home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 2, 2017

James Franklin

Saquon Barkley

Malik Golden

Pasadena, California

USC - 52, Penn State - 49

THE MODERATOR: We're going to go ahead and get started. We're joined by head coach James Franklin, Saquon Barkley, and Malik Golden. We're going to ask Coach Franklin to start with an opening comment, and then we'll open up the floor for questions.

JAMES FRANKLIN: First of all, you've got to give USC credit, very good football team, very talented football team. I'm really, really proud of our guys in that locker room. There's obviously a lot of raw emotion right now, there is a lot of hurt going on, and that's natural. But these guys should have their chin held high, their chest out, because what we've been able to accomplish this year from the beginning to the end is really the story. I mean, tonight obviously was a small sample in what may have been the most exciting Rose Bowl game ever. But that really -- that game just tonight really doesn't define us. It's the whole season. It's what these guys did. It's how they persevered. It's how they love one another. It's how they care for one another.

I couldn't be more proud. I know this probably sounds crazy, but I wouldn't be any more proud sitting here tonight with a win. I couldn't be any more proud of our guys.

So there are some statistics that I could go over, but those really don't matter. I want to give USC and Coach Helton credit, because that's a great football team.

I want to thank the Rose Bowl, because the entire experience from top to bottom was first class and awesome. The hotel was unbelievable. The whole experience was great.

A couple things I would say about the game is we turned the ball over too much. You can't turn the ball over against good opponents and have a chance to win. You lose the turnover ratio, you're going to have a hard time being successful. We were really fortunate to be in the lead and in the game the way we were with the amount of turnovers we had. Then the other thing, you've got to give their O-line credit. We have really had a lot of success this year getting pressure to people's quarterbacks and getting sacks. We had a hard time getting to them, and with their skill on the perimeter and with the talent that they have at the quarterback position, that's going to cause you problems and challenges.

We were able to stop their running game. We were able to minimize Adoree' and the return game. But to me, the difference in the game, to me, was the turnovers and their offensive line kind of neutralizing us and allowing their quarterback to be too comfortable in the pocket.

But couldn't be more proud of Saquon and Malik. Not for just tonight, but for what they've done all year long. They're just two of many representatives that I could bring up here that would do an unbelievable job representing Penn State the right way all the time. The thing I'm probably emotional about more than anything is this is the last time that this 2017 football team will be together. These seniors like Malik, you know, it's his last time he'll be in the locker room with those guys, so that's probably the thing -- that's probably the thing that hurts me the most. Because Malik and his other seniors have been through so much in this program, and me specifically, and Penn State, will be indebted to you for a very long time. So, thank you, Malik.

MALIK GOLDEN: Thank you.

Q. For the players, how difficult is it to have gone through the game with those ebbs and flows and emotions and come out of it just that short?
MALIK GOLDEN: Honestly, any loss hurts. We just put so much effort into this season, and it hurts. It was the first time I ever cried after a loss in college. I've definitely got to give Coach Franklin, you know, Sandy Barbour, Saquon, and all the other guys credit for helping revamp this program. We've had some highs and lows, but I'm forever grateful to be a Penn Stater.

SAQUON BARKLEY: Well, like he said, any loss hurts, no matter if it's week one or week 17. The reason why this one hurts to me the most is, like Coach Franklin said, what these seniors have done for this program, and looking up to those guys. And that's a big reason why I even came to this school. Coach Franklin and the seniors did a really good job of keeping this program alive, and I just wanted to send them off -- we, not myself, the team, wanted to send them off on the right note. We fell short of that today. That's why to me this loss hurts so much. Yeah.

Q. James, did you have any hesitation taking a shot there on third down at the end, or did you want to try to win the game on that drive?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, you know, obviously there was discussion on the headset to run the ball and play for overtime. That's not really who we've been all year long. We made a play right before the half that the same discussion was going on that we should have went for it or ran the ball. We made a huge play not in this game, but during the season, right before the half. Obviously, you can't turn the ball over in that situation. I think that's the difference. We've been punting the ball really well, so we felt like with the amount of time left on the clock, let's try to get a first down right here on third down. If we don't, we'll punt the ball. They had no timeouts left, that factored into it. They would have had a long field to go with no timeouts, and we'd been punting the ball well. So that's really what went into that decision.

Q. Curious if you could discuss the first half, falling behind and then the rally?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, we hate first halves. We hate them. We said we were going to use the second-half game plan in the first half. I really didn't feel like it was our normal problem in first halves, we just turned the ball over. We had a whacky situation on the -- they didn't mean to kick it like that. It was a weird squib that got a weird bounce, and that didn't start us out the right way, and then we turned the ball over.

But once again, our guys persevere. We were able to -- getting the three-and-out to start the second half, getting them the punt for the first time in the game was big. We go right down and score, got the momentum back. But, again, they were able to make some plays and swing the momentum back. Basically a home field situation for them. Couple times I think we struggled with the noise on the other end of the field. Our fans came out and supported us, and were great. But we've got to be more efficient and more effective in first halves. The things that I thought were going to be significant in the game, I talked about beforehand, was that we were going to need to win the penalty battle, which I think we had done, I just got the stats a second ago, and we were going to have to close the gap on third down, which I think in the first half we were winning the third down battle. So we did the things that we needed to do to win the game. But the turnovers were the difference.

