“It’s Like You’re Speaking From Mars” – James Franklin Eviscerates Reporter For Moronic Question About Penn State’s Offense

Penn State coach
Penn State Football

If there was a sports-related video more tailor-made for a “try not to cringe” challenge, I’m certain I don’t know what it is.

We’ve got Penn State head coach James Franklin here trying his best to make sense of what some beat reporter said.

The exchange is almost too uncomfortable to transcribe because that’d require listening to the clips over and over again. But since this is my first blog for Whiskey Riff and I want to be a good team player, I will bear the biological consequences of my eardrums shriveling inward at the sound of these here words.

Reporter X: “Is there a balance, though, between, ‘Hey we need you to throw the ball deep no matter what. Just take a shot. Don’t overthink it. Take a shot. Need to see it. We’re gonna call it, and we need you to get some confidence in doing this as opposed to even giving a young quarterback a chance and saying, ‘Hey just check it down, it’s not there.'”

James Franklin: “I don’t really understand what you’re saying ’cause we would never… like my skin is curling when you say just drop back and chuck it deep no matter what. That is like, I don’t even know what you’re saying. It’s like you’re speaking from Mars.”

Reporter X: “Just sent a guy on a post pattern. Take the shot. Throw it —”

James Franklin: “No matter what?”

Reporter X: “Give your receiver a chance to make a play on a ball. Even if he might be covered 30 yards down the field. Maybe you think he’ll be open 45 yards down the field like [Chris] Godwin did, or with Jahan [Dotson] or KJ [Hamler].”

James Franklin: “Like I still don’t…you’re speaking Japanese. We’ve never done that. Just throw the ball up and maybe he’ll be open and maybe he’ll cat– like, my skin is like…you’re making me uncomfortable. I don’t know what you’re talking about. So yeah, we would not do that, we would never do that, we’ve never thought about doing that…”

OK that’s enough. Franklin caps the riveting sequence off with a dissenting refrain of:

“No. No. Strong no. Like, yeah. No.”

As someone who’s had to become an expert or pseudo-expert on basically any and every team/sport under the sun to make a living as a writer, I struggle with this. Beat reporters rock in a lot of ways. They’re the foundation upon which a lot of national/international sports coverage is built upon.

…But I can’t help but be a little envious of them at times. Whichever way they wound up in their premium perch of specializing in one sport and one freaking team matters not to me. Where I have an issue is when they ask such generic, boilerplate questions. Someone has to do that. I get it. But when they’re relentless about doing that, or when they utterly fail such as in this instance? Woof.

It’s analogous to a kicker in football.  When they miss, what does everyone say, “YOU HAVE ONE JOB! AND YOU BLEW IT!” To be a beat reporter and have the unimaginable luxury of focusing on one team, one sport, and coming into a press conference with this? COME ON, man. We gotta do better. James Franklin evidently expected you to do better.

Now here’s the thing, OK? Let’s get a little serious for a few fleeting moments. It can be fun to pile on someone when they do something this stupid. I’m having a ball. I’ve made it through the other side of transcription and almost feel more alive than I ever have.

We can hold that truth, AND…acknowledge that said Penn State beat reporter, Cory Giger, might’ve just had a tough day at the office. Nobody, and I mean nobody, deserves the kind of blowback Giger received from some vitriolic ignoramuses:

“I asked a bad question to James Franklin. No doubt. I own it. Idea was sound, but I worded Q very poorly. I’ve tried to roll w/ the criticism.

But when people message saying I should kill myself or they wish I would actually get murdered… that’s difficult. It’s just football.”

I sincerely appreciate men who aren’t too big for their britches and can take the piss out of themselves. Any of you keyboard warriors out there who come at reporters with this type of energy, do better. Take a walk. Live a real life. This ain’t it. Not cool whatsoever.

If you look closer at Giger’s coverage, you’ll find that, yes, Penn State’s offense is lacking in explosive plays compared to other national championship contenders. The rankings for the Nittany Lions offense that Giger brings up in this piece from the first Twitter X post above are as follows:

– 49th in passing efficiency

– 87th in yards per play (5.1)

– 104th in yards per completion (10.81)

I see where Giger is coming from here. I really do. However, Penn State has played a mostly cupcake schedule, and are allowing an average of six points in first halves. Quite possible that’s led to lots of conservatism in the passing game. The AP No. 6 Nittany Lions have 12 takeaways amid their 5-0 start, too.

Arbitrarily chuck it deep for what? For who? Why? I get the appeal of wanting to stretch the field with 6-foot-5, 243-pound Drew Allar’s bazooka arm, but there’s simply been no need to do it yet. Don’t be shocked, Giger and similar-minded Penn State faithful, if Allar doesn’t receive the launch codes for this Saturday’s matchup against 34-point underdog UMass. Oops, sorry. Took a wild guess at the spread. It’s actually 41.5 points. LOL.

Between getting Allar comfortable in his first full season as a starter and the potential desire not to open up the playbook against the ITT Techs of the NCAA football world, I think we’ll find out a lot more when Franklin, Allar and Co. travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State in roughly nine days’ time.

Until then, let’s cool the jets on criticizing Penn State for their lack of an explosive passing attack. And yes, feel free to put Cory Giger on blast — but like, within reason, OK? Sheesh. I’m confident he will redeem himself.

A self-deprecating, humble man like that who’s actually a pretty damn good writer in his own right has a better chance than most.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock