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PENN STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 6, 2015
University Park, Pennsylvania
THE MODERATOR: We will get started with Coach Franklin and begin with an opening statement.
COACH FRANKLIN: Obviously, I want to start by thanking you guys for all being here and following up with some details about our last game after kinda watching it. 1-0, 4-1, which we're really proud of.
There are only 40 teams in the country that are 4-1 or better. I think a big factor in that is turnover margin. I think that's been critical to our success. We talked a few weeks ago about playing a style of play that was going to allow us to be successful, and we've done that. I think the turnovers have been huge, probably, in my opinion, I don't think it's gotten enough attention as it should, especially the conditions of the games that we have played in.
I think that's been really, really important for us and we've done a good job of that and we have to continue doing that.
First time we have been 4-0 at home since 2008 and played 21 freshmen to this point, so continuing to build on that and gain experience.
Defensive notes, it was great, we took advantage of turnovers, Garrett Sickels, Von Walker, Manny Bowen with first career fumble recoveries, Carl Nassib now with eight sacks on the season, most for a Penn State player since 2009.
We could improve our tackling. That's an area that we need to do a better job of. There are times when we are coming in throwing shoulders and not as fundamentally sound as we would like to be, and I'm a big believer that that's how you win football games is fundamentals and techniques. We have to do a better job of that, but overall doing really good, we're second in the nation with sacks, with 21 sacks, we're third in the nation with tackles for a loss at 46, which I think is going to be really important this week because they've only given up three sacks.
And then also the turnovers are tied with that, because, to me, sacks and pressure are usually tied with turnovers.
Then fourth in the nation in tackles for loss. Offensive notes, first career touchdown for Nick Scott and Mike Gesicki, which is great. It was Mike's birthday on Saturday, what a great way to celebrate your birthday.
Areas to improve, just trust in our rules. We keep seeing stuff on Saturday that we don't see on tape before, and our guys have to trust the rules and their footwork and fundamentals. We gotta improve on third down. That's gonna be with protection, contested catches, which actually Chris Godwin has done an unbelievable job of. I know we have had discussions in here about creating separation.
You can do one of two things. You can create separation, which is very, very important, we're going to continue working on that, or be able to catch contested catches, and Chris does a great job with that.
Then we will continue to protect the football. We're eighth in the nation in turnover margin, that's both the defense and the offense, and we're playing a team this week that is slightly ahead of us there. They're doing a great job of that as well.
Special teams play, I would like to make a big deal out of Troy Apke. Troy took every single snap on defense and every single snap on special teams. As a second year player he is really starting to have a big impact on our team and on our roster, and we're really happy he's with us. I didn't even realize that until we watched the tape and graded everybody, but that's who Troy is. He's said about 12 words since he's been here, and he just goes out and does his job.
Players of the week: On offense, Nick Scott; defense, Jason Cabinda, and on special teams, Manny Bowen. Manny is really starting to kinda grow up, similar to how Grant Haley did last year. He started to make plays on special teams and his role on defense continued to grow.
Indiana they're 4-1 right now, all their games have been close, Southern Illinois was very close, FIU was very close, Western Kentucky was very close, Wake Forest, all those games were very close. They found a way to win. Last week they played Ohio State very, very well in a closely contested game. Kevin Wilson in his fifth season. One of the things Kevin has been talking about and stuff that I've read and seen is probably for the first time since they've been there, they are big and physical on both fronts.
They feel like they have the depth and the size and the talent that they have been looking for since they got there, and that shows up. They're a big, long, physical team. Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns, defensive coordinator Brian Knorr, and special teams they don't have a coordinator, they do it by committee, so excited.
Closes out our five home games that we have had in a row. We knew that was going to be a challenge, and then magnified because we have had weather to deal with as well each game. We've got one Nittany Lion on the roster from Indiana, that's Tommy Stevens, and then it's pretty cool for homecoming obviously going to have the Alumni Blue Band here to join the Blue Band so really cool. Looking forward to the opportunity to play on Saturday and have an opportunity to get better and then be able to come in and spend time with you guys after the press conference, be real positive, have fun with you guys and move on to the next week. Open it up for questions.
Can I say one more thing? Sorry. One thing that I know is probably frustrating for you guys, but the Monday depth chart, the Monday depth chart, guys, unless we have a season-ending injury the week before, there is not a whole lot of new information we can put on there. It's pretty much going to be the Saturday depth chart unless we lose some guys. Like I've tried to explain every single week, a lot can happen on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday to determine whether a guy is going to play. For me to list guys that I'm hopeful to have on Saturday, I don't know if that does anybody any good.
