This Saturday marks the historic 100th meeting between Penn State and Pitt, but you wouldn’t know that from James Franklin’s Tuesday press conference.
It’s business as usual for the Nittany Lions, with the focus solely on the game itself.
Offseason signal change
This past summer, John Petrishen, who had been with Penn State for four years, grad transferred to Pitt.
While there wasn’t an impact in terms of on the field play, there could have been an impact in preparation, but Franklin is trying to avoid that.
“When that happened, we knew that we were going to have to make some changes at that point,” Franklin said. “So we have changed -- we didn't wait till this week to do it. We did it right when that was announced, but obviously we had to change all of our signals, you know, especially on defense and on offense, as well, but especially on defense because he knows all of our signals and those types of things.”
Penn State has been using these new signals all season, so it shouldn’t be an issue, but maybe it took some time to get used too. Even still, who knows if Petrishen has other intel to give out.
Getting the running game going
The run game was a strength for Penn State in week one against Idaho.
But that was an FCS opponent, and Buffalo is far from an FCS opponent.
The Bulls’ defensive line was strong in last week’s game, giving Penn State’s running backs fits.
But Franklin pointed out all the blame shouldn't be on them.
“Obviously in week one, you saw a lot of flashes of that,” Franklin said. “Week two, we didn't see that as much. Again, it's not just the running backs. It's the O-Line. It's the tight ends. It's all of it. It's all those things factoring in together.”
The noon game debate
Currently, teams don’t like noon games.
Alabama has been vocal in its displeasure with certain games being scheduled at noon.
James Franklin joined in Tuesday, voicing his desire for alternative options.
“Yeah, obviously I think the ideal situation for us, for college football, for the Big Ten, for this town, is to have as many 3:30 games and 7:00 games as possible,” Franklin said. “I just think it's good for the Big Ten. I think it's good for college football. I know it's good for this town. It just makes it easier for people to get here.”
“We have such a passionate fan base, they will be here no matter what, but obviously it takes a different plan. Either you're going to have to come in the night before or you're going to have to get up really early in the morning.”
This is going against the Big Ten’s current plan, where they prominently feature bigger games at noon on FOX.