James Franklin Praises Ohio State

Penn State head coach James Franklin was complimentary of Ohio State as his Nittany Lions get ready to take on the Buckeyes this weekend in Happy Valley. Here's what Franklin had to say about the improving Ohio State squad.

The following are quotes from Penn State head coach James Franklin as he breaks down Ohio State, his team's opponent this week on Saturday night in Happy Valley.

"On Ohio State and Coach Urban Meyer, you look at their program and their team doing a tremendous job, probably the fastest, most athletic team and also tremendous size, probably the best combination that we've seen so far this year. They have returned 10 of 22 starters, 4 on offense, 6 on defense. You look this year, their one loss was early in the season against Virginia Tech but since then, they have had a lot of success, four games, playing with a lot of confidence, scoring a lot of points, creating a lot of turnovers on defense that are factoring into those points as well.

LINK: Full transcript of James Franklin's press conference

If you compare our two programs in terms of the statistics that we go over each week that we think are important, turnover margin, they have the advantage there. Penalties per game, we have the advantage there, total offense, they have the advantage, total defense, we have the advantage. Scoring offense, they have the advantage and scoring defense we have the advantage.

So interesting to kinda look at the statistics. Defensively, Luke Fickell was obviously the previous head coach there, on an interim basis. They're playing really good on defense, as well as the co-coordinator, Chris Ash. They're a 4-3 defense, they're going to press you on the outside and challenge your receivers. They're typically a quarters team, what we call "full press," creative in their third down package. They're excellent up front. I would say across the board they run extremely well, offense, defense, and special teams. They're second in the Big Ten in interceptions, you look at tackle, No. 63, Michael Bennett, a senior, very disruptive he's on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Outland Trophy, the Bronko Nargurski Award, the Lombardi/Rotary Award, he's a co-cap, he's got three tackles for a loss and a sack, Joey Bosa is the guy that jumps out to us the most, 97, defensive tackle, 6-5, 280 pounds, team-high nine tackles for a loss and five and a half sacks, he's No. 1 in the Big Ten in for tackles for a loss, forced fumbles, and No. 2 in sacks. Linebacker, No. 43, been very impressed with him, Darron Lee, 6-2 228 pounds, he can really run, has been disruptive and then their cornerback, No. 12, Doran Grant is playing very, very well, as well, he's another senior, he's fourth in the Big Ten in interceptions.

"On offense, Tom Herman is the offensive coordinator, the co-offensive coordinator is Ed Warinner, doing great things, playing extremely fast, they're playing at a consistent level. I think the coaching staff does a great job of tailoring their scheme to the players. They're No. 1 in the Big Ten right now in yards per game.

"They're averaging 46 points per game. Third down percentage, they're doing a great job at 49 percent, which is ninth in the nation.

"They run a spread offense, have a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism, like us they're young on the offensive line coming into the season, one of those players most of their guys have been in the program for a long time with that scheme and with that system and have stepped in nicely for them. Impressed with their quarterback, J.T. Barrett, completed 65% of his passes, got 20 touchdowns, five interceptions, he's also running the ball, rushed for 383 yards and four touchdowns, so he's playing productive. Their running back No. 15 (Ezekiel Elliott) is playing extremely well, wide receiver No. 9, Devin Smith and their other H-back No. 2, Dontre Wilson. The thing that jumps out to you about these guys is they break a lot of tackles and make a lot of people miss so a lot of YAC yards, that really jumps out and is helpful to their quarterback.

"Then on special teams, Kerry Coombs, who I think does a really good job coaching their corners as well, they've done some really, really nice things, I know Urban is really involved on special teams as well, they're leading the Big Ten in kickoff coverage, you look at their special teams, they run extremely well, they're long and rangy, they do a good job of being physical in their return units and Dontre Wilson is a guy we're going to have to be aware of as a kick returner."

James Franklin on Joey Bosa
"He's got a rare combination. You talk about a guy who is 6-5, 280 pounds and really has some quickness and is sudden. He's able to play with quickness and he's able to play with power, and a lot of times you can find guys that are extremely strong and powerful and explosive at the point of attack but maybe don't have the quickness as a pass rusher. He's got a rare combination that he can beat you with speed and quickness but he can also beat you with power.

"Those guys are hard to find. They don't come around very often. I think that's what makes him a challenge. Obviously we need to be aware of him. You try to look at it from an offensive perspective in pass protection, and in the run game, you know, where your single blocks are going to be. They do a nice job where they play them at defensive end but they will also move them inside the defensive tackle, a little bit like we've done with Anthony Zettel, so you can't say you know he's always going to be the left defensive end or always going to be the 3-technique, they do a nice job with that and it creates challenges and obviously we're going to go back to technique and fundamental and where we can help double-team him as much as we can."

James Franklin on Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr., a former Nittany Lions coach.
Tremendous respect for Larry, tremendous respect for the previous regime, all the positive things that happened on the football field, all the positive things that happened in the classroom, tremendous respect. I've known Larry for a long time, not only his reputation as a coach but also as a recruiter. I remember when I was at a previous school I used to see him all the time because he recruited that area."

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