Penn State Nittany Lions Football:James Franklin radio show recap - 3 key takeaways
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Fuel or folly? James Franklin picks plan for dealing with 2020 Indiana game

Penn State head coach James Franklin once again held his weekly radio show Thursday evening as the Nittany Lions continue their preparations to host Indiana Saturday evening at Beaver Stadium for a 'Stripe Out.'

Joining host Steve Jones and a crowd at The Field restaurant in State College, Franklin took questions from fans in the audience as Penn State continues its preparations for the 2-2- Hoosiers as the No. 4-ranked Nittany Lions look to improve to 5-0 on the 2021 season.

Here's a look at three of the key takeaways from Franklin's appearance:

Penn State Nittany Lions football head coach James Franklin
Penn State head coach James Franklin has made a distinct choice on how to deal with last year's Indiana game.

1) Pick your plan

To absolutely no surprise given the nature of the game between these two teams last season, the Nittany Lions falling on a controversial overtime 2-point conversion play, 36-35, Franklin was asked about what lessons could be taught from that experience.

Flatly, the Penn State head coach discussed what has been one of the defining themes of the week for the Nittany Lions as they maintain their collective focus on getting through this year's game with a win rather than attempting to re-live last year's heartbreaker.

"It's truly about beating this year's Indiana. That's all it is," Franklin said. "There's enough things on tape and enough things on film that we have to get corrected and get prepared for.

"We have not spent any time talking about that. I know sometimes people have a choice to make, are they're going to use it as fuel. I don't think we need it. I think we're in a good place, and I want to make sure all our focus and energy is on what we've seen on film this year."

Offering another hearty endorsement of the competitiveness with which the Hoosiers have played his Nittany Lions in the seven times they've met previously, Franklin noted that one of the downfalls of the week of preparation leading into last Saturday's game with Villanova had been rectified in practices this week.

"I feel like we've had a really good week of preparation. Our guys have been phenomenal," Franklin said. "I thought our Wednesday this Wednesday was better than our Wednesday last Wednesday."

2) Benefits, intended and not

Coming out of the 38-17 win against the Wildcats last weekend, Franklin offered two major points of emphasis for the program that came as a result, one being decidedly more positive than the other.

As a result of building a sizable fourth quarter lead that allowed the Nittany Lions to insert their defensive backups, Franklin said that one of the unintended benefits came when those backups performed inadequately against the expectations of the program.

"I thought for three quarters we played really well," Franklin said. "We did massive substitutions, and there's an opportunity for those guys and they want reps and they want opportunities. But there's still a standard and I didn't think we did a good enough job with the standard.

"We doubled our yardage total from a defensive perspective in the fourth quarter with those substitutions. So it's a great opportunity and great experience for those guys to grow and get better, but they have to understand, it's not like we just give reps away. You got to earn it and once you get in there, you got to take advantage of those opportunities. So I thought that was important."

Franklin added that concurrent to that opportunity for Penn State's backups, the game served as an opportunity to get oft-used starters some rest.

"We got to be smart in how we practice. We got to be smart in the games and how we keep guys healthy and fresh and motivated," Franklin said. "So I think those were some positive things came out of it."

3) Hands-off approach

In a lengthy discussion about offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and the decision for the Nittany Lions' new assistant to call the game from the field this season, Franklin noted that he took a hands-off approach.

"I've never kind of put my emphasis on that. It's really what is the offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator most comfortable doing, and what have they done in their history?" Franklin said. "Sometimes there's discussions that are based on your staff, and if you don't have anybody that you feel that is really good in the booth in getting information, then you have to go up there.

"But more times than not, I want my guys to be comfortable and where they're most comfortable calling the game from, and for Mike and Brent, that's on the sideline."

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