Q. James, I'm wondering, have you ever been a part of a third quarter like you experienced tonight? And on a different note, the effort you guys got from Chris Godwin tonight, what were your thoughts on that?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Yeah, I didn't realize, I think it looks here like he had -- 22. How many receptions did he have? 22? Something says 22 here, excuse me. He had a huge game, obviously. The catch that he reached back behind him and made an unbelievable catch, the bobble for the touchdown, he's a special player, there is no doubt about it. Just the guy makes plays. Saquon has made big plays all year long, Mike Gesicki has made big plays all year long. Godwin's made plays all year long. So I'm really proud of those guys. But, you know, we didn't do enough. We need to score one more time, we need to get one more stop, and we weren't able to do it. And once again, you've got to give USC credit.

Q. Saquon, that 79-yard touchdown run, what was that moment like for you afterwards when you get to the sideline and kind of realize what you just did?
SAQUON BARKLEY: Well, first of all, the O-line -- well, first of all, Coach Moorhead and the offensive guys made a great call. The O-line blocked it perfectly and got me one-on-one with a guy and I was able to make him miss. I was just satisfied to get in the end zone, because I feel like we started to turn it over early in that game. Coach Franklin told me someone's got to come up and make a play, and I kind of took that personally. Kind of from then on, Godwin, and Trace, and we got it going in the third quarter. I think we scored like 20 points in the third quarter. Obviously, any chance to get to score a touchdown, especially in the Rose Bowl, it's special to you. But, yeah, that's really it.

Q. James and Saquon, you guys are coming back next year, obviously, this season was so much about getting Penn State back. I know, James, you'll say you have a lot more left to do. So what do you have to do? How do you stay back and build off of this season going forward?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Well, I think it's like it always is. It's continue developing the guys that we have in the program in every aspect of their life -- academically, athletically, socially, spiritually, the whole deal. It's continue to recruit well. It's keeping our staff intact for as long as we possibly can. We have a lot of work to do, guys.

We won the Big Ten Championship this year. That's the first time that's happened in I think over 20 years. We've got a lot of work to do. There are programs that have been playing like this at this level for a number of years, and we've got a lot of work to do to catch up. It's going to be a long, steady, difficult climb. As difficult as this year was to have, we're going to have to fight even more to be able to sustain it. And there's a lot of things that are going to go into that.

But with the young men that we've got in this locker room and the staff that I've been fortunate enough to surround myself with, the support that we've gotten from President Barron and Sandy Barbour, our athletic director, if we just realize we've got a great opportunity right now and capitalize on it, keep working, you know, I think we can continue to build this thing and continue to do special things.

SAQUON BARKLEY: Like Coach said, everything he said was correct.

JAMES FRANKLIN: Thank you, Saquon.

SAQUON BARKLEY: I do think that we can learn from the seniors. The seniors have done a tremendous job for us leading the way, paving the way for us. Obviously, this loss sucks, but use it as motivation in the off-season. We were so close to being Rose Bowl champs and we still have so much work to do, and we're still a young team with a lot of guys coming back, so use that as motivation and try to be the best team we can be next year.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about what a roller coaster Trace had in this game, but he came out and struggled a little bit and then he got it together and just played great for a while, then he throws the pick at the end of the game? Just what did all that look like from your point of view?
JAMES FRANKLIN: Well, he's pretty much, these guys will tell you, he's steady-Eddy. He never gets too high, he never gets low, controls his emotions. Always has tremendous belief in himself. But we did not start the game the way we would have liked to, there is no doubt about that. But Coach Moorhead and myself, and really the rest of the team, has tremendous belief and faith in him, and we know he's going to battle and make plays for us.

I'm proud of him. I couldn't be more proud of him. It's amazing, went in the locker room and coaches are coming up to me and saying sorry. I'm like, sorry? For what? What are you sorry for? I mean, shoot, we're all in this together. The coaches, the players, no one person's role is more significant than the other's. That was a team loss today. We've had some special team wins all season long.

The thing I would like to mention before I get out of here is I thank the Rose Bowl. But I also want to thank our team because the feedback I got all week long from the bus drivers to the people serving us food, to the people in the hotel, to the people at Disney, is that our guys represented themselves unbelievably well all week long and showed true appreciation for being here. And that's really what it's about. I know everybody focuses on wins and losses, but this isn't the NFL. There is a greater purpose for this. Wins and losses are a big part of that, but the greater purpose is to make sure these men leave here educated men and prepared for life, and I know that guy over there, Malik, is going to go on and do wonderful things. Whether it's the NFL or whether it's a CEO or whatever it is, I'm really nice to Malik, because I'm probably going to end up working for him one day. Those are the type of guys that we produce, and he'll be ready when the time comes as well.

That's what college athletics is about. It's about preparing young people, allowing them to be in situations to overcome adversity, and preparing them to go on and be successful in life. And that's what we're going to do at Penn State today, and always will.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297