Penn State James Franklin PC Wrap

FightOnState.com’s Mark Brennan and Greg Pickel give the lowdown on the weekly presser, hashing out where the Lions are coming off a bye and heading into a road game with Michigan. Transcript included.

Coming off Penn State's first bye of the season, Nittany Lion coach James Franklin met the media at Beaver Stadium for his weekly press conference Tuesday.

With a road trip to struggling rival Michigan looming, there was plenty to discuss. FOS staffers Mark Brennan and Greg Pickel kick it all around in the video above.

Among the topics they tackle:

• What, if anything, the Penn State offense did to improve the running game during the bye week.

• How the bye helped Nittany Lion QB Christian Hackenberg.

• How the loss of Wolverine RB Derrick Green to a broken clavicle may change the focus of the Penn State defense, and what sort of challenge U-M quarterback Devin Gardner presents.

• The “lagging” Lion special teams, and where they might improve coming off the bye week.

• Committed prospects taking visits to other schools and Franklin using a helicopter on the recruiting trail.

TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED BY PENN STATE

JAMES FRANKLIN: We had a really productive bye week. It seems like forever since we’ve been out there and played, and I know we’re excited to get back going.

Guys were able to spend extra time academically, which is really important. Extra hours and study hall, it (bye week) came at a really good time in terms of some exams and things like that. They were also able to get home and see their friends and family and go to high school football games and things like that, which is important. We spend so much time together that it’s good to just get away, so I think that came at a good time.

In practice, we were able to be really productive, especially with the young guys going live, scrimmages with the young guys, because I think you guys know, we’re not just trying to get prepared to beat Michigan, but we are also trying to build a program long term.

So, developing those young guys and keeping them involved physically, emotionally, mentally, the whole deal, I think is really important, and that went well. It was also great to see all the older guys rally behind those guys out there at practice.

We were also take the banging off some of the older guys, and get some mental work done in terms of making corrections from the season, and also do some footwork, but not a whole lot of running on those guys. Obviously, with our depth and things like that, that was important. And then being able to get out on the road and recruit was really successful. All of our coaches all over the place, flying around, running around, and we were able to get a lot of really good work done.

So we got back at it yesterday. Monday, they had off like normal and then we’re back to our normal process going today. So, we’re excited to get back out on the field with the guys.

I’d like to review Michigan. Obviously, opening up this week with Michigan, Big Ten night game, from what I understand, it’s the first one at their stadium, so should be exciting from that perspective. I’ve known Brady Hoke for a long time, his fourth year at Michigan. They have got 16 of 22 starters returning this year, seven on offense and nine on defense.

They are 2 4 presently, have had some tough games; close games. You look at making a comparison, like we do every single week, we have the advantage in turnover margin. We do not have the advantage in penalties; they have that. We have the advantage in total offense, total defense, scoring offense and scoring defense; so if you look at the main statistics that we think are important.

And then defensively, their defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, is one of the more veteran coaches out there in terms of experience and success, not only in college but also in the NFL. They are a 4 3 team. They will play quarters and they play a lot of quarter one and a lot of man coverage.

In a lot of ways they remind me of when I used to be in the ACC and you’d play Florida State and they load the box to take the run away by numbers, and they press you on the outside to take what I call gimmie throws away and really make it difficult on you.

They are very good up front. They run to the ball well. Guys that have jumped out to us is their defensive tackle, No. 96 Ryan Glasgow.

Defensive end No. 57 Frank Clark, has really kind of jumped out to me. It’s interesting, when I see guys on each team that we play that I think are really good players and maybe you could make the argument, their best player, I look at where they came from, from a recruiting perspective. You know, he’s 6 2, 277 pound defensive end now. Out of high school, he was a 6 2, 210 outside linebacker out of Ohio. So I always find that interesting, just to go back and study people and where they came from.

Their Sam linebacker No. 15, James Ross is doing a nice job, and their middle linebacker No. 47, Jake Ryan is very productive.

