Talking Points: James Franklin on B1G Call

Penn State may have a bye week, but the head coach still chatted with the media Tuesday.

Tuesday usually finds James Franklin inside Beaver Stadium before meeting the Big Ten media on the phone.

This week was different.

The Penn State head coach, like all of the ones before him, took a week off from his weekly news conference with the Lions (4-1) sitting idle. Franklin did fill 10 minutes on the Big Ten Conference Coaches' Teleconference, though.

What did he have to say?

Bye Week Plans

It's simple, really: Penn State gave its players off Monday. That is typical. So is practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The normal in-season week alters Thursday, though, when Penn State's staff hits the road to recruit. The Lions' players will be off Thursday through Saturday, before returning to preparation Sunday ahead of their Oct. 11 clash with Michigan.

"The bye comes at a good time because guys are banged up," Franklin said.

Without a previous opponent to focus on, the Sunday planning will be all about the Wolverines.

"Sunday goes right back to the way it was," Franklin said. "But you have more time on Sunday because you're not focusing on previous games."

Just how good of a time is it?

Nyeem Wartman stood on the Beaver Stadium sideline Saturday with his right arm in a sling. Franklin hasn't offered details on the injury -- and won't -- but it may be an injury that needs more than a week to heal.

The bye week isn't all that helpful for injuries that need more than seven days to heal. For nagging pains, though, it's vital.

"Guys that have had nagging ankles, or bruised shoulders, or whatever, that you just need the time off, that's really where it's most valuable," Franklin said.

Of course, it's also valuable for many of the Lions' younger players who may not be used to the toll extended snaps in college takes on one's body.

Obviously [it helps] the guys playing more reps than that should be, but based on our situation, that's where we're at," Franklin said. "Allowing those guys to get off their legs and get their legs back; it's probably more valuable in our situation than most.

The head coach added that, because of that situation (read: limited depth, scholarships), the program will be committed to walk-throughs, jog-throughs, and mental reps. Younger (read: redshirt candidates and spottily used players) will get plenty of reps during the bye, which older players will get rest as needed.

Franklin concluded by saying: "Would love to out and go full speed and bang, but we can't afford to do that.

Issues Abound

It's no secret the issues that "came to a head," as Franklin put it in the Lions' 29-6 loss to Northwestern have always been present. It's why the head coach has often said winning minimizes issues and losing maximizes them.

They are perhaps no more maximized than along the offensive line, which again struggled to play up to par in the loss. Franklin made note of just how limited Penn State is at that position Tuesday.

"We have to have more of a sense of urgency to get them [the issues] fixed, but some won't get fixed overnight," Franklin said.

The offensive line is one of those problems.

"An example of one of those things we're working through: we have one scholarship offensive tackle in the senior, junior, and sophomore classes," he continued. "One offensive tackle on scholarship in three classes. Senior and freshmen, that's it.

"Some of these problems, you're not going to solve in a week. The kids are doing awesome, and it is what it is in some of these situations."

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