Penn State coach James Franklin was emotional in the locker room following the Nittany Lions' 31-24 double overtime loss to No. 13 Ohio State at Beaver Stadium Saturday night. He was emotional in the postgame press conference, too.
Franklin was clearly rankled by questionable officiating but withheld blasting the Big Ten crew so as not to draw afine from the conference.
Check out his entire PC above.
Transcript courtesy of Penn State Athletic Communications
Opening Statement: First of all, thanks everyone for being here. I want to thank the fans. We had an unbelievable environment tonight. I'm really proud of Penn State. An example of, when we all come together as a family, we have a chance to do some special things. We created a really, really tough environment for a very good football team to come in and deal with. The fans, the community, the administration, all of the other coaches and student-athletes we have in this athletic department, made this a difficult place to play. I'd love to come in here and tell you what I really think, but that would not be appropriate, with some other things that went on. Mike Hull played an unbelievable game; talking about 19 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception. [Anthony] Zettel's play was a real big play in the game. I thought our defense played extremely well. Obviously, that goes without saying. We have an issue punting the ball. We're going to have to get that resolved. We really put both our offense and our defense in some really tough situations. We have to get that resolved. We have two guys and we have to get that resolved. That's been a big factor in our last two games. I thought the second half on offense, we were able to make some plays, break some tackles, make people miss and get some YAC [yards after catch] yards and that was really the difference. That was the biggest difference. I saw guys making plays in the second half. OSU entered this game averaging 46 points per game. We held them to 17 points in regulation and 251 yards. Anthony Zettel had the first defensive touchdown since 2009. DaeSean Hamilton had 14 catches in the game for 126 yards. I'm also really proud of the other young receivers, like Saeed [Blacknall], being able to have a big game and get a touchdown for us, as well. We're that close, we really are. I truly believe with a little bit of patience, a great attitude and tremendous work ethic, we'll get where we want to go.
Q: How do you address the team after a game like this? You look emotionally spent and I imagine they are emotionally spent.
A: I'm an emotional guy, so I got emotional with them. It starts with 'I love you' and ends with 'I love you', always with us. I'm really proud of how they competed. There are no moral victories at Penn State and there never will be, but I'm proud of how they fought and stood together. With that, we'll get where we want to go. We'll get where the fans want us to go. We'll go where everyone needs us to go. That's the most important thing. There are no moral victories, but I love these kids and sticking together, we'll get where we want to be. I told them that and I was emotional when I told them that.
Q: Can you talk about the last drive by your guys in regulation? What did that show for Christian [Hackenberg] and the receivers?
A: I think the biggest thing is, these guys believe in themselves. They believe in the program. They always believe we're going to have a chance to win the game. That's what I noticed throughout the game. As the game went on, guys started making plays, started gaining confidence. Obviously, going down and scoring the first period of overtime was huge. Then, they were able to answer. We're going to watch the film. We have a lot of things we need to correct. We're making progress. It may not show up on the scoreboard, but we're making progress.
Q: What explanation were you given on the interception in the first quarter and on the field goal, when it appeared the play clock expired?
A: All of that equals 10 points, right? I'm a guy; I think you guys are starting to get to know me a little better. I would love to come in here on a weekly basis and tell you exactly what I think and it goes against everything that I am. I tell people the truth, but I'm not able to do that. I'm going to focus on the things that we can correct as a program and our kids. I'm going to fight for our kids and our program.
Q: What adjustments did you make at halftime to hold their running game?
A: It really wasn't major adjustments. Obviously, they went to the quarterback running game. Early on, they were able to make some plays inside on us. Early on, they were really getting some push. They have a big, physical offensive line. I know we talked about their inexperience coming into this year, but you look at that line, that's a big, physical line. I think, as the game went on, the fact that we were rotating our defensive line was helpful. Like Bob [Shoop] usually does, he gets a feel of some adjustments that he's going to make. Slight adjustments, not really anything we're doing at halftime, just different calls. Mike Hull getting 19 tackles, that's helpful as well. The turnovers; that's something we talked about, trying to get some turnovers to get off the field, helping our defense, helping our offense. It was a combination of all those things, but it's not like we went in there and re-invented the wheel at halftime.
Q: Marcus Allen started today in place of Ryan [Keiser]. How do you think he did, especially as a true freshman making his first start?
