Penn State Football Is At a Crossroad. Where Does the Program Go Now?

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LeeteHall2000's picture

Posted this in the 'This is Fine' link, but it might be more applicable here.

At first, I was going to talk about how I don't think Franklin should be fired if he goes 6-6 or better.  Then, I was going to say if he goes 4-7 or worse, we're likely looking for a new HC regardless of all obstacles Franklin's had to deal with this season.  But then I thought, "What if Sandy Barbour actually has to make a HC hire?"  She's got no track record of making solid football hires.  Then I thought, "What is Sandy's track record as an AD in general?"  I don't think anyone would call her tenure at Cal a success.  Then I wondered what was on her resume that made Barron think, "She will be a great AD at Penn State?"  And THAT made me wonder what kind of president the BOT hired in Barron, given such a questionable hire at such an important position.  So, I further wondered why the BOT thought Barron was the right president for PSU.  Then, I remembered that this board who hired Barron was moments away from hiring a guy who ended up resigning from SUNY Medical because he committed fraud.  So all this wondering has me really concerned about a lot of things up at Dear ol' State besides what's going to happen with the FB team.

Really wish they'd have beaten Pitt, because then I wouldn't be wondering so much.

The score is still Q to 12!

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Bill DiFilippo's picture

Sandy hired Sonny Dykes, and Cal has gotten better each year under him and beat Texas last week, so I think your statement about Sandy making football hires is off-base.

LeeteHall2000's picture

That's fair, and I was just coming back to edit my post on that.  I saw he went 1-11 his first year there and didn't check the last two years.  I should work at Pennlive!

And their BB coach took Cal to the Dance last year, so TBH those hires don't look too bad.  And academics has only improved (from a strong starting point) under Sandy, Franklin, Chambers et al.

Very fair.

Let's just hope they go 2-0 the next two weeks and get back on track for a decent season.

The score is still Q to 12!

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JLish79's picture

Matt, after reading your last line I found myself saying, " Whaaaaat"? So no starting LB's, green DL, way down the depth charts LBs who get injured and are now out for the year, an LB tossed from the game by an erroneous call, playing a senior laced team in their house, being physically overmatched along both fronts due to having to play guys with a little more experience than true freshman and red shirt freshman, almost being 3-1 due to a new guy mistake, and you call this a step back? I call it survival until some troops are ready to fill in. Let's see how the rest of the season plays out. Too bad you are really deciding to quit on these kids so early in the season. 

PSU 1979

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ray's picture

He's not quitting on them. He's disappointed that Franklin seemed to be in damage control conservative coaching mode rather than making the most of his opportunities and inspiring confidence in his team.

it wouldn't have changed the outcome but it's a fair criticism. 

*tuddies*

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millzners's picture

I don't completely disagree with you.  Many of these points are valid.  But if excuses were counted as points then we'd be blowing out every team we face.  And if you're happy with those excuses, then I am envious of you because I too am struggling to find anything positive to say.  No one would grade this team without taking into account the things you have noted, and yet even with that taken into account this is still an overwhelming disappointment. 

People are so tired of seeing a Penn State team that can't block, tackle, or game plan... 

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Matt de Bear's picture

I certainly did not intent to give the impression I am quitting on this season. What I am frustrated about is Penn State looked like they didn't even belong on the same field with Michigan. Heck, I predicted a 21 point loss in our roundtable, but I expected some semblance of fight. What is a player supposed to think when he sees his coach opt for a field goal, at the two yard line, to cut a four score game, to a slightly different four score game? And when a that coach calls a timeout to, uh, double down on that decision, and then try to explain it away after as a mistake? Hell, this is the fourth (I think) time he has made the same amazingly awful decision to kick in that position. It was made even worse by the fact it was a merely symbolic gesture to put points on the board. Just a few minutes later, after cutting the lead from 28 to 25, they had a fourth and short near midfield, and punted. Two players later, the Woverines were right back where we punted from. 

As it says in what I wrote, one of the reasons the college football world fell in love with Franklin at Vandy was because he was aggressive, took risks, etc. No one expected anything from those teams. No one expected much yesterday from Penn State, but what we got was conservative at best decision making, when I don't think anyone would have batted an eye had they opted to go for it more, take more shots, or be a little unpredictable. Because hey, all you had to lose was a game no one thought you'd win anyway. And who knows, maybe you pull off a couple big plays and give yourself a shot. Instead, they went down 28-0 so fast they went into a shell to try and keep it from getting worse. All they did from there was still get outscored 21-10.

