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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Watch: James Franklin had major flubs during awkward press conference

James Franklin at a press conference

Penn State is coming off back-to-back losses after being ranked No. 2 in the nation less than two weeks ago, and there have been numerous rumors since then indicating James Franklin could leave the program. It’s fair to wonder if all that talk is taking a toll on the head coach.

Franklin was asked about the rumors linking him to USC and LSU during his Zoom conference call on Tuesday. He insisted his focus is on the Nittany Lions, but it didn’t seem that way. Why? Franklin said multiple times that he is only worried about Penn State’s upcoming game against Illinois.

The problem with that, of course, is that Penn State will face No. 5 Ohio State on Saturday night. Franklin’s team lost to Illinois last weekend in nine overtimes.

You can chalk that up to a mental lapse, but Franklin had others during the same press conference. He also said Penn State will face a big challenge this weekend on the road in “The Big House,” which is the nickname for Michigan’s stadium. Ohio State’s stadium — where Penn State will play Saturday — is nicknamed “The Horseshoe.”

Penn State fans aren’t going to be happy with that. The Nittany Lions had national championship hopes less than two weeks ago, and they now appear to be on the verge of losing their head coach. One major change Franklin made this week could indicate he is preparing to take a job in the SEC. He may insist his focus is solely on Penn State, but you can understand why some people are skeptical.

Photo: Jul 22, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin speaks to the media during Big 10 media days at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

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