Are we hopeful that we're going to get some guys back this week? Like Marcus Allen? Yeah. Are we hopeful? Yeah, we are, but there is a lot that still has to happen this week for me to be confident and say that's going to happen. Same thing at running backs. Are we hopeful that we can get Saquon back this week? Yeah, we are hopeful, but I don't know that right now, and talking to our doctors, it's the same thing. And I could say that about a number of guys, so basically that Monday depth chart, unless we have a season-ending injury, it's going to be very similar to what you guys saw run out on the field on Saturday. So we're all on the same page. I know it's not what you guys want or are looking for, but it's too early in the week for us to make decisions or announcements, so sorry about that.
Q. You touched on what I wanted to ask you about James, the turnovers. Has cutting back on turnovers been a bigger point of emphasis than usual this season for you and if yes, how has that affected the play calling on offense?
COACH FRANKLIN: No, but it does go back to exactly -- we do a ball security circuit every single day in practice, and I know that sounds obvious but I've never been anywhere that does it like that. We do it every single day and. Every single week I talk to our coaches about don't allow it to become monotonous or just a drill we are going through the motions on; make sure we are really working hard at that. So that's one thing, and secondly, it goes back to four weeks ago to what I said to you guys that we are going to call the game in a style that allows us to be successful, allows us to win, allows us to manage some of our issues. I said that, I said that four weeks ago, and I think that's really kinda what we are doing.
I do see us improving, the problem is every time we improve, we lose a guy, and then a new guy goes in and you're still trying to build up that consistency. We lost "Mang" last week and Wendy went in, and actually Wendy did really well, so those things all factor into it, but in a lot of ways this is exactly what we talked about.
That first week we had some real challenges that made it difficult to win, you know, when you play the way we played. So, yeah, the way we're calling the game is going to manage some of those issues and also gives us the ability to reduce plays like turnovers that I think have a major factor in the game.
So that's what we're trying to do. We gotta continue to build on it, continue to get better, we gotta continue to be more aggressive in spots.
I think this game this week these guys are going to force you to do that. They're going to load the box up, I don't know how they do it, but they have somewhere around 13 guys around the line of scrimmage every single play. They must have gotten an NCAA waiver to be able to do that, but they're going to force you to be aggressive. What we can't do, though, like we talked about the last couple weeks, is we can't abort the run and get away from the running game. We gotta be able to do both.
Q. James, whether or not you have Saquon on Saturday, I wanted to ask you at this point in the season are you concerned at all that you might be getting a little too dependent on a true freshman runner to stay in success on offense, and if you're not how would you assess his value to your offense?
COACH FRANKLIN: You know, I don't know what else to do. You say you may be getting too dependent on a freshman runner, that's all we got is freshmen runners, so I'm not sure what the other option is unless you have some eligibility -- that's where we are. So, yeah, we are dependent. Has Saquon been exciting this year, no doubt about it, no doubt about it, he's been fun to watch.
I see Nick Scott doing nice things, I see Mark Allen starting to do some nice things, Jonathan Thomas for playing for the first time, but, yeah, are we dependent on freshmen in our running game but, yeah, this is all we have since Akeel has been out. Hopefully we can get him back and that brings more veteran leadership to us, but, yes.
Q. James, you mentioned you've been able to build up practice depth but not necessarily game depth. With all the injuries, is that something that can be developed before the end of the season? And to what extent do all the moving parts influence strategy in play calling?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think you're exactly right. I think when I made that comment it was early in the season, that we didn't really have that at that point. We have much better practice depth, but as the season goes on that's what you do. You develop game depth. So guys that we just got done talking about Manny Bowen, to start the season off, again, where we looked out on the field and we had three freshmen on the field all at the same time. At that point, I didn't feel like we were in the position to do that yet. At this point in the season, we always say by the fifth game of the year, those guys need to take that step, and that's what's happening. You see that with Cooper, you see that with Manny Bowen, you see that with John Reid, you see that with Polk, you see that with Saquon, and all these other guys that are starting to grow into it. So yeah, that's starting to happen right now.
It's interesting, I was talking to a good friend of mine who is a head coach as well and we were bouncing some things off each other, and that's one of the things he said. He said people ask me are we going to be ready, are these guys going to be good players? Yes. Are they going to be ready on Saturday? We'll see. That's what we're working on every single day, and to see Manny Bowen growing up, it's fun to watch, to see John Reid growing up and Polk and those guys growing up, it's exciting to see.