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Jeffjmin's picture

Bottom line. For over 2 years now James Franklin has shown he just isn't a very good head football coach. He no longer deserves his job at penn st. I get sanctions and youth and injuries and many many things making his job more difficult. He still doesn't have his team prepared even against lesser opponents. When have you said or thought he really outcoached the other team in 30 games?!  Not once have I even thought it regardless of the opponent and I say it every Saturday watching other teams and coaches impressed by what they do. 

Jeffjmin

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OLDLIONofNYC's picture

I think we'll learn in the next two weeks whether this team has at least the chance to be somewhat competitive. Beat Minnesota and Maryland and PSU can still have a shot at an 8-4 season. Don't and I think we really have to start questioning whether Franklin is the long term answer for the PSU program. I happen to think he isn't, but I have always hoped he can prove me wrong...so far it hasn't happened.

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Bill DiFilippo's picture

*whispers*

Penn State has a shot at 9-3 if it gets healthy considering Michigan State and Iowa aren't that good.

(For the record, I don't think PSU goes 9-3, but there's a non-zero chance that happens is what I'm saying.)

Jeffjmin's picture

Wow love your optimism. Wish I could dream of 9-3 right now. The next 2 weeks are by far the biggest since Franklin arrived. Could go 2-0 or 0-2. If 0-2 losing season is probably a reality and so is getting a new coach right at seasons end.

Jeffjmin

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Jeffjmin's picture

Btw Iowa and Michigan st lost to very well coached football teams. No way you can say that when oenn state plays them later.

Jeffjmin

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OLDLIONofNYC's picture

I get that Michigan State and Iowa aren't that good, Bill. The problem is Franklin has problems beating winning or decent teams in general (and despite those slip ups, both of those teams will probably end up with 8 or 9 wins by the end of the season). There is also a chance that those teams are markedly better by the time those games come around.

I don't think PSU can get to 9-3 either, I've always said that if he finishes at 8-4 before the bowl game I'll be happy with the season. So there is still a shot, however we now know those games against the teams mentioned above; none of them are guarantees, in fact I would say they are closer to 50/50 right now.

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lXlFUSElXl's picture

We have seen a theme the last few weeks were the team just does not seem to show the passion and drive on game day. They come out flat and sometimes stay flat. I wonder if this is  a result of youth or coaching or both. I find myself looking back at the 2012 team with Mauti, Mcgloin, Zordich, and so on.  This current team just does not have that kind of leadership right now and they ride the lows and highs a lot more than a veteran team. 

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ray's picture

The three guys you mentioned were all seniors on a pretty experienced team.

who are our senior leaders? Brandon Bell? Nyeem? all guys who are injured and can't really lead by example. Malik Golden is doing alright.

i think a hallmark of a young inexperienced team is exactly what you pointed out. They're emotional and get swept up in it.

*tuddies*

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icavalera's picture

I think 8-4 is still possible. However, I do worry about a team like Minnesota running the ball down our throats, considering that they have two or three good RBs and we haven't been able to stop the run (except against Temple). I know they haven't played anyone yet, but they could have success against our depleted defense.

With fang and claw to shred your face
They will erase the human race
Time to kiss your ass goodbye

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greenmanRD's picture

Very optimistic! A pessimist can reply though, "what are the chances this team doesn't even make a bowl game? And are those chances equal or greater than 9-3?" 

Considering that of our easiest games remaining (@ Rutgers, @ Indiana, @ Purdue, Maryland), only 1 is at home, and we have a pretty much toss up game against Minnesota this week. If we lose to Minnesota, then we should anticipate not making a bowl game because I would think the chances of winning all 4 of these aren't particularly great considering where they are. 

If PSU misses a bowl game, James Franklin is going to be in serious trouble and may just get outright fired this offseason. Not saying I want this to happen but I don't think it's taboo or an impossibility. I would say that winning 5 games is probably more likely than winning 9 with this team, and that's not a good thing. Granted, some of it is injury related. 

