Penn State coach James Franklin’s quotes following Saturday's 29-6 loss to Northwestern at Beaver Stadium.
Opening Statement: First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming out. We had a great crowd for homecoming. We give all the credit in the world to Northwestern. They were the better team today. They were well-coached. They played hard and did not make a lot of mistakes. I take full responsibility. We weren't ready to play today. On offense and defense, I thought we could've played a lot better. We made a lot of mistakes. We're having the same issue that keeps popping up all year long; that's consistently running the ball and being able to protect the quarterback. The bye week couldn't come at a better time. We have to spend some more time cleaning some things up there. Special teams, I did not think we were consistent. We had a chance to flip the field on punt team a couple times and weren't able to do that. On defense, I thought overall, we played solid, but we did not tackle as well as we have in previous weeks. We were throwing shoulders, not wrapping up, things like that. Again, I take full responsibility and we will get it fixed. I want to thank the 102,000 fans and all the media that came out to support us. We will get this fixed. I promise you and guarantee you we will get it fixed.
Q: Did you see this coming late in the week? Did you think your team was tired? Where do you gauge the emotional effort today?
A: No, I actually think you look how we've played all year long and we've started some games slow and we've been able to come back and rally late in games. You can only do that so many times. You can only do that so many times before it comes back to haunt you. You have to be able to play all four quarters. You have to be able to start strong. You have to establish a running game and protect the quarterback; all the things we've been talking about. We've been able to get by with this by playing smart, playing hard, playing with tremendous effort and persevering. Let's be honest, we haven't played pretty all year long and it caught up to us today against a good, solid, well-coached, hard-nosed team.
Q: The fumble that you guys had after the pick-six, do you think your team was still in shock from the pick-six?
A: No, that wasn't the case.
Q: Are you disappointed that the offensive line isn't further along five games into the season?
A: I need to watch the tape. This is what I do know. Those kids care about this team and Christian Hackenberg and playing better than anybody. I love those kids. We have to get it fixed. We have to help them out. That's going back to fundamentals and those types of things. Nobody cares more than they do. They want to play well and we have to help them.
Q: There was a point between the second and third quarters that you guys passed on 18 straight plays. Was that part of the game plan or did you feel you couldn't get the run game established?
A: We were trying to run the ball early in the game. We weren't able to effectively do that, so we started to depend on the pass more. Very similar to what we did the last four weeks and went 4-0 with.
Q: When the score was 14-6 and then Christian [Hackenberg] threw the interception, where did you feel you were at that point? Even though you weren't playing well, the game was still in doubt.
A: Even with them missing the extra point, we were down by 14. I thought we were still very much in it, but the thing we weren't able to do was get the momentum. We had the big play to DaeSean [Hamilton], where he want up in traffic and made a big play, but we weren't able to get the momentum on our side consistently. Early on, I thought we had a chance, but we did things that you can't do. We dropped the ball for a first down. We had penalties. It was a very similar story. Like I said, more than anything, we played similar to what we have all year long against a really good opponent and it caught up to us.
Q: After the game when you went back into the locker room, what were the players like? Did you say anything to them?
A: They're disappointed. They're angry. They're frustrated. They're very prideful and they want to get it fixed. The good thing about us is we practice on Sundays, so we'll get back to work tomorrow. We have a modified schedule with it being a bye week and we'll get it fixed. The one thing I think will be really nice for us is that Sundays are normally rushed for us in terms of looking at the last film and getting onto your next opponent. Now, we can really spend time, going back, watching this game, correcting the issues that have been showing up throughout the entire season and really spend the week focused on us. We would love to go into the bye week with a win, knowing you still have issues that you need to get resolved. We weren't able to do that, but the bye week couldn't come at a better time.
A: I thought Jason [Cabinda] did some nice things for his first game. He was out there getting some action and things like that. I was pleased with him. Obviously, he is going to learn from it and watch the tape. Von [Walker] was able to get some more playing time as well. But, there is no doubt that we missed Nyeem [Wartman]. He'll be back for our next game.
Q: Did you think you were going to grab the momentum in the first quarter?
A: I think it was a great opportunity to grab the momentum but we weren't able to do it. We just weren't consistent offensively. We're too one-dimensional right now.
Q: Are you concerned that Christian Hackenberg is too focused on the run and he's not looking down the field?
Q: Earlier this week you had said you didn't want to talk about the bye week until you talked to your players after the game. If you have done so, what are your plans for the bye week?
A: I did tell you that and I apologize because I'm not going to share that today. My plan was, after the game, to tell the players. I didn't really feel like that was what the focus needed to be. I told them we'll have a normal Sunday, and then I'll tell them what the bye week is from there. I don't want to tell you something before I tell the players. That wasn't my plan, but the way the game went I just didn't want to be talking about the bye week. I wanted to talk about the game and how much I cared about them and that we need to get these things fixed. There's no one that wants to get it fixed more than they do and more than we do as coaches.
Q: After Christian [Hackenberg] short-armed that pass to Bill [Belton], they had a small confrontation on the sideline. Is that something that is okay to have happen on the sidelines?
A: I didn't see it. Football is an emotional game played by passionate people. To be honest with you, I'm okay with guys venting with their feelings and things like that as long as we move on from it and there are not issues from that point on. I scream and yell on the headset and other people scream. That's part of it, as long as it doesn't go from there. I'll address it and we'll move forward. The game is played with emotional and passionate people - they put a lot into it and they're very prideful. Those things happen from time to time.
Q: Christian [Hackenberg] took a lot of hits today. Where are you with that and understanding how he can stay on the field so he can help you win?
A: First of all, I want to make sure that that young man from Northwestern is okay. From everything I was told, most of the stuff that was being done was precautionary. Thank God for that. I thought the people that came out and took care of him and handled that - it couldn't have been handled any better. But, there's no doubt that we want to limit the hits that Christian is taking. He's taking way too many hits right now. We have to get that resolved. We have to get the running game going and we have to be able to protect our quarterback.
Once again. I want to thank everybody for coming. I want the fans, the media, the recruits and everybody to know, that I promise we will get this fixed.