It's also cool to see guys like Carl Nassib, who is growing up and taking the next step as well. So, yeah, it's good, but we are at that point now where those guys have to start to -- they gotta start to build up their confidence, and the coaches' confidence that we do have better game depth in some of those spots.
Q. You talk about managing the game and taking your shots down field that maybe Indiana might force you to do. What goes in, I guess, to the feel of managing that through a game, those two separate notions?
COACH FRANKLIN: It goes back to the things we talked about all year long, understanding our strengths and weaknesses, making sure that some of our challenges don't become major issues in the game, and then obviously managing down and distance situations so calling a shot in a situation where if you don't hit the shot you're not in a third and long situation and create a tough situation to stay on the field and convert on third down.
But also not be so predictable, that it's second and 1 and everybody in the stadium knows you're going to take a shot on second and 1, which a lot of people refer to as a "waste" down, so it's that fine line between those two things.
The other thing is being willing, when you get in certain areas, in the red zone or on an earned first down, or after a turnover, be willing to do some of those things but then if you're not successful on first down, then you have to be willing to call a bread and butter play on the second down to get you back to a manageable third down situation.
Q. Ben Kline got on the field for the first time in a couple years. How do you think he did in the limited action and how long do you think it can really honestly take a guy like that that's been away so long to get back to near 100% for you?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, you know, Ben has been unbelievable, he's handled this whole situation extremely well. I think mentally he's there. What he's been doing really for the last I don't know how many months is getting his body back to the point where his mind is telling him what to do and his body can do it.
I thought on Saturday he got out there and I think really a lot of it's just the mental aspect of it, in terms of getting back out on the field and actually doing it. He was able to do that on Saturday. We can build on that and grow from that. You know what you're going to get from Ben from a maturity and leadership standpoint and from an experience standpoint, and I think every day in practice he's getting better and now that he's able to get back on the field and do some positive things, we can continue to build on those.
Q. I wanted to ask you, you've coached Carl Nassib now for two years, but when you first came in and saw Carl and the fact that he was down on the depth chart, what was the first inkling that you got that he could be a special player given his physical and his mental makeup?
COACH FRANKLIN: I think a couple things. First of all you look at him, he's an impressive guy in terms of his height, weight, arm length, things like that, his physical testing numbers have been good, I wouldn't say freakish but they have been really good. But really what probably makes Carl special is he's somewhat odd. He's a different guy. I talk about it all the time, because I like this. I like that different odd, peculiar way that he has in terms of how driven and how motivated and how intense and how focused he always is.
Now, some guys do it in spurts; he does it all the time. I think that work ethic and that mentality and that drive, along with some of the physical skills and traits that he has, has created a really nice -- you know, really nice complement of skills that's allowed him to be successful, so I don't know if there has been an Ah-ha moment, but I know when we created last year's tape, he didn't have as many "splash" plays as he has had this year, but he played at probably a higher level than we realized, after going back and stepping away from it and looking at it from a distance and grading out all the plays. He probably played at a much higher level last year than probably he was given credit for.
Q. I wanted to talk about your punters a little bit. Are you seeing something different from them in practice than you see in the games? Could you talk a little bit about how the punting game impacts what you've been talking about today in terms of calling the game to take away some of your issues, et cetera?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, I actually think, just like I think the point you're making, the last two years the punting has had a significant impact on our team. The games -- if you look back, the games that they've punted well and swung field position and pinned people back with the way our defense plays, we've done pretty well.
The games that they have been inconsistent, put our defense in tough spots and put our offense in tough spots.
What I would say to you is, yeah, are they more consistent in practice, yeah. I would say early in the year when Daniel started and Gulla started, when they both started they both did some exciting things and some nice things, but just like last year then they've been inconsistent. Last year I think a lot of that had to do with pressure. I thought we had to clean some things up in our protection. Some of it last year we were getting the ball off slower. We time every punt in practice, we time every punt in games, as well as hang time and location and those things. So now it's just experience and it's maturity and consistency is the biggest thing, is the biggest thing.
So, yeah, I think those things factor in for sure, and we gotta get back to our special teams being a real strength for us like it was early in the year.
Q. Are opponents doing some different things coveragewise on DaeSean Hamilton that you didn't see this year and would you like to find ways to get him the ball more often than he has most weeks this seen?
