Franklin is wary af­ter Sa­ban test

PSU coach wants dis­ci­pline against virus

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - College Football - On the Nit­tany Lions NUBYJAS WILBORN Nubyjas Wilborn@ nwilborn@ post- gazette. com Twit­ter @ Nuby­jasW.

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.

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