At yesterday's presser, James Franklin was asked if he believes in trap games, and his answer provided some interesting perspective, and also prompted him to open up about a pivot in his social media messaging.
With defending MAC champs Ball State coming to Happy Valley this weekend, and a big game next weekend with Auburn visiting, it was a timely question.
"I do believe in trap games if you are sending mixed messages and if you are inconsistent in your approach. It's subtle things. It can be little, subtle things that you say in a press conference that your fans and players pick up on, or your staff picks up on."
"It's subtle things about your demeanor and your approach out at practice, whether it is a conference game or an out-of-conference game. It is subtle things that people pick up on. I try to make sure that we don't do that and that message is consistent, so that whether they're down getting gear in our equipment people, or whatever it is, there are no cracks in it. There has to be consistency. Same thing goes for the training room and with our coaches and the rest of the staff."
So how does that go hand-in-hand with his new social media approach?
For a while now, Franklin has been sending out a tweet simply naming the team they're playing that week as many times as Twitter's character limit will allow.
Fans and local media came to expect it each week, while opponents would somehow find a way to use the insanely simple tweet as bulletin board material.
Some may have noticed that Franklin's social media strategy has changed recently, as he opted to tweet "1-0" a bunch of times within a tweet before their game against Wisconsin.
Contrary to what some Wisconsin fans may think, Franklin wasn't saying they're about to go 1-0 heading into that game, but rather that their focus as a team needed to be on doing the things necessary to go 1-0 that week.
As Franklin shared in his presser yesterday, the message hasn't really changed, but they way he has decided to communicate it has.
"Really, the message hasn't changed. In the past, I would say 'Wisconsin' 75 times and then 'Ball State' 75 times, because the message was that our entire focus needs to be on this game, this opponent and being 1-0."
"The problem is, our Penn State fans understand that, the media understand that, but the opponent that we’re playing, that maybe follows me for the week, doesn’t. So they think it’s a slight or they think it’s a shot or them...and I never mean to seem disrespectful to an opponent ever. It’s more just about, I don’t want other people misinterpreting what we’re talking about."
Ever-conscious of his messaging and how it affects his team and others, Franklin decided it was important enough to find a new way to communicate the same message.
"I’m just trying to find ways to be as concise and as clear with our message, most importantly for our players, our program and our fans. But also, to try to eliminate some of the billboard board material, or what other people may misinterpret, but the reality is, if you want to find a reason to be angry or to be mad, people are going to find it no matter what you do or say."
See his comments in the presser below.