COACH FRANKLIN: Who did you say?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, definitely he's a guy that has obviously proved that he can make plays for us, and I also think Godwin has stepped in the category as well, and you see Saeed a couple of weeks ago was able to do the same thing. I think part of it is we need to continue to find ways to get him the ball and make plays, but I also think you see we have more depth at that position, as well, so I think it's a combination of both of those things. Saeed being a true freshman last year and Godwin being a true freshman last year, I think they've gotten some experience, and I think that's evened that out, but Hamilton is a guy for sure we want to make sure we're getting him opportunities.
Q. I wanted to ask you a couple more things about Ben. He seems to have come back a little later than expected during the summer. Did he have some kind of set-back? Also, I believe I read that he's a Rhodes Scholar candidate. Is that true? Is he really that smart?
COACH FRANKLIN: He's a Rhodes Scholar candidate but, no, he's not really that sharp. He's beating the system, he's found a way to fool everybody! (Laughter.) No, he's smart, he's classy, he's seasoned and mature. He's a really, really interesting guy. I think he's one of these guys if anybody went out and had lunch with him, you would want to work with the guy, you would want to hire the guy, he's an impressive young man. I meet professors on campus, they're blown away by him. He's the President of our "Uplifting Athletes," and those people that run "Uplifting Athletes" just rave about him. He's involved with charities and service groups around campus and the community and everyone there loves him.
He's graduated, he's in grad school, he's really the total package. He's doing extremely well, and I think he's a great example of a young man who takes an opportunity to come to Penn State and maximizes it. Now, has he been limited in terms of injuries, in terms of the impact he's been able to make on the field? Yeah, through injuries and things like that, but he has not -- it hasn't affected the type of impact he's had on our team in terms of leadership and being a role model, very, very well respected on our team. Set-backs, yeah, obviously if a guy doesn't play for two years, he's had set-backs. There is not to many injuries now the way medicine is that keeps you out for two years. So, yeah, he's had set-backs. The specifics of those set-backs, I won't get into.
Q. James, how difficult is it to prepare for a team when you're not sure who you're going to get at quarterback or running back due the injuries that Indiana is dealing with at this point?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think the running back, I don't think it changes a whole lot because their styles are similar, the No. 2 back is similar to No. 1 and does a good job, and he's playing behind a real big physical offensive line. I don't think that changes a whole lot. The quarterback changes because you're talking about a 6-4, strong-armed pocket passer and Diamont comes in, and I think he went for 78 yard scramble on Ohio State, so that's where it becomes challenging because you've got two completely different styles.
The way we look at it a little bit is they both had, I'm assuming based on what I saw on TV, ankle injuries that didn't allow them to come back in the second half, probably similar to our guys that have gone out and haven't been able to come back the second half, and most of those guys haven't been able to play the following week. We've got to prepare as if they're going to be there, but I would also think if they couldn't come back in the second half, it's going to be challenging for them to come back and be right this week, but you never know, Mr. Miyagi may be working for them.
Q. Externally how do you manage with your audiences the expectations of what you know the reality is and how do you think you've done with that so far?
COACH FRANKLIN: That's the hardest part of my job, the hardest part of my job: How do you go out and get people really excited about the season, about the team, about the future, without setting up false expectations at a place that we've talked about before, that no matter what has happened, the day the season starts everybody remembers 1982 and 1986 and that's their expectation. And to be honest with you, it's the thing I probably love the most about Penn State is there is an expectation here for greatness. It's also the thing that can be the most challenging.
I get that, that's part of the job. I also get that I come in here and you guys are going to ask tough questions. I get that. I get the fans, I get the media, but I go to sleep every single night feeling really good about what we're doing and how we're doing it. I understand the issues. I see the things that everybody else cease. I know we gotta get better, but coming in here and talking about those negative things or what I would call "throwing people under the bus" I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to do it. But I think you're exactly right, being able to manage that is probably the biggest challenge. And I look around the country I see a lot of places going through similar things, and I study those people and how they do it and there is a fine line to it.
But I get it, I get it, I get you guys gotta do your job, I get how the fans feel, I get all of it, but I've been in the business long enough, I know the things that you need to do to be successful, long term and short-term, and we're doing those things. I think that's one of the things that I probably would look back and there are some things short-term that you could say you would do differently, but I don't know if they're the right things to do long term, and that's the struggle in our climate of college football now.
It's the time frame and the time lines are different. Our society as a whole is different, immediate gratification.
