Franklin is wary after Saban test
PSU coach wants discipline against virus
News from Tuscaloosa, Ala., offered another reminder for vigilance and cleanliness for Penn State football coach James Franklin. Shortly before Franklin met with reporters Wednesday after practice, reports started to surface about Alabama football coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne testing positive for COVID- 19.
For now ( imagine having a penny for every time you’ve heard that phrase in 2020), the second- ranked Crimson Tide still are scheduled to play host Saturday to No. 3 Georgia. If the game happens, Alabama might have to play without their legendary coach on the sideline. Franklin used the moment to reinforce the points further as his team works to remain free of the coronavirus.
“We knew that there were going to be definite challenges as soon we decided to play college football,” Franklin told reporters Wednesday. “I reminded the guys yet again that if we get through this, it’ll be because we were disciplined. Everyone needs to focus on wearing masks and hand washing. We can’t slack up, because the virus isn’t budging.”
A few hours before Franklin spoke to reporters, there was proof that the Nittany Lions are having success following protocols. The athletic department reported three positive COVID- 19 test results from athletes from a period of October 3- 9. Five tests are pending. The school tested 1,302 students.
Penn State also reported three positive tests last week. The numbers portend that the team will be ready for its game next Saturday against Indiana.
Franklin respects the protocols while feeling the reality of missing the familial connections that come from building his program in a typical year. He loves to bring the freshmen to his house for dinner. His wife and daughters would be there while
the coach and players make memories.
“The new staff and the new players are having a very different Penn State experience than normal,” Franklin said. “You know [ defensive line coach] John Scott, I haven’t even met his wife face- to- face.
“His son plays ball at State College High and he can’t come to practice. We’ve got a pretty good way of going about our business around here and including our families as much as possible.”
Franklin’s youngest daughter, Addison, has a higher risk for COVID- 19. She has been diagnosed with sickle cell disease. The family determined it best to quarantine in the South while Franklin works at Penn State. It’s the right thing to do, but it isn’t easy.
‘ We’ve been talking about that as a staff a lot,“Franklin said. ” You know we’ve had some issues. It’s been hard on our wives, it’s been hard on the kids. There have been more things that we’ve had to work through. There’s a direct correlation to COVID and how we’re living right now.”
Football in 2020 is an experiment. Winning won’t only be about the scores on the field. It will be about everyone coming out of the season healthy.