James Franklin caused quite a stir at Big Ten Media Days when he insinuated that certain schools – such as Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State – have used negative recruiting tactics against Penn State stemming from the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.
That’s quite a claim.
Franklin, however, didn’t think his words would catch like wild fire, nor is he exactly certain why they did.
“It’s funny because that was a story that was done months before and really got no traction,” the Penn State head football coach said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It’s one of those things that I think can be interpreted multiple ways. I never specifically called out schools. Everybody deals with negative recruiting. I made one comment in the beginning of an interview and made another comment at the end of the interview, (and) the two points were tied together. That article had come out months before and it never really went anywhere because people interpreted it one way, and we got into the Big Ten Media Days and it was spun in a different direction. So I never specifically called out any schools. I wouldn’t do that. Everybody deals with a level of negative recruiting. That’s part of the business.”
Franklin said questions about Sandusky still come up, even in recruits’ living rooms.
“I think it’s still going to take some time. We still answer questions. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Franklin said. “But yeah, we’re ready to move forward. We’re focused on the future, not the past, and controlling the things that we can control – and that’s really not one of them.”
After going 7-6 in each of his first two seasons, Franklin has 85 scholarship players for the first time in his Penn State tenure. As a result, many feel that the Nittany Lions, who are 29-21 over the last four years, are out of excuses and must achieve big things in 2016.
Franklin, however, isn’t going to allow outside expectations to affect his program.
“I think in general that’s college football,” Franklin said of the no-excuses, win-now culture. “We do not feel that whatsoever. We don’t focus on those things whatsoever. When I took the job, everybody realized the first two years – being at 65 scholarships and 75 scholarships – (would be a challenge). This is our first year back to a level playing field with everybody else in the country. So all those things were discussed three years ago when I took the job. So no, that’s college football. There’s high expectations at Penn State. We embrace it. But no, not whatsoever.”