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brenballer12's picture

I've told anybody who'd listen this season is a set of 3 game sets

Non conference: Kent St (W), @Pitt (L), Temple (W)

Early Conference: @Mich (L), Minnesota, Maryland

bye week

Mid Conference: Ohio St, @Purdue, Iowa

Late Conference: @Indiana, @Rutgers, Mich St

I'd like to see the team go 2-1 in each of those sets and I think that would be a successful season

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DoubleLion0408's picture

Personally, I think Franklin was crossroads entering the season. If he wasn't on the hot seat, I don't think he fires Donovan. I just don't. While I don't think they can him this year due to money owed to him and his staff, I think next year will be an entirely different animal and that review process is already underway and took a turn for a worse yesterday. While I expected Michigan to pull away in the second half, I firmly believe 50 to 60% of yesterday's performance was due to coaching at both the micro and macro scales.

Success with honor

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Baxter'sWheelOfCheese's picture

Franklin was brought in first and foremost to restock the talent on this team, and he has largely done that. At some point, Sandy Barbour is going to have to answer the question of whether or not he is the right guy to coach that talent over the next several years and turn this program into a winner. Personally, I struggle to identify anything that he's done over the course of his tenure here to suggest that he's that guy.

This team may be young and inexperienced, but it is also very frequently unprepared to play, especially against good teams. Franklin teams have only once ever beaten a team that won 8 or more games at the end of the season, and are something like 0-20 against teams that finish in the Top 25. I don't know why people expect that to suddenly change next season. 

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Mudder's picture

I don't think he actually has restocked the talent yet, and that's a function of time frame, not success/failure at recruiting.

His classes: 2014, a piecemeal 1 month finish capped at 15. 2015, a full class, but one in which they had to adjust midstream because they were working with a target of 15 ships for half the cycle and couldn't get in early with as many kids. Still it was a fine effort and these guys are either redshirt freshmen or true sophomores. 2016: A full class, not quite as good as 2015 but good all the same. These guys are true freshmen.

Freshman and sophomore talent is what we have. A top team is built from 5 recruiting cycles and we only have 2 under our belt. There's still a long ways to go to restock the talent.

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Pennsyltucky's picture

A head coach, and coaching staff's, job is to put their players in a position where they can succeed. The most frustrating part about the way Franklin has run his teams the past three years is that he has not done this. As a fan, I can deal with watching bad football, and I can even deal with a 40 point loss to a top 5 team on the road, but it is really hard to watch a game where you know your team has no chance simply because they will not be put in a position to succeed. 

We talk about the lack of depth/talent a lot around here, and for good reason. It's a huge issue. But that's even more reason to go for broke in your style of play. It's the only chance you've got. Be aggressive in everything you do. Don't kick a field goal down 28 from your opponent's 2 yard line. Go for it on 4th and short, even if you happen to be in your own territory. O'Brien knew this in 2012/13, and those were two of the most enjoyable seasons I've experienced as a fan, even with a few huge losses sprinkled in. 

I still put myself in the "give CJF some time" camp. Realistically, they had little chance of beating Michigan even if they played the go for broke style I would like to see them play. I said at the beginning of the year it isn't the Michigan/OSU/MSU games that will determine my outlook for the program, it's the other games that they could/should win. If they lose to Iowa/Minnesota/Indiana because of mis-managed timeouts, or because of a timid playing style, it will pretty hard for me to even watch this team, let alone support the coach. 

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Rick from Norristown's picture

Some of you will disregard, and I understand if you do but wanted to pass along. Sister-in-law does pilates with someone high up in the AD. Asked her where things are at from a temperature level: "I wouldn't lose to Minnesota if I were him." 

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BigMoneyJunny's picture

Is the pilates class at the Corner Room?
 

junny.

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Baxter'sWheelOfCheese's picture

Nah but its taught by Les Miles. 

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Smee's picture

You say you are a fan of the program. Which program? The one Sandy and CJF are selling? Or the brand that was sold previously? If the former then you'll be fine. CJF will be gone soon enough - don't feel bad, he's set for life - and you'll get a new football coach every couple years until you strike gold. It's a systemic issue that starts up the line -- benchmarking with other schools and adopting industry best practices just makes you like everyone else. AD's come and go, football coaches come and go. They all sell their schtick. So enjoy what every other college fan deals with - welcome to the club. If the former, then yes, you should feel frustrated. Because they don't get it and they ain't gonna get it. It's not what they are about.