Offensively, Doug Nussmeier, who I’ve known for awhile, his first year at Michigan, had been the offensive coordinator at Alabama the last couple years. They are a multiple pro offense. Obviously, the quarterback, No. 98 Devin Gardner, is a big, strong physical guy. Was really impressed with his presence at Big Ten media days. He’s an impressive guy, 6 4, 216 pounds, is completing 62 percent of his passes, and is very, very athletic in terms of making plays with his feet.

Tailback, No. 4, De’Veon Smith; wide receiver, Devin Funchess at 6 5, 230 pounds, very, very productive, and then their wide receiver and return man, Dennis Norfleet.

On special teams, Dan Ferrigno, is also their tight ends coach. The guys that jump out is No. 23 again, Dennis Norfleet, their kick return guy. He’s got a chance to be right now, he’s the second all time leading returner in Michigan history, and has a chance to be the leader before the end of the season.

So, a really interesting game. We are excited about the opportunity. This will be my first time going to Michigan. Looking forward to that and experiencing that and that’s something we’re keeping mental notes on as a coaching staff because a lot of our coaches haven’t been to a lot of these locations before.

Q. I know you were recruiting Thursday and Friday, but what did you do Saturday, and did that include watching the Michigan-Rutgers game?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Saturday I was supposed to go and recruit in Philadelphia and a schedule got changed, a game got moved from Saturday to Friday. So I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to going to that game and recruiting and being in the area. But with that plan changing at the last minute, I ended up getting a chance to go home, see my wife and kids, and spend an afternoon with them.

My man cave was finished, so I sat down in the basement and watched a bunch of football games, mainly the Michigan game and flicked back and forth. My daughters came down and snuggled on the couch. Walked upstairs about six times and got something to drink and something to eat and I just posted up in the basement, which was awesome. Not that that’s newsworthy or anything but I thought I would share it with you.

Q. You had referenced last week in getting a chance to look at some of your younger guys on the bye week in scrimmages, are the guys that are not going to play with you, the young guys, who are some that have impressed you this year, not only in the scrimmages but from the start of August camp?

JAMES FRANKLIN: It’s hard to kind of point those guys out because we had a number of guys that were traveling (one the travel roster), but they are not playing right now. They are kind of in that mode I talked to you about before, kind of the yellows, guys that were we would like to redshirt but we are holding and some of those guys we can’t afford to play.

But, overall it was kind of fun to watch all of them. The offensive line position is going to be really, really important for us in our future and you guys have heard us talk about that before, the fact that we have one scholarship offensive tackle in the senior, junior and sophomore classes.

So, the development of those young guys is going to be really important because they are going to factor in. They are going to factor in for us. I think that’s really kind of across the board.

The running backs, I’ve been impressed with. It’s a good group of young backs. I’ve been impressed with them. I think we’ve got a couple defensive linemen that we could be playing this year that so far, we have been able to redshirt and I think that’s been a positive for us, as well and then some of the young DBs have really stood out. Most of the young wide receivers are playing for us.

Without specific people, that’s kind of how I feel about the groups.

Q. What do you think is the key to sparking your run game right now? Are there one or two things that stick out to you maybe on film that could give you sort of a jump start there?

JAMES FRANKLIN: It’s funny, because we get these questions a lot. I just did two interviews before coming in here and I wish it was that magic wand that you just kind of wave over people’s heads or situations heads, but football doesn’t work like that and life doesn’t work like that.

You want to get better at something. You just have to keep working and you just have to keep practicing. Our kids are committed to doing that and our coaches are committed to doing that. It’s no different than it’s been for the last 150 years. It’s footwork. It’s fundamentals and there’s an aspect of it that’s experience.

It’s guys getting up there and getting in their stance and making some calls and they are seeing a front or they are seeing a blitz, and they have seen it before, they have recognized it, and they have had success with it before. That’s where the experience at the O Line and the experience at the quarterback position are so important, and I would also say probably the same thing at middle linebacker.

