After ugly loss to Temple, Penn State does some digging
Coach James Franklin said Tuesday he'll make some changes on the offensive line, following the 10 sacks taken by quarterback Christian Hackenberg and a net rushing total of 77 yards. Starting middle linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, must be replaced. Frustrated fans and former players could use some placation.
First, the Nittany Lions needed to move on from the decisive 27-10 defeat that was Penn State's first by Temple since 1941, so the players rid themselves of the evidence.
''We actually buried the tape. With a shovel. On the practice field, right where we walk out,'' strong safety Jordan Lucas told reporters.
The symbolic dig took place Sunday.
''I think that's something that we needed to do to keep moving forward and kind of give us that positive energy back,'' Lucas said.
After a promising 7-6 finish in his first year on the job served as a clear step forward from the scandal-stung environment he entered, Franklin has quickly found out about the scrutiny and pressure that comes with coaching at such a prominent program. The grumbling around Pennsylvania Saturday grew loud.
''I get it. I get it. But I'd ask for everybody to take a deep breath, have some patience and stay positive,'' Franklin said on the Big Ten coaches conference call. ''And good things are coming.''
Other notes from around the conference:
Corey Clement's debut as the featured running back for Wisconsin was waylaid by a sore groin that limited him to eight carries and a not-Badgers-like 16 yards in the 35-17 loss to Alabama. Coach Paul Chryst said he'd wait and see how the week goes before deciding whether to rest Clement against Miami of Ohio.
''There's always that balance if a guy can play, who are you as a coach to prevent them from playing? And yet certainly there are some injuries that if you can benefit from rest, if it'll help them heal, if they're not healthy enough to go, then you certainly don't play them,'' Chryst said.
Riley said Armstrong was ''doing much better'' Tuesday and expected to practice.
Northwestern's win over Stanford, ranked 21st in the preseason Associated Press poll, was the highlight of opening weekend for the Big Ten. On a steamy day in suburban Chicago, coach Pat Fitzgerald coached the game in shorts, with approval from the school administration and program sponsor Under Armour. The idea was hatched by long-time equipment manager Curtis Shaner.
''Not trying to make any statements. Not trying to do anything, other than just beat the heat,'' Fitzgerald said.
Illinois had to wait until the next day to beat Kent State 52-3 after three hours of lightning Friday night postponed the game. Until the postponement was announced, some players rode an exercise bike or stretched out to stay loose. Others watched TV, until the cable went out.
''Of course everybody had to eat, because your pregame meal was four hours ago, but then it became six hours,'' said interim coach Bill Cubit, adding: ''I'm kind of a nervous guy, making sure everything's OK, but it worked out pretty well.''
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood's seat is the hottest in the conference, with an ongoing academic investigation and the recent arrest and suspension of five players. Flood said Tuesday he didn't feel any lingering uncertainty about his status.
''I've gotten a tremendous amount of support from former players, high school coaches, colleagues, people I've known here at the university for 10 years,'' said Flood, whose team beat FCS foe Norfolk State 63-13 Saturday.