Humanum est pati

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millzners's picture

Serious question:  If we lose to Minny, would you welcome Les Miles? 

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Craig Fitzgerald's Biggest Fan's picture

I don't think either side of that conversation would be motivated enough to actually make it happen. It'd be silly to not at least talk to him, but I don't see it making enough sense to justify firing Franklin.

Never forget Virginia owes us a home game. Michigan State is our biggest rival.

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millzners's picture

I don't think it's a good fit even if there is mutual interest.  I just can't see how he'd upgrade the team, he'd be at best a wash and at worst a downgrade.

If Franklin gets canned in the next two seasons it's because they have someone in the wings who's a proven winner and a PSU guy.  I don't see a guy like that anywhere today, but maybe I'm not looking close enough...

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m1ek's picture

Hell No, see Brian Kelly mention in my comment below.

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icavalera's picture

I've been thinking a lot about this since I saw it mentioned on Twitter yesterday. I don't think Miles is any better than Franklin, overall. Hell, he's underachieved the last four seasons considering the talent he's had, and he makes many of the same types of questionable in-game decisions that Franklin does. Would we be any better right now if he was our coach, with the level of talent we have? I seriously doubt it. And as a friend of mine texted me yesterday "For Pete's sake, he was outsmarted by a senile Joe in the '09 Citrus Bowl."

With fang and claw to shred your face
They will erase the human race
Time to kiss your ass goodbye

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greenmanRD's picture

Les is a better coach than Franklin and I'm about 100% convinced of that. There's no reason to think Franklin's better, he's done nothing near to what Les has. 

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icavalera's picture

I didn't say Franklin was better. I think they're somewhat equivalent. I just don't think we'd be any better right now with Miles as our coach. But you're obviously right that Franklin hasn't accomplished anything close to what Miles has accomplished. He hasn't had the insane level of talented players or the amount of time Miles has had, either. All I'm saying is that if they fired Franklin after the season (which I don't think they should do at this point), Les Miles isn't the answer. 

With fang and claw to shred your face
They will erase the human race
Time to kiss your ass goodbye

PP
greenmanRD's picture

Les very well may not be the answer, but underachieving at LSU is going like 10-3/9-4, something we haven't sniffed since IT. I don't think we should hire Les Miles, but they aren't equivalent. One's an SEC and National Champion, the other has 1 win over a top 25 team. They really aren't all that close. 

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icavalera's picture

No, their resumes aren't all that close, but consider this - we also haven't sniffed the level of talent fielded by LSU since IT. Since they played for the title in 2011 (Franklin's 1st year at Vandy), LSU has gone 10-3, 10-3, 8-5, 9-3, and 2-2. I think Franklin could have produced similar results with LSU's roster. Again, though, my main point is really that Miles isn't the answer. People bitch about Franklin's clock management, but Miles is almost or just as bad as Franklin in that department. He's also 62 years old. I'd want someone younger than that if Franklin is let go.

With fang and claw to shred your face
They will erase the human race
Time to kiss your ass goodbye

PP
Bill DiFilippo's picture

I think Les Miles is unquestionably a better coach than James Franklin. I also think that a number of his flaws (especially when it comes to in-game decision making and clock management) are the same flaws that Franklin has shown so far, which is why I'd prefer it if PSU hired someone else if this hypothetical scenario presented itself. I'm still fine with Franklin and I'd be fine with Miles, but if you're making a change, I think you need to make an actual change and not do something where you replace the coach with a similar coach, imo.

icavalera's picture

Thanks Bill, you said it better than I did.

With fang and claw to shred your face
They will erase the human race
Time to kiss your ass goodbye

PP
Bill DiFilippo's picture

Also wanna add that saying "Les > Franklin" is not an indictment against Franklin. Les Miles is just a really good coach.

millzners's picture

I think it's also worth acknowledging that Les Miles' precipitous decline parallels the implementation of the Houston Nutt rule.  Starting in 2009 the rule put into place 28 player cap on LOI.  The effect of that rule would have taken 4-5 seasons to really have an impact.  5 years after the rule went into effect LSU found itself 8-5, then 9-3, and now 2-2.

I'm not saying that's 100% of the reason, but it's worth noting...

