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Let’s Discuss The James Franklin Play Call on Fourth Down!

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That’s what we do around here, we talk it out.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The forth ranked Ohio State Buckeyes took on the 9th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. Of course this was going to be a great game, and it was. In great games, no one play decides anything. Sure, it’s easy to blame a missed field goal, but if a run here or block there went a different direction, that field goal would not have been necessary.

This particular game had “one of those plays” where the game was on the line, and a mistake may have been made. Ohio State was up, and Penn State was moving the football. The OSU defense stiffened with nearly no time left, and Penn State was faced with a decision on 4th and 5. James Franklin, after a time out, decided to run a running back on a slow developing play.

It didn’t work.

Was that the right call for all the wrong reasons? Or was it the wrong call for all the right reasons?

We are Big Ten. And now, I accept Penn State as a Big Ten team. And what we do in the Big Ten is struggle more. We face adversity better. 4th and 5, we run it. Mostly we get kicked in the nuts and lose the game. But that is ok, because when our stubborn play call does actually succeed, it means something.

Clearly he made the right call. Sure he will be chastised a bit on the radio shows. If he called some fancy pass play, and the receiver dropped it, or the pass was bad, he would have been vilified even more. Had the receiver made the play, the receiver would have been given credit, along with the QB.

Did Franklin’s play call work? No. Block better, make better reads. He put the ball in his team’s hands, and the outcome did not turn out the way he hoped. However, he had faith in his team, and that is the key to coaching.

I have not been coach Franklin’s biggest fan, but he has been growing on me. Tonight, I believe he made the right call, and that call might play dividends later in the season.