Penn State Nittany Lions football: Does James Franklin ...

241 09/11/2021

Penn State Nittany Lions football head coach James Franklin believes in "trap games" — but only under certain circumstances.

"I do believe in trap games if you're sending mixed messages. If you're inconsistent in your approach," Franklin said Tuesday.

"I believe in teams playing inconsistent because they either look forward, look back, get caught up in praise, get caught up in criticism, don't have the correct amount of respect for the opponent or the process.”

The Nittany Lions are entering a home game against a quality, veteran Ball State group — a game nestled between two contests against ranked opponents in Wisconsin and Auburn.

Certainly, some of the typical 'trap game' ingredients are present, but Franklin hopes that his staff's approach — one that is tenaciously consistent — will protect this Penn State team from falling into the trap.

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"I think you guys know, almost to the point where it's maybe a little crazy, our routine and process is really important to me," Franklin said. "That's why we won't talk about anything else but the game at hand."

Indeed, the narrow focus Franklin abides by at all times seems perfect for weeks like this one.

He posted the following Tweet on Sunday evening, an in-season tradition that reads like a public statement of intent, but is also an internal reminder that the Nittany Lions are going to abide by their process.


"It's subtle things, little subtle things that you say in the press conference, that the fans and the players pick up on, that your staff picks up on," Franklin said. "It's subtle things about your demeanor and approach out at practice, whether it's a conference game or out of conference, on the road or whatever, ranked opponent or not.

"It's subtle things that people pick up on. So, I try to make sure that we don't do that and that message is consistent, so whether they go down and they're getting gear from our equipment people, that there is no cracks in it. There is consistency. Same thing in the training room. Same with our coaches and staff and so on."

RELATED: Penn State football: Picking up from 2020 finish, Jahan Dotson, Nittany Lions stay grounded

The approach trickles down to the players, that much is for sure. Rarely does any Nittany Lion go through a press conference without repeating Franklin's "1-0" mantra.

Veteran Nittany Lion wideout Jahan Dotson has listened to the same ideas for four seasons now, and he's working to spread them throughout Penn State's locker room.

"We've just got to follow our game plan," Dotson said. "They won the MAC conference last year. They have a lot of upperclassmen on their team, a lot of experienced guys.

"Coach Franklin's been talking lately about how in the past we've kind of waited for us to have a major loss to come in and and start working hard, so just coming in on that Monday after a victory and going even harder so you want to get even better for the next week, that's been a big focal point for us in the last week."


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