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Bugfisherman's picture

Bill, you are absolutely right. There is no comparison that can be made between James Franklin and Les Miles. Les Miles won a few SEC Titles and a National Championship, with an overall record of 141 - 55.  Now, I am not a Les Miles fan at all and I really don't think he would be a good fit for Penn State. I think more times than not, he finds a way to underachieve in the really big games. That may be unfair to him, but ... James Franklin on the other hand has tooted his own horn so many times that people think he has actually done something good. The facts don't bare that out in any way!! He has done nothing, with the exception of embarrassing the Penn State program by putting the worst offense on a field in the history of college football!! I have never seen anything like his first year at PSU where they basically went Jet Sweep Right, Jet Sweep Left, Jet Sweep Right and Punt ... almost every time they had the ball. It was beyond belief to me. It has not gotten much better 2 years later. Franklin did nothing at Vanderbilt, yet people want to say "look what he did at Vandy!" What did he do at Vandy? ... He basically went .500 just like he is doing here at PSU. I don't think that is impressive. A record of 141 - 55 with 2 or 3 SEC Titles and a National Championship for Les Miles is impressive and a little different than 40 - 29 by Franklin, going 16 - 14 at PSU! Franklin is a bust, but in fairness to him, he should have NEVER been hired for a position coaching a football program at the level that PSU competes at regularly. He's incapable of doing it. I definitely don't buy the excuse that Franklin doesn't have the talent to do well. Over the last 2 years, Franklin and many others have been "bragging" about what a great job HE (Himself) has done recruiting top talent. He BRAGS about it constantly ... "That is what I am great at .... recruiting talent". Recruiting for a school with Penn State's reputation and history of success is much easier than recruiting at say; Vanderbilt. Plus, Pennsylvania is still a hot bed for football talent. The kids in PA are very excited about playing for PSU. Franklin has some excellent talent right now, but look what he has done with it. Bill O'Brien, during the very worst time in the history of PSU football was 15 - 9. He had no talent at all at the time with zero scholarships and did better than Franklin has. Plus, watching the difference in the way the teams performed on the field was a stark difference. The play calling, the defense ... actually everything just looked much better and they continued to improve under O'Brien. Even the incredibly overrated Christian Hackenburg was noticeably better when he played under O'Brien. PSU will at best be a .500 - .600 team under Franklin. He is sooooo far over his head and it clearly shows. I don't want Les Miles ... and I don't want rotating coaches at PSU ... but I also don't believe you continue on with a coach that is clearly lost and is decimating the program to being a perennial .500 team. We need to make a change immediately (year end), someone that came through the PSU program would be great, but not totally necessary. Not performing up to PSU standards is understandable at this point, but we need to make progress and we are not getting any better and we have actually been an EMBARRASSMENT on the field. Just off the top of my head ... we should take a close look at Matt Rhule of Temple. He is a PSU Alum and he just embarrassed Franklin badly by clobbering him last year and almost pulling off a win again this year!! You want to tell me Matt Rhule had / has better talent than Franklin? ... I don't think so. Rhule is without question getting more out of the kids he has than Franklin is. I say ... (and I know everything LOL!!) ...let's take a real close look at Rhule at the end of the year (or now for that matter because I think he will end up at a big program fairly soon). We have EVERYTHING to gain by doing so. I am sure there are others that we should be looking at as well. 

Bugfisherman

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zelda381's picture

Starting to wonder about Franklin and his coaching.....starting to look more like that car salesman everyone knows

solanco guy

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m1ek's picture

What I wanted to see right after the Smith ejection was Franklin going insane (even if an act) to defend his player. When your nicest, most adult, least likely to try to hurt somebody, former walk-on, 4th string linebacker gets thrown out for bullshit like that, I think the team needs to see him off his rocker. Hell, get thrown out of the game! Why not?

Not that I'm a fan of the screaming yelling thing long-term. There's a reason everybody hates Brian Kelly. And it wouldn't have helped us win that game. Nothing would have.

But it would have helped the team not suffer such a gigantic morale nutpunch from the game which is likely to affect the rest of their season. And Franklin didn't do a tenth as much as I think I would have wanted, so now we get to guess whether the team's even going to be up for Minnesota.

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Craig Fitzgerald's Biggest Fan's picture

I couldn't help but think about how Bill O'Brien would have reacted in that type of situation. He was great at reacting strongly, but not overdoing it like Jim Harbaugh or Brian Kelly can.

