Franklin sets record with opponent mentions
About the Hoosiers: Coming off back-to-back wins over Maryland (42-36) and at Rutgers (33-27), neither of which were impressive. … Had lost three in a row before two recent wins, with losses to Ohio State, Nebraska and Northwestern. … Need one more win to become bowl eligible for second straight year, a rarity for the program. … QB Richard Lagow 15 TDs but 13 INTs, so he’s prone to making mistakes. … RB Devine Redding having strong season with 793 yards rushing and 4.7 average.
Franklin sets record straight: There’s been a running gag the past couple of weeks with Franklin saying nothing but the name of the upcoming opponent a bunch of times when asked about outside expectations. Tuesday, he extended the record to 15 in a row, rattling off, “Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, and so on.” The answer came to a question about him having personal satisfaction meeting the high expectations of the fan base with a five-game winning streak, and Franklin wanted no part of it. “I don’t spend time thinking about those things,” he said. “I don’t spend time talking to the team about those things. That’s the nature of this business. That’s the nature of this profession. That’s the nature of this game.”
Hoosier challenge: Franklin called Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, “One of the best offensive minds in college football, has been since he was at Oklahoma.” He mentioned how the Hoosiers always rank very high statistically, especially in passing offense. “That will be a challenge, there’s no doubt about it,” Franklin said.
Going deep: Like Penn State, the Hoosiers like to throw the ball deep. “I just walked out of the defensive meeting room before coming here,” Franklin said, “and that was a discussion we were having was how many shots did they take down the field. … That’s a big focus for us is to eliminate the chunk plays.”
Getting defensive at Indiana: While not spectacular by any means, the Hoosiers have been better defensively this season. But they’ve also had a tough time the past two weeks, allowing 36 points to Maryland and 27 to a bad Rutgers offense. “Tom Allen, their defensive coordinator, has really changed their program. That was a big hire,” Franklin said. “I know Kevin has been talking about that all off-season, getting him to come to Indiana has made a big difference for them and they are playing really well on defense now.”
More work for Stevens: Backup QB Tommy Stevens looked good running the ball in the fourth quarter against Iowa, gaining 70 yards and scoring on a 13-yard run. Franklin was asked if there are any plans to use him more to take advantage of his running skills. The coach said he wouldn’t discuss that sort of thing because it might give away strategy, but he did praise Stevens. “I’ve been telling you guys for awhile how excited we are about Tommy and his future and how he’s approached things,” Franklin said. “He’s grown a lot from the skinny kid that showed up here as a mid-semester grad, tall and lanky with a big ol’ smile on his face. He was about 185 pounds at the time and now he’s 220, knocking on 225.” Stevens is an Indianapolis native and plans to have about 120 family members and friends on hand for the game. He had 70 for the trip to Purdue.
Giving away secrets: Stevens scored on a jet sweep against Iowa, and the Lions had run that play in practice last week during a time when the media was on hand. One media outlet had videotaped the play and posted it online, which didn’t sit well with Franklin. “I had kind of a panic attack,” Franklin said when he found out about it. “Someone had videotaped that exact play and had posted it online, and then somebody had written a blog about it,” the coach said. “So as you could imagine, that’s something that we were really excited about, that that was out.”
— Compiled by Cory Giger