Franklin’s focus back in the USA

UNIVERSITY?PARK – Working his way through Europe with international play, or possibly a trip to Nigeria to visit his wife’s family are all on Penn State coach James Franklin’s mind. Or maybe not.

After months of hype, Penn State has finally moved past the Croke Park Classic and is ready to focus on matters here in the United States.

Though the overall consensus of the team and coaching staff seems to be a positive one in regards to the opener in Dublin, Ireland, Franklin said he is not searching to play abroad again anytime soon.

“It’s nice to get back to something you’re familiar with,” senior linebacker Mike Hull said of being home.

It wasn’t long after Sam Ficken’s game-winning field goal in the Nittany Lions’ 26-24 win over UCF when the team packed up and headed for home on Saturday. The team went directly to the airport from the stadium and arrived back home around 2:30 a.m.

The players were given the chance to sleep in and readjust a bit on Sunday before getting back to work. Despite starting its day early in the morning, the coaching staff didn’t require the team to come in until later in the evening on Sunday.

“We were able to come home, rest our heads and put our feet up for a little while,” junior cornerback Jordan Lucas said. “But the hardest part was waking up in the morning at 7 a.m. My body thought it was still in Ireland. No matter what time I went to bed, I would still wake up really early.”

Unlike in the past when Penn State would typically have Sundays off after playing on Saturdays, Franklin has made Sundays a practice day and Monday the off-day for his team this season. With Monday’s Labor Day holiday the players got a break from not only practice, but also classes.

However, Franklin doesn’t quite recall ever having the day off in his football career.

“Myself and my staff, we’ve never had one of those,” Franklin said about. “We labor on Labor Day.”

With words such as “jetlag” or “tired” seen as taboo in Franklin’s vocabulary, the first-year coach said he wouldn’t allow himself to think about such naughty words, which helped his adjustment from the five-hour time difference from Dublin.

Now that the game the team had been counting down toward for months is finally finished, there are another 11 games for Penn State to focus on with this weekend’s home opener against Akron at the forefront of the agenda.

The team does not want the excitement from the season’s opener to act as a hangover going into this weekend’s game against the Zips.

“We’re on to the next one. We got back Sunday. We went through some film, practiced a little bit. We’re ready. We’re starting to work on Akron and that’s all we’re focused on.”