James Franklin on Ohio State: “Probably the Most Talented Roster We've Watched on Tape ... Maybe Since We've Been Here”

By Kevin Harrish on November 19, 2019 at 4:10 pm
James Franklin

The past two years, Ohio State and Penn State have met as top-10 teams with eyes on the Big Ten title and more.

Saturday's matchup will be no different. The Buckeyes welcome the Nittany Lions in what is essentially a Big Ten Championship play-in game, with the winner also having an inside track towards the College Football Playoff.

Penn State head coach James Franklin is aware of the implications, and he had nothing but praise for Ryan Day, Justin Fields, Chase Young and the rest of this Buckeye team.

Here's what Franklin had to say about Ohio State.

  • On recent games with Ohio State: "If you go back all the way to 2014, they won the national championship, our first year, took them to double overtime if I remember correctly. We've had a lot of competition with these guys. We've played them probably as well as anybody over that period of time. Obviously not good enough. We've got to take the next step."
  • On Ohio State's offense: "They thrive on explosive plays. At the quarterback position, in the passing game, obviously the running back is having a tremendous year, the tight ends as well. But they are explosive, as explosive as any offense in the country."
  • On Chase Young: "Obviously Chase Young is back just in time for good old Penn State. Obviously very impressed with him. Have known Chase, know his uncle, known Chase for a long time. Obviously is as impressive of a player on tape in the country. Before the games he missed, people were talking about him for the Heisman and things like that. He jumps off the tape at you."
  • On Ohio State's talent level: "Obviously a great challenge going on the road in a venue that holds over 100,000. We obviously know home-field advantage that comes from those type of environments. Probably the most talented roster we've watched on tape definitely this year, maybe since we've been here."
  • On recruiting Justin Fields, a one-time Penn State commit: "You come up with your list of things that you're looking for in terms of characteristics, height, weight, speed, intelligence, release, accuracy, touchdown-to-interception ratio, win/loss percentage, all the things we look at when we're evaluating and studying quarterbacks. Watching him in games, watching him in practice, throwing live. He checked a lot of boxes. Based on what I'm seeing on film right now, I think we were right. He's pretty good."
  • On Ohio State moving Chase Young to different positions: "Yeah, obviously Chase is going to make plays. That's going to happen. We need to limit the impact that he has in the game. They're smart because if you leave him at the same position the entire game, it allows you to have a plan and know where he's going to be with a lot more confidence. Where if you move him around, it makes it a little bit more challenging. There's no doubt on every play, we need to know where he's at and account for him. There's no doubt about it. We will definitely do that."
  • On the differences from an Urban Meyer team to Ryan Day's team: "I think the biggest change is probably the personnel change, staff changes that he made when he got the job. They're probably the most different on the defensive side of the ball in terms of scheme. Besides that, I think special teams are very similar. The offense is obviously the same because he was running it the last couple years. The defense is different. ... You see his fingerprints on the program, there's no doubt about it. But the biggest change I'd say is on the defensive side of the ball."

Ohio State's top-10 matchup with Penn State will kick off Saturday at noon on Fox.

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