestern in Saturday's Big Ten game at Beaver Stadium.
SPORTS
September 26, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - The first thing Penn State coach James Franklin does when evaluating an opponent is to try and find that one guy, that one defensive player who can wreck a game. Be it a defensive lineman, linebacker, cornerback or safety, who can change the complexity of a game? That's going to be quite the challenge for Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. With a stable of defensive playmakers from the front four to the safeties over the top, the Nittany Lions' defense has turned heads through four games, leading the team to an undefeated mark.
SPORTS
September 25, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Penn State has one game left before a week off in its schedule but already is exceeding expectations, with a 4-0 start and a chance before long to become the fifth Big Ten team to climb into the national rankings. After a 48-7 win over Massachusetts, the Nittany Lions finished last weekend still side-by-side with Nebraska as the conference's only two undefeated teams, and just two spots out of the top 25. However, when asked at his weekly teleconference what a 4-0 start meant, coach James Franklin refused to bite.
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