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Penn State Coach Tries To Explain One of the Worst 4th Down Calls Ever

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One of the biggest lessons we’re not taught in school but learn the hard way in the real world is that it’s OK to screw up.

But one thing that’s not OK is to screw up and then offer such a dim-bulb explanation of one’s actions to the point where you even manage to screw up at screwing up.

Saturday, in a 27-26 loss to No. 4 Ohio State, Penn State coach James Franklin screwed up at a critical juncture.

Specifically, on 4th-and-5 and with just 1:23 left in the game at the Buckeyes’ 43-yard line, Franklin called about the least likely play to gain five yards that he could have called, an inside run that got stuffed in the backfield. The result was a turnover on downs and the game was essentially over.

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Making matters worse, Franklin called multiple timeouts, had plenty of time to plan the play and read the defense, and yet that’s the strategy he went with.

Twitter was quick to jump down his throat about it.

Franklin, meanwhile, at the post-game press conference, could only point out the obvious.

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“We should’ve called something different there,” he said.

Gee, you don’t say.

Franklin went on to actually defend the call on the grounds that the draw has gone for a big play in the past.

“They changed looks, so we called a timeout and had some discussions. We obviously didn’t make the right call in that situation, and that’s on me, nobody else,” Franklin said. “Obviously, it didn’t work. We have called something similar like that in other situations, and it broke for big plays, but that is on us. That is on me.”

As several analysts pointed out, Penn State looked better-prepared for the actual game and their players had a much higher energy level than Urban Meyer’s bunch from Columbus. But when it came to actual play-calling, Meyer outcoached Franklin completely.

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Franklin also offered up some downright head-scratching comments in the press conference, saying his team was “great” but not “elite” and undermining the confidence of his own team, who he let down when they were a couple of first downs away from a potential upset-sealing field goal.

Franklin vowed to “raise hell” to get his team from great to elite, but what he really needs to raise is his abilities as a coach making in-game adjustments in critical moments.

Penn State played winning football. They should’ve had this one.

But their coach failed them in the most critical of moments, and then rubbed salt in the wound after the game.

That’s not “elite” on any level.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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