It’s being able to recognize things quickly and then being able to go out and block it and be successful, and I think what happens in the game, like a lot of sports, is when they are thinking too much, then they don’t play as fast, they don’t play as athletic and they don’t play as aggressive, and that’s where the experience really counts.

So, we are just going to stay positive and we’re going to keep grinding through it, and I think one of the things that we talked about over the bye week is we can’t abandon the run game, and that’s myself and that’s the rest of the coaches. You get frustrated because you’re not getting as much positive yardage as you want and you’re trying to stay out of third and long.

But we’ve got to commit to the running game and we’ve got to be patient. There may be what people would call an ugly three yard run. Those are beautiful. Those are beautiful and you’ve just got to keep grinding them out and you’ve got to stay patient. That will help our pass game, that will help protection, that will help Christian (Hackenberg) and that will help a lot of things. The way our defense is playing, they allow us to do that. They allow us to do that. I think that’s going to be important for us.

Q. When Devin Gardner, the Michigan quarterback is on, what traits of his are the most disruptive to a defense?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Well, I think it’s a combination of things. The fact that he’s a veteran guy and has played a lot of games, I think that shows up. I think the fact that he’s 6 4, 220 pounds and probably one of the more athletic guys; in terms of being able to pull the ball and take off.

You saw him do that a couple times the other night and was able to get to the edge of the defense and really make some positive plays for them. And that’s challenging, because on defense, there’s so many things that you’re trying to stop, and now you have to deal with a quarterback as well.

So, you have a traditional running game, you have the passing game and now you have a quarterback who takes off and scrambles, whether it’s a designed run or not, it’s just another thing that you have to deal with. I think also the fact that he’s 6 4, 220 pounds, he’s able to run through arm tackles and he’s durable, he’s durable, which is I think another factor.

You look at his completion percentage; he’s been accurate, as well. I think from what I understand and from what I’ve seen, him and (Devin) Funchess are like best friends and that shows up in the games, as well. Those guys will probably spend a lot of time together and when he needs a play, he goes to that guy.

Q. Christian Hackenberg, the week off, how do you think it could benefit specifically a guy like him? He took a lot of hits the first five weeks. Can you talk about how he handled the bye week?

JAMES FRANKLIN: I think he handled it extremely well. He got in and watched film. He was able to take care of his body and get in the hot tubs and the cold tubs and all the different things that we do with our guys with soft tissue and things like that, massages and whatever else we have to do to get them back as healthy and fresh as possible.

But, one of the things that I will say, and he’s taken some hits and we want to protect our quarterback, but so does the O line and so does the D Line and so do all those guys. He’s a football player, just like the rest of those guys. We’ve got to protect him because that’s going to give us our best chance to be successful.

But he’s handled it no differently than the rest of our guys. Get in and watch more tape of our opponents, but probably more importantly watch tape of ourselves, be critical of ourselves; all of us, myself included, and things that we can do better to put a product on the field that everybody can be really proud and excited of.

Q. Following up on Christian, he has six interceptions and a fumble in five games and he’s trying awfully hard to make a play for his offense, but would you like to see him maybe tone it down a little when it comes to trying to make the heroic play?

JAMES FRANKLIN: I think it’s a fine line. The way our offense has been the first couple weeks, there’s been a lot on his shoulders, and it’s always easy to find fault when things don’t go well, but a lot of those plays that he has been aggressive, have gone well, have gone well.

I always get a kick out of watching games on TV and the announcers after the fact, questioning why somebody did something or why something was called.

You know, that’s easy. But when you’re out there and you’re competing and you’re being chased by 300 pounders and things like that, Christian is growing just like we’re all growing, and I’ve been pleased with it.

So, I think obviously at the quarterback position and a lot of positions, we want to continue to make great choices and make good decisions with the football. But, a lot of those plays that he’s made have been extremely valuable to our program, as well.