Never forget Virginia owes us a home game. Michigan State is our biggest rival.

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GSAPS's picture

I seem to remember Franklin being pretty animated after the call.

My kingdom for a Z key

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m1ek's picture

He was moderately animated for like twenty seconds or so.

Even Joe near the end would have made a bigger spectacle than that. And I think a bigger spectacle was desperately needed here, for the sake of the team's morale. (We weren't going to make that game competitive, but he could have rallied the players for the rest of the season).

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scottdmiller's picture

+1 for "giganitc morale nutpunch" lol

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Bill DiFilippo's picture

I agree, but I also see the argument of "he's already kicked out and there's nothing Franklin can do about it, the refs are generally more favorable to the home team, Harbaugh gets every call, and you don't want to piss them off any further by telling them they're bad at their jobs even if they are." Again, I wish he argued a bit more, but the argument against it makes some sense.

m1ek's picture

See, I think you probably hit on Franklin's thinking there. But gameplan that out a little. How on earth could pissing off the refs possibly make things worse for us at that point?

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Jeffjmin's picture

One of the worst parts was Frankin agreeing with the refs after the game! He even said helmet to helmet which it clearly wasn't! 

Jeffjmin

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ForTheGlory's picture

It was definitely helmet to helmet contact.  Two solid objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time.  What it was not was "intentional" which is the second part of the rule.  Unfortunately, "intentional" is subjective but those refs really looked bad when the replay showed him going for the ball which he has the absolute right to do under the rules.

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icavalera's picture

It looked more like shoulder pad to helmet, which can also be targeting. It doesn't have to be helmet to helmet. Not saying what Smith did was targeting, though.

With fang and claw to shred your face
They will erase the human race
Time to kiss your ass goodbye

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AverageLion's picture

I swear I saw on the broadcast he was arguing pretty strongly with the sideline official - not sure you need to get yourself kicked out of the game in order to save your team there.

You seem like you might get mad at bat flips in baseball too because that's the way it's always been played.

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Craig Fritz's picture

He was talking to a ref for a considerable time. The idea that he didn't stick up for Smith or wasn't mad about it is ridiculous.

m1ek's picture

Like I said, he talked to a ref, displaying mild upset, for 20-30 seconds. (I've deleted the recording already so can't point to it, but that's my recollection).

Even Senile Paterno would have gone batshit on this one.

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scottdmiller's picture

Let's look at a timeline. Michigan being the example.

  • 2007 - Lloyd Carr retires
  • 2010 - Rich Rod fired
  • 2014 - Brady Hoke fired
  • 2014 - Jim Harbaugh hired

Seven years. SEVEN!!! Seven years, without sanctions (insert joke about Rich Rod being self-imposed sanctions here. derp.) and they're just now at a point where they're relevant again. Since 2007 they've won 10 games twice. One of those was last season under Harbaugh. All with a full bevy of 85 scholarships.

So, another timeline, Penn State being the example.

  • 2011/2012 - Yuck.
  • 2014 - B'OB leaves for NFL (<sad panda>)
  • 2014 - CJF hired

How many years is that? HOW MANY!!!??? Yea... that's what I thought. 

Forest for the Trees People!

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Mudder's picture

How about this timeline:

1982, Paul Bryant Retires

1983-2006, 6 coaches over 25 years, fanbase runs every one of them out of town because they aren't the Bear.

2007, Nick Saban Hired

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speedomike's picture

Well, they also won the national title in 1992.

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LeeteHall2000's picture

Too lazy to look up, but I thought they had to forfeit that title.

The score is still Q to 12!

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Baxter&#039;sWheelOfCheese's picture

To be fair, as bad as Brady Hoke was, he went 11-2 in 2011 and won a Sugar Bowl. We aren't close to that. Also, I would venture an unsubstantiated guess that he was a better recruiter than Franklin has been here. 

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speedomike's picture

I don't know man-this game wasn't a "let's re-evaluate the state of the program" game for me. To be honest, I'm tired of doing that after every game. But, between the gap in talent, gap in experience, playing on the road, and defensive injuries I thought we could lose this game 55-0 or something similar. I wasn't in the least surprised by this game. I'd remind people that Michigan lost 42-13 to Ohio State at home last year. Or that Florida State just lost by 40 to Louisville. Games like this can get ugly quick and there isn't much playcalling that's going to change that.