Q. Assuming (Away from mic.) Indiana has featured a high profile running back. Do you see comparisons between Tevin Coleman and --
COACH FRANKLIN: No, not at all, different. This back that they're playing with now, the transfer from UAB is a big, physical, grind-you-out, make good plays. He has a sneaky way of making misses and breaking tackles. A lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for how he's playing. He's playing at a really high level. Tevin Coleman, you watch his tape, and every week -- I think I remember talking to you guys about it last year, before we played him he had rushed for ten straight 100-yard games, and each game he had one run of 60 yards or more, so different from that standpoint.
They're having similar production, but two completely different ways of going about it, very similar to what we talked about -- me and Mark were talking about with the quarterback and the quarterback's back-up, with the running back last year and this running back this year, two completely different styles.
Q. Your defense, two weeks ago you won on the fumble recoveries and that preserved the win last week and you got the stop at midfield with a couple minutes to go. How much does your faith in the defense, those guys will come up with big plays, shape a lot of the rest of the things that go on during the game, offensive play calling, being able to be conservative because you know you can get the stops?
COACH FRANKLIN: Very much so. You guys are asking me questions this week that I think are similar to how we have been approaching it, really the last four weeks. Our defense has played at a high level. We feel good about our defensive line and what we are starting to develop in our secondary. Our challenge this year was linebacker but the young linebackers are coming on so, yeah, I think a lot of things that we do and the style that we have played are to, you know, put us in those types of positions, so I don't think there is any doubt about it, and I think if you look over the last two years that's a big factor in a lot of the decisions and the style that we have played.
Q. I know you said that you understand the issues that everyone else sees but at the same time, this Penn State offense is currently ranked 116 in total offense. You mentioned you go to sleep every night feeling good. What is it that you see in this offense that leads you to believe that there's --
COACH FRANKLIN: It's about the program overall and about the long-term development. It's not about statistics, it's about the long-term development, and the work that we are doing every single day with our guys, and our approach, and finding ways to get wins, which is ultimately what it's all about.
Q. You had the back-up defensive line on the field and I know you guys like to rotate, like what you have there, but what went into that -- because they're on for third down before the 56-yard touchdown run. What went into that change real quick --
COACH FRANKLIN: You're talking about last week? Yeah, part of it last week was the style of play. So what I'm saying is we are playing a team that is going to cut you, that is going -- we had some high/lows, and I don't want you to take it the wrong way, I'm not saying that they're coaching to do high/lows, but the style of play and how they're all packed in there, and as much cutting as they do, we wanted to cut our defensive line reps in half, and also our defensive tackles wore knee braces in that game, because we knew that type of play, so to ask guys to play against that type of offense for 65, 70 reps, or if you could get them down to 35 to 40 reps, we just thought that was the best thing to do in that game and we thought that was the best thing to do long term.
So we went into that, just like I told you guys before, we will go through the depth chart and we will say, typically I think what Sean does with, like, A.J., A.J. usually has a 3-to-1 ratio with Parker, and then I think Zettel is, like, 2-for-1. In that game we went into it saying we are going to go as long as we possibly can with a 1-to-1 ratio with those guys, and then as the game goes on, if we have to adjust we will adjust, rather than doing the opposite.
Where a lot of games we will go in and say 2-to-1 or 3-to-1, and as the game goes on, depending on how it plays out, maybe you adjust it and become more balanced in the third and fourth quarter, we wanted to go in with a completely different approach and hopefully have no defensive linemen play more than 35 plays, again, based on the style of offense that we were playing, and trying to reduce the chance of injury in that game.
Q. And you guys had a shot for -- Army had 12 men on the field, and you guys missed it. Can you take me through the process --
COACH FRANKLIN: Say that again.
Q. Army had a 12th man on the field and took them about 6 second to get on and off the field, and it was right before you guys had the first touchdown.
COACH FRANKLIN: Correct.
Q. Is that a communication thing, or do you expect Christian to see that?
COACH FRANKLIN: That Army had 12 guys on the field?
Q. Right. Yeah at the end of the first quarter if you would have snapped the ball, it was third and 4 --
COACH FRANKLIN: Yeah, I think part of it is, is what the play is that's called. If you call a play that's a check-with-me at the line of scrimmage, you can't just get up and snap the ball. So if we have a check-with-me situation and he has to make an alert based on coverage, he can snap the ball. If not, then obviously we want to get the ball snapped as quickly as we can to catch them in that situation.
Q. Talk about taking the shots --
COACH FRANKLIN: When you first said it, I thought you were talking about Army on offense having 12 guys --
Q. Oh, no, no, no.
COACH FRANKLIN: Okay.