Q. Michigan, is minus-13 in turnover margin, you guys have been pretty good in that area. Is that something that you can coach and develop in your team?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Well, yeah, I think it’s something that you talk about all the time and you show them the data of why turnover margin is so important in being successful. Explosive plays, creating them and stopping them, why they are so important in being successful. Using fundamental drills in practice to talk about ball security on offense, and on defense stripping the ball, intercepting the ball, things like that to create turnovers.

From Little League all the way through the NFL, people are talking about that and we are as well. I think there’s one thing to talk about; there’s another thing to also go out and live it, and in our practice schedule, we do ball security every single day and until the last four years that had not really been the case, and it’s something I didn’t really necessarily understand but for the last four years, we do ball security or ball disruption that we call on defense every single day, and I think that’s valuable.

Q. Michigan obviously is not going to have their big running back, Derrick Green, on Saturday. I was wondering, what have you seen from the three backups they will probably use a lot more, and is that a bit of a challenge for the coaching staff when it’s such a big part of the offense is lost and now you’re scrambling to find tape on the guy?

JAMES FRANKLIN: No, because at the running back position, it’s not like you’re in a situation where it was just one guy playing. Most people rotate their tailbacks, so you’ve had a chance to see them and evaluate them. I mean, the guy that we’re expecting to be playing, No. 4, De’Veon Smith, he’s averaging six yards a carry and he has four touchdowns, from what I understand.

He’s played. He’s been successful and we understand it’s going to be a challenge. You always hate to see a young man get injured and not be able to fulfill his season that we he has worked so hard for. But we are going to prepare for the next guy that’s going to take on that role.

Q. Was the first time you had a group of 118 young men what did you learn from them coming off a loss, rather than coming off a win, but what did you see from them? Were you impressed with the way they washed it off to go into the next game? What did you learn from your team seeing them come off a loss for the first time?

JAMES FRANKLIN: I think for the most part, the young men that I’ve been around, they are really resilient. They bounce back. They come back, and a lot of times probably faster than the coaches.

And I think the other thing that I’ve found in my career is they are waiting for that next meeting. I think that’s one of the things that’s really important. You is play the game on Saturday, and then whether you have that next team meeting on Sunday or Monday, depending on your program, they are sitting there waiting to see how you as the head coach or the assistants, how they are going to handle that.

So, walking in there and sending the right message that we are all in this thing together and we all want to improve and we all want to get better; and let’s correct the issues without attacking the individual. That’s not what it’s about. They want to be successful. We want to be successful and we are all working together to do that.

So, I think between them bouncing back and handling it and this isn’t the first game that they have lost in their careers, but they also are looking at the coaching staff to see how we are going to handle that.

Again, they have been under different leadership for the last couple years, and to see how we are going to handle that is really, really important. I think any time you go through adversity as a family or as a team or as an organization, and you handle it the right way, there’s opportunity for growth. And that’s really what we try to do with everything.

Q. You’ve had a couple of field goals blocked, a punt blocked and pressured. How do you work on tightening that up during a bye week? And conversely, are you hoping to get more of those types of aggressive plays from your own special teams?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Yes, great question. Going back and studying our special teams and looking at some of the things that we are doing, there’s a couple areas that we had gray area in terms of responsibility and you don’t ever want that.

I don’t want the kids second guessing themselves, the young men second guessing themselves at the line of scrimmage or right before a play. So, we were able to clean up some of those assignments and responsibilities which I think is going to be helpful.

And we are trying to create some plays. It’s funny, we kept talking about big plays, big plays, big plays and then we were able to get one from Jesse Della Valle, that was a big play from us in terms of swinging field position (punt return vs. Northwestern). But we need more of that. We need more of that in our return game. We need more of that in our coverages and things like that. But once again, we are just going continue to practice and talk about the importance of these things and show it to them on tape and keep working at it, and they are going to come.

Q. You talked before about the running game. The inconsistent offense, how does it affect the play calling in terms of trying to achieve what you like to call explosive plays? Does it affect that at all?