Nothing about my expectations for this season has changed. I saw 7 wins (Kent State, Temple, Maryland, Minnesota, Rutgers, Indiana, Purdue), 3 losses (Michigan, OSU, MSU), and two toss ups (Pitt, Iowa). So far that's exactly where we are. Lose to Minnesota and/or Maryland? Yeah then I start to adjust my expectations.

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scottdmiller's picture

I agree. I think that this season, if we're losing to teams, regardless of how close the score, that we shouldn't be losing to then it's time to really start being critical. Gah, I hate to say that knowing the limitations of this year's teams w/ injuries, depth, and experience but I still feel like it's fair. I don't think CJF is unaware of that fact either.

Once the 2018 season ends and we still haven't beaten a ranked team and/or one of the big teams in our division THEN I will definitely be ready to get a different coach in here because clearly it's just not working.

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Dr. Tim Whatley's picture

To be honest, I'm tired of doing that after every game.

Great point...There is no way we would fire a coach mid-season, so let's just relax and evaluate his performance at the end of the year.  We all know we are going to get rolled by OSU in a few weeks, but we can win our next two games and then when we do get smoked by OSU, we will be having this same conversation again.  Do all fan bases do this? haha.  It's exhausting to discuss whether or not our coach is on the hot seat week in and week out.  I just want to enjoy football season.  

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GSAPS's picture

Let's just beat Minnesota.  Franklin pls.

My kingdom for a Z key

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ForTheGlory's picture

I just want to know how many of you have taken a team that was not supposed to win any games, had been stripped of any possibility to add top end talent and is stuck with a bunch of kids to fill out the roster going against teams that have had the advantage of a full 85 scholarships, decent mix among the classes, has upperclassman leadership with the rest of the team having significantly more game experience than your team.  I bet the number is ZERO!!  This is what Franklin and his coaching staff are up against.

From my experience taking young teams to good and even great teams all that matters is adding good coaching and experience to the talent while preventing them from becoming disillusioned with losing.  This is a hard mixture, but guess what, we have had a winning record as the kids take their lumps and are gaining that much needed experience so they are not getting totally beaten down.  This should lead to teams that can compete with the top teams in another 2 or 3 years when the current youngsters are seniors and redshirt seniors similar to what you see in this year's Michigan team.

I think Franklin gets another 3 years, despite what fandom thinks, to let him reach the stage of having a talented, experienced team team that he can coach to compete with the top teams in the country.

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PhillyPSUNCTID's picture

Can't reply or Like but this is to Speedo Mike... Good point on evaluating the state of the program after every game.  It's exhausting.  So far this season has gone as most expected but we have been hearing a lot of comments as if something is fundamentally broken.  

We don't believe in moral victories yet losing by more than expected is more than just a loss?  

Franklin has to win against the little 5 and beat one of the B1G 3 at home to change the 50/50 split in the fan base.  If not, next year will be more of the same. Of course that's if he isn't fired in the offseason.

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MetsFanXXIII's picture

My hope is that this doesn't wind up mattering in the grand scheme. This game was basically an assured loss, and probably a rough one, even if the rosier 9-3 predictions turned out to be accurate. And really, there is no such thing as a moral victory, at least in my book, so frankly, I really wouldn't have cared if they'd only lost by two scores or whatever. Remember when we felt like a corner had been turned following the 2014 OSU game? Well, they followed that performance up by losing to Maryland at home. This year, I'll not judge the players by how hard they get punched, but how quickly they get back up from it. Minnesota might be able to run on them, but they don't have anywhere close to the defensive firepower of Michigan, and that game is at Beaver Stadium. Not quite "signature win" material, but definitely an excellent opportunity for a bounceback. I do like that this year's schedule isn't as backloaded as last season's.

