Big Ten Daily: Penn State Football Coach James Franklin Deflects USC Questions

Penn State coach James Franklin calls USC speculation a distraction, Ohio State coach Ryan Day says defensive changes are coming and Purdue running back Zander Horvath will miss four to eight weeks due to an injury. Here's the latest from around the Big Ten.
Publish date:

When the USC football program made the decision to fire coach Clay Helton, rumors began to surface regarding candidates to fill his spot. Among them, Penn State coach James Franklin is being named.

Franklin was questioned about the speculation of him leading the Trojans, but he said he will discuss the rumors with the team's leadership council. He