A: I thought he played extremely well. He's been playing all year long as a freshman, just like we have a bunch of freshman that are playing for us right now. We had an issue; I want you guys to know there were no issues, no team rule violations. We had something kind of freaking happen in practice on Thursday and Ryan wasn't able to go. Marcus was able to jump in there. I think as the game went on, he really built some confidence. I thought he was very physical in the running game. He had a chance for two interceptions and, I think, as he continues to grow, he'll make those plays for us. I was proud of him and I was proud of how the rest of the team and defense rallied behind him. Keiser's an experienced guy. He does a great job of being the quarterback of the defense and communicating. We had to make sure the rest of the guys would make up for that, not ask Marcus to do all those things. I thought he did really well.
Q: What explanation did you get on the extra point? Why did they get the point and the yardage?
A: I'm not going to get into explanations. Again, I'm not going to get into that. I'm not allowed to talk about those things. I'll leave it at that. I apologize.
Q: Can you talk about Akeel [Lynch] tonight and the running game and the spark he gave you guys?
A: I was pleased with Akeel. He was decisive. He is a big, physical guy. He's able to get downhill. I thought Bill [Belton] did some nice things early on making some people miss. One of the things I think Akeel does a great job of is he makes a decision about one cut, hits it, and gets downhill. I think those two guys are a nice compliment for us. It was a shame seeing Zach [Zwinak] go down early on. We lost Zach during the game, we lost Donovan [Smith] during the game, we lost Keiser during the game - that's three starters. They are guys that have had significant roles for us that we didn't have for a good portion of the game. And that's magnified, obviously, because you guys already know some of the challenges.
Q: You mentioned DaeSean Hamilton. Does his performance surprise you now that you've seen him all year long?
A: You never know when you are getting a guy who is starting for the first time as a redshirt freshman. We've really seen that all year long with DaeSean. He's not only smart, but he can play all three of the positions, which is helpful because now you can move him around. I think we're going to need to continue to grow his package and find ways to get him the ball because he's proven to us that he's a playmaker. But I'm really proud of him. I've been proud of him since day one for how he's been working. I think the other factor is just how disciplined he is with his assignments and his responsibilities.
Q: Can you evaluate how Christian [Hackenberg] played tonight?
A: I have to watch the tape to give you a more thorough evaluation. The thing I think he's doing that's really important is he's been mentally and physically tough all year long. He's taken a lot of hits and a lot of pounding and he's standing in there and believing in his guys and delivering balls. That's really what I can speak on right now. You look at his stats and I think he was 31 of 49 for 224 yards and a touchdown. Obviously we have to eliminate the interceptions from the game. I think a lot of times when you think of an interception you think it's the quarterback. And don't get me wrong, he's got a part in it. But there's also some things that we need to do from a route perspective and a protection perspective. It's not just one thing. Just like anything else in life, it's usually a combination of factors that went into it.
Q: You mentioned Mike Hull. How much do you rely on him and sort of take him for granted that you've got a guy of his caliber?
A: I don't take it for granted at all. I think he should be on every award list right now. He deserves that. I've been doing this for 20 years. I've coached in a lot of different leagues, even the NFL. The guy is playing at a really, really high level week in and week out. He makes plays from sideline to sideline in the run game and in the pass game. You guys have heard me say this before, but I have a man crush on that guy. I love him. He's a big-time football player.
Q: Do you plan on submitting any of those plays that you didn't like the explanation for to the Big Ten Conference and when do you expect to hear back from them?
A: I know you guys would love for me to give you a sound bite that not only would sell papers but would get me a big fine, but I'm not going to do it. I'm going to focus on the things that I can control, which are our players, our coaches, our program and loving these kids and coaching them and putting them in a position to be successful. We're going to come out on Sunday and we're going to work harder than we've ever worked to do that. That's what I can control. I can't control all of those other things. That's what we're going to focus on.
Q: Going back to the defense. A guy like Anthony Zettel, who comes out with an interception and then bats down a pass - how important is it having a player like him on your defense?
A: He is a disruptive guy. He's been that way since week one. Even some of the plays that he didn't make tonight, he was in the backfield making the running back bubble. He eats up blocks. I think sometimes he doesn't have as many stats as you want but I think that's also a reason why Mike Hull's stats are also so high. It's how the guys in front of him are playing as well. I've been really impressed with him all year long. He's made big plays, he's got a great motor and he's been really active. I think the fact that we've been able to rotate the defensive line has been helpful for him in terms of sustaining it throughout the game and sustaining it throughout the year. I've been pleased with him.
Q: Right before the field goal at the end of regulation, on first down you chose to spike the ball. Can provide some insight into that decision?
A: We signaled a play in and it got screwed up. Rather than running a play in the wrong situation, Christian decided to spike the ball which I think was a good decision.