Q. (Away from mic.) Talk about how balanced you want to be and -- (Away from mic.)
COACH FRANKLIN: No, we're not, obviously, we're not striking the balance. We need to continue to be more aggressive and pick our spots. The other thing we have to eliminate is I think we had three penalties on Saturday and all three of them were on the offensive line, and now you get in the situation where it's first and 15 or second and 12 or whatever it may be, but we've got to get those things cleaned up, because our margin of error right now is small.
So being able to eliminate those things, put us in some better situations where John feels more aggressive, feels more confident being aggressive, and then there has been times where I say, take a shot here and I need to continue to do that.
Q. You mentioned a little bit earlier about the instant gratification mentality of both society and college football. Does that put pressure on you personal and how do you manage that internally and externally when you're sending a message?
COACH FRANKLIN: To be honest with you, I don't think about it a whole lot until I come in here. To be honest with you. I guess that's what I would go back to saying, that's what me and Josh were just talking about a little bit. Having discussions every single morning at 7 a.m. in our staff meeting and being honest with each other and challenging each other, having conversations that I have throughout the day with staff, having conversations that I have with people that have been around Penn State for a long time, talking to people that have been around college football or football in general for a long time, and that's what I mean to Josh's question is we're doing those things right.
I look at how our guys are killing it in the classroom, I look at how our guys are doing socially, I look at how our players are developing in the program, I look at how we are recruiting. I look at all the things that in my mind if you had a pie and you sliced it up to into all the things that are important to being successful, a lot of them are checked off, a lot of those boxes are checked off. Do we need to get better on offense, yes, there is no doubt about it.
Have we identified what those issues are and things we need to improve on? Yes. Are we working hard on them every single day? Yes. Am I going to come in here and tell you exactly what those things are in my opinion? No! Again, because if someone could explain to me how that helps our program, if someone could explain to me how it helps our program, for me to come in and say this is a problem, this is a problem, and this is a problem, do we have those conversations internally? Yeah.
But coming in here -- I will be honest with you, I had a fan, I had a fan send me a colorful, colorful text -- not text, excuse me, tweet the other day. It went on and on and on and on, and I looked at it and I was going to respond, and I thought don't respond. And four hours later I was scrolling and I looked at it again, and I was about to respond and I said don't respond. And the next morning I saw it again and I said, no, I'm going to respond. I respond and I said tell me how that would help? Because he's basically saying the same thing that you guys asked me. So I said, explain to me that would help. If you can explain to me how that would make the situation we're in and make it better, I'm happy to do it. I get a response, "Coach you're exactly right, I was emotional, I was angry, I let my emotions get the best of me, We are... you have our support, blah, blah, blah.
That's how I look at it. I understand you guys gotta ask the tough questions. I'm asking the same tough questions in our office internally, I'm looking at it as well, but I think there is a time and place for everything, and after the game is not the right time. In this press conference, I don't think, is the right time.
Q. When you look at Indiana and the style of football they play, where they're going to run a lot of plays, a high volume of plays to try to keep you from substituting, et cetera, and you look at your offense with your third down issues, (Away from mic.) Can you elaborate on how important it is for the offense to start returning the favor in order not to wear your defense out?
COACH FRANKLIN: Yep, it goes back to what I said early on, we gotta find ways to get sack and tackles for a loss against this team, because they've done a good job of not having them, it's our strength. It's interesting, it's going to be our strength against their strength.
Those things will have a significant impact on their play count, because if you can get three and outs, that's going to take them from 93 plays or 91 plays a game down. The other thing is turnovers. Pressuring the quarterback and sacks will equate to those opportunities for us as well.
Then obviously our offense protecting the ball. Those things are going to have a dramatic impact in time of possession and play count, there is no doubt about it. But you're right, we spent extra time today, looked at some different things on third down that we can do to help ourselves. A lot of it is being better on first and second down and not having so many third and long situations. It's going to be really important for us. That goes back to eliminating the penalties that we talked about as well. But you're exactly right, what we're trying to do is play really good complementary football, and that's the defense doing the things that they have to do to manage the things they can manage and control the things that they can control, like we just discussed, and the same thing with the offense, and that's where the special teams factor in as well in the field position game.
I think all those things factor in, and walking out into the stadium just a minute ago to do my internal sessions, and there was this orange thing in the sky that that I haven't seen in the sky, I hope that's going to help out as well on Saturday. From what I've seen, the forecast looked pretty good.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
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