By: Thomas Frank Carr
God Bless him, James Franklin does try.
After an off-season that saw him block several reporters after they questioned an-ill advised promotional poster for the team, Franklin tried to make a joke of it on Tuesday when asked about how he deals with the Pitt rivalry on Twitter,
“I get a bunch of comments from their fans, which has been great. I learned something really powerful this off-season, muting. We’ve had some blocking conversations, right, as a group. I’ve learned there is this other thing called “mute” which does the same exact thing but you don’t know I’ve done it, which is better, which is even better!”
It’s a tough room James…
If you were to describe Franklin this week, it would be as that, a human mute button.
This game is 16 years in the making and older die-hard fans of either team, have been begging for this game. Franklin however, did his best to be respectful to the history of the series, but remain distant from it personally,
“I think obviously being in the same state and the past history of the game is really going to put a major emphasis on it. To me, a rivalry, there is no doubt it’s there from a historical perspective, but once again, to me, a rivalry isn’t something that you have to have a discussion about. But I think everybody understands the significance of it.”
That’s some red-hot bulletin board material right there.
That is Franklin’s plan however; he doesn’t plan on giving Pitt, the media, or fans anything they can use against him in the days preceding this game.
To further bury the topic, he points out that his players have no connection or recollection of it like some fans might,
“You also have to remember that our players were either two, three or four years old the last time this game was played. So I think for fans and alumni, I get it. But as for our players, they don’t remember this game. They don’t remember this game being played.”
It’s clear that Franklin sincerely wants nothing to do with renewing anything with words before the game is played. He’s not going to send any more veiled shots at Pitt or Pitt Coach Patt Narduzzi this week.
That doesn’t mean he’s not going to explain the importance of the game to his team. Offensive lineman Ryan Bates told reporters on Wednesday that Franklin will have former players address the team the night before in the hotel about the meaning of the Penn State vs Pitt rivalry.
So, sorry if you were hoping for some bulletin board material from the head coach of Penn State this week, it’s not coming. The sense is that Franklin wants his team to do the talking on the field.