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Dr. Tim Whatley's picture

Pitt was a tough loss, but we were a 6 point dog and lost on the road by 3- not the end of the world.  This weekend really sucked, everyone expected us to get blown out, but most people expected a better showing from the offense.  I am certainly not pleased, but at the end of the day, this staff still has 8 games to show improvement and salvage a good season.  All is not lost yet.  Iowa looks beatable and I don't know what to make of MSU at this point.  I still believe 8-4 is a possibility, and even with this loss and and a similar result against Ohio State, 8-4 would certainly be considered a successful season by any standard.  Now, maybe we'll go 5-7, at which point JF's seat will be heating up, but let's cross that bridge when we come to it.  Michigan is a REALLY good team...trying to predict the remaining B1G games (except OSU) based on this performance is a pointless endeavor.  Let's see what happens over the next 2 weeks before we freak out.   

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S.O.'s picture

This article reeks of Hot Take that I thought this site would avoid.

Lose to #4 team when 1 of your 22 players could start for them... CROSS-ROADS!

Kick a FG b/c your locker room might feel a bit better in not-getting shut out when the game has been decided 9x over.... CHICKEN!  WASTED TIME OUT THAT HE COULD'VE USED TO (oh... he didn't even use all his time outs?)

Not every game / every decision is a cross-roads or referendum.  Sometimes you just lose a game you were expected to lose.

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LeeteHall2000's picture

PSU is at a crossroads because they didn't win the Pitt game.  They could have lost 63-14 to Michigan, but if that came after a 3-0 start then nobody would be talking about being at a crossroads.

They need to go 2-0 these next two weeks, unless they plan on pulling off a stunner vs. MSU to close out the season.

The score is still Q to 12!

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Bugfisherman's picture

It's not just the throttling that we just took from Michigan. It is the way we took the throttling ... meekly and completely disheveled. It was a cowardly loss by Franklin. Florida State just got trounced by Houston, but the difference was that Jimbo Fisher coached his players right up until the final play ... and afterwards in the locker room. He held that team together best he could and was seen / heard giving the kids "life lessons" on the sidelines during the game. Franklin quit on his team. Kicking a field goal from the 2 yard line when down by 28 or 30 points ... or what ever. 

That being said, it is not about the Michigan game only. It is about what we have experienced since Franklin has been here. In his first year, Franklin EMBARRASSED the PSU Program by putting the worst offense on a football field in the history of college football ... Jet Sweep Right, Jet Sweep Left, Jet Sweep Right ... Punt. Wide Receiver Screen Right, Wide Receiver Screen Left, Wide Receiver Screen Right ... Punt. Then start over next series. In 57 years, I have never seen anything like it. The offense has not improved in any way, even though the play calling has changed some. PSU lost for the first time since 1941 to Temple ... and badly! We almost lost to them again this year. Christian Hackenburg looked exceptionally better while playing for Bill O'Brien than he did under Franklin. Actually, there was a distinct difference in the way the teams performed under O'Brien compared to Franklin. Clearly, O'Brien's Team had some problems as well, but for the most part they looked pretty decent and progressed over the year. Franklin's Teams have looked horrible!! They don't even seem to be able to perform the basics of the game of football. At times, they appear to have no idea what they are doing and they sure have not progressed over the year. It is not always about winning the games, but there is no excuse for the kids skill levels not improving over the year ... and the team not improving over the year. Franklin's PSU Teams look like Michigan looked 2 years ago under Brady Hoke ... hopeless! Then came Harbaugh ... completely different teams - same players for the most part!! 

PSU possibly has the best running back in the country with Saquon Barkley. His yards per carry are down dramatically from last year (down 1.1 yds / carry) and Saquon is not getting the 25 - 30 carries per game that you would expect for the best back in the country. It is not just this Michigan loss or the Temple loss last year; it is the entire 3 years of shame that PSU fans and more importantly players have had to endure under Franklin. I suggest we take a look at Matt Rhule, the coach from Temple. He is a PSU Alum and has done an excellent job with Temple since he has been there. There are other good candidates out there as well. WHY ... should we go the Michigan route and wait for 7 years while Brady Hoke; I mean James Franklin embarrasses the PSU Players and the PSU Fans?! Franklin is waaaaay over his head. He shows no promise at all and by the way ... he didn't do much at Vanderbilt either. More of the same there .500 and .600 teams. I know people want to say he did well at Vandy, but let's face it .500 ain't so great. Of course, if you listen to Franklin, he was the best coach in the history of football. The facts dispute his claims. No need to go through 5 more years of shame and embarrassment. End of this season ... or now ... it's time to replace Franklin. Start by looking at Rhule and go from there.

Bugfisherman

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