JAMES FRANKLIN: It does, because now what you have to be careful of is now you become too conservative in how you’re calling the game, and that can make you a little bit predictable, as well.

Because to create explosive plays, there’s usually some risk associated with that in terms of play-action or drop back or holding on to the ball a little bit longer. Well, now you have a chance for negative yardage plays to put you in third and long and it makes it difficult to sustain drives and things like that.

So I think all those things factor in, and it’s like a lot of things in life, one thing doesn’t stand alone. It affects another. So yeah, I think you have to be careful that you don’t fall into that trap.

Q. You guys saw a little bit of what you’ll see in Gardner and Justin Holman in the second half of the UCF game, but you’ve given up all your rushing touchdowns from quarterback and most of them have been sneaks but Gardner is a guy that can use his feet from basically anywhere. How much do you have to focus on that this week and how much can the experience from the UCF game help?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think it’s a big factor and a focus for us this week. Especially with them losing their tailback, it probably shifts even more emphasis to that.

And it’s a challenge, because every offense and every defense and every special teams has strengths, it has weaknesses, and you can’t take it all away and that’s what you’ve got to decide. You’ve got to decide, “what are you going to take away from the defense, what’s important to you and what are you going to give up?”

I think that’s where having systems and having coaches that understand their systems and been a part of their systems for a long time, they know when they call this defense, this is the weakness. And obviously you’re calling that because you don’t feel like the offense is going to attack that area in that specific situation.

So that’s what you’re trying to do. That’s where it really becomes the chess game. They also know what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are from your personnel standpoint, as well, and all of those things kind of factor into how you call a game and what you do.

Q. Just piggy-backing off of that a little bit, how important is it to, from a defensive standpoint, what are some of the things that defensive coordinators can do, without you giving anything away, but what can they do in general to keep a quarterback like Gardner contained in the pocket, etc.?

JAMES FRANKLIN: I think, obviously, it’s discipline with your rush lane, your defensive line, what they call “caging” the quarterback. So that’s getting push with your interior tackles, your nose guard and your three technique; and that’s what the defensive end coming off the edge and containing the guy.

I think a lot of times what happens is a guy gets out of his lane to try to make a play and no different than what we were talking about, the quarterback, sometimes that goes well for you and you get a sack because of it. Well, other times it creates a rush lane and the quarterback is able to hurt you.

The other thing is obviously you could spy, you could go one look or one robber or whatever term is you call it in your system where everybody is in man coverage, and typically you play man coverage to allow you to blitz, because you’re not worried about zones obviously. Where man coverage can also allow you to rather than blitz, to have somebody responsible for the quarterback.

But you also need to make sure it’s somebody responsible for the quarterback that can catch them. You can have somebody that’s responsible for the quarterback and they run :4.7 and the quarterback runs :4.4, so I don’t know if that makes a whole lot of sense. So, personnel will factor into that as well.

And obviously some things you can do from a coverage perspective and making sure you have containment of the offense in terms of your defense in terms of two alley defenders on either side, whether it’s a strong safety or outside linebacker. But again, that creates weaknesses in other places. So you’ve got to pick and choose your places and your battles.

Q. Your defensive backs have not had a lot of stats so far this year. Is that a good thing, because it means the front seven is making plays against the run and maybe they are not getting thrown on a lot or do you want to see them, the guys in the back being a little more disruptive?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think it’s a combination of all those things. You always want more as a coach just like a fan. You’d love more interceptions. You’d love more pass break-ups and things like that. I do think each week as we gain more confidence, they are doing that. They are making sure that more of the catches are contested is what we talk about all the time. I do think it’s a bye product of how well we’re playing up front, as well.

But yeah, I think as confidence grows and as experience grows, those guys will continue to make more and more play. I think Trevor (Williams) is a great example of that.

Q. I want to ask the recruiting trip this past weekend. You took a helicopter a couple places. First off, is that Penn State’s helicopter? Do you rent that? How does that go down?

JAMES FRANKLIN: No, basically we found the best options in that area from a cost perspective and a safety perspective.

