Penn State is James Franklin's second stop as a head coach, after originally getting his start at Vanderbilt from 2011-13 (where he put together a few 9-win seasons), he's quickly built Penn State into an annual Big Ten contender again.
Asked yesterday after practice about what about the "strategic keys" it takes to compete and win in the Big Ten, and if it includes focuses like personnel and match ups, Franklin shared some rather interesting thoughts.
"There are a lot of college football programs out there that are going to beat themselves. I thinkthat is the first thing that you have to do as a program is to teach your program what those things are, and how to avoid them," Franklin explains at about the 4:26 mark.
I think I speak for most coaches when I saw that I'd love to know what the Penn State program defines those things as.
From there, Franklin went on to explain what he thinks further separates teams in the Big Ten.
"After that, it comes down to the programs that are left, and how fundamentally sound they are. Is there a strategic advantage from a scheme standpoint? Yes. Some weeks is that magnified compared to others where you're just a better physical match up for a certain opponent - or whether your scheme is a problem for that opponent? A lot of it is based off what offense and defense they run and what they see in practice every single day. "
Then, obviously, talent. There is a talent gap with some programs. That factors into it as well. It's kind of a combination of all of those things every single week, but as we know, we also see a whole lot of other things. You see talented teams that don't play up to the level that they should. You see talented teams that are inconsistent, and that's where you hope your process helps with that. It's kind of all of that. You're taking all of that, taking all of these different pieces and trying to come up with a formula that is best for your program week in and week out."
Franklin goes on to explain finding that formula is what Iowa, their opponent this weekend, has done an exceptional job of over the past two decades under Kirk Ferentz.