Q. What are a couple reasons you decided to use that? To get around or let everyone know you’re here?

JAMES FRANKLIN: No, the main part is efficiency. You’re either in cities where you try to see a half of a first game and half of another game, and you get stuck in traffic and you never make it to the second game and a kid’s expecting you; it’s a problem.

I’ll give you a perfect example. On Thursday, Thursday alone, I saw four high school football games, four, which I don’t think there’s any way that you can do that without it (helicopter). Unless we go back, Star Trek, transporter type deal, I don’t know how you’re able to get that done.

The challenge comes if you’re in a certain area and you go see one kid and not another, there’s hurt feelings. And the head coach can only be so many places, and the head coach carries a little bit more weight.

So it’s really just the assistants can spread out, we have nine of them all over the place, but with my schedule, being able to get as much bang for our buck as possible for the amount of days I’m allowed to go on the road, it comes in and luckily the administration has been really supportive of that and they kind of understand the plan.

Q. I’ve noticed you have a DJ that’s down by the tunnel before games. Did you have any role in that with recruits and stuff? Louisville, really stresses that, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that before. They have this DJ and it’s a big deal with recruits and stuff. Did you have any role with putting the DJ down on the tunnel right on the field?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, there were a lot of discussions of things when I first got here that I was not involved with and things I was involved with just in terms of trying to create game day environments for the students, for the fans, for our players, for recruits, for all those things.

If you look across the country, everybody is looking at these things to try to create the best game day environments they possibly can. It may be cell phone service and things like that so people can stay connected, a lot of different technology. It can be bathrooms. It could be the food; all the different things that you’re trying to provide in a stadium so that people can come to Beaver Stadium and have a great experience.

I think one of the challenges that you always have is all the different demographics you have. Whether it’s the band or whether it’s a DJ or whether it’s traditions or whether it’s new traditions or whatever it may be, and what you’re always trying to do when you get 107,000 people is keep everything happy, which is a challenge. I think that was just one of many discussions about trying to create the best game day environment we possibly can.

Q. You mentioned you had not been to Michigan and neither team is ranked this week but it’s still Penn State-Michigan. Can you sense a little extra enthusiasm not only from the team but the staff, as well, because of it?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Again, I think you guys have heard us talk about this before. We try our hardest not to do that. Whether it’s out of conference games or conference games or things like that. I want our routine and our preparation to stay as consistent as we possibly can.

I’m not sitting here with blinders on and I’m not naïve to think that certain games aren’t different for certain players, and is there when you go to the stadium, is there an energy that comes along with it? Yeah. And I want them to experience that and I want them to have fun with that.

But it’s not like we are going to talk about it differently or approach it differently. We’re going to make sure that we are doing everything in our power to prepare week in and week out to play as consistent as we can.

Q. In your experience in college football, especially in the SEC, going into a lot of hostile environments, do you put any extra emphasis on establishing the run early to establish tempo and take crowd out of it?

JAMES FRANKLIN: I think the biggest thing that you’re trying to do is deal with not having the home field advantage with the noise and things like that. We have been trying to establish the run every single week and since spring football. That’s not new and that really has not changed.

You know, obviously, being able to go into their stadium, I think it’s going to be important that we handle the initial rush of emotion that’s going to happen; that they are going to have and that we are going to have, and that we ride that and stay consistent and be able to make it a four quarter game, is what you would really like to do.

But not really any one specific part of it.

Q. You’ve talked earlier in the season about how developing the run game expands the playbook. How happy have you been with the playbook itself from the passing perspective, what you guys have been able to expand and do from week one until now? Are you able to call more things than you’d like to? Has that impacted whether you’re doing more screens or looking more downfield?

JAMES FRANKLIN: No, I would actually say, we’ve been taking the approach the last couple weeks that less is more. Going back and watching the film and studying things, we want to make sure that we start getting good at some things and that’s in really all three phases.

So I think that’s one of the things that you have to watch as a coach, the more time you have, you watch tape and you come up with all these great ideas and they are great ideas, but you have to have the time to be able to practice them so they can go out and execute, because that’s what it’s about. It’s about execution. We are really kind of taking the approach, less is more and let’s get really good at some things and once we do that, then we can grow and expand.

It was interesting, I was on the road last week as we talked about in recruiting and saw some other coaches on the road, and people that this is their second year, and talking about the differences from year one to year two and year three and so on and so forth. The best way to lay a foundation is get really good at some things and build the confidence and go from there.

Q. You’ve had some pretty strong words in the past about guys who are committed to a program, whether here or somewhere else. Obviously you can’t speak on specifics but over the past weekend, there’s been some guys that said they are going to take visits to other places, or finish out their official visits who have committed to Penn State. What is your message to recruit that see the program go through the ups and downs and downs of the season, or maybe guys that are weighing their option at this point?

JAMES FRANKLIN: To be honest, I don’t think the season has anything to do with it, I really don’t. I think what happens sometimes is this is something you’re kind of dealing with all the time.

I think you guys have heard me talk about before. I would rather guys not commit when guys try to commit, I tell them no at first. I say, “make sure you understand what you’re saying and what all these things mean,” and kind go through it with them and everybody involved and make sure that they understand how we see it and if they are comfortable.

Some people say, “well, you know, they should be able to go on their visits.” They can. Don’t commit. Keep going and visiting places and go seeing places until you’re very comfortable in making a choice, and then once you make that choice, you’ve given someone your word, you go from there, and we do the same thing.

So it’s a challenge and it’s difficult, especially when you’re dealing with 17 and 18 year old kids. And for most of these people, it’s the first time them and their family have gone through the recruiting process, and it’s a challenge, it really is. The recruiting process is sped up; it’s sped up. I think that’s part of it, as well.

But we’re just going to stay positive, and we’re going to continue to encourage these guys and continue to talk about what we’re building and where we’re going, and I think they understand that and I think they see that, and I think we probably have had less than probably most programs out there.

Q. Do you feel you’ve found your offensive identity through five weeks of the season, or is it something you’re still searching for?

JAMES FRANKLIN: No, I think we’re still working on those things. I think it’s evolving. I think it really is. We haven’t been consistent enough to say, you have an identity.

I think defensively, they are a little bit further ahead than that. I think special teams and offense are still lagging of who we want to be. I think those things go with tendencies. People talk about tendencies all the time, studying tendencies. Tendencies are a good thing because it means you’re good at something, and that’s kind of what we’re talking about, as well.

So, I think the offense is still searching for that. I think we’ve shown flashes of it at times and it’s been exciting but we need to do it more consistent with everything that we are doing.

Q. I want to go back to the man cave question. When you’re watching a game like that (Michigan-Rutgers) live, how much can you take away from it? And what do you zero in on, or are you just watching everything? How many times would you estimate you watched Michigan film during the course of the week and leading up to it?

JAMES FRANKLIN: Yes, obviously you watch I’m not going to watch the game like I watch our tape where you rewind it and see it from the end zone view and you see it from the sideline view and you watch each play like 12 times before you go on to the next play looking for things.

For me, when I watch a game, you’re obviously looking a little bit at scheme and execution and things like that, but I’m also studying a lot of things. I’m studying body language. I’m studying the pace of the game and tempo, because a lot of times you can’t get that off of coaching film. So, you actually will go and watch live TV copies to kind of see what their tempo is like and things like that.

It’s interesting, a lot of times you can learn stuff from what the announcers are saying from interviews that they did before the game. So it’s really more of a big picture feel that you’re trying to kind of get about the game. It may be the stadium, how loud it is, and is the opposing offense having a hard time communicating and things like that.

So it just kind of gives you an overall feel. I think it also helped that we played at Rutgers and I know what the environment is like there, so that kind of factored into it, as well. It’s more big picture than anything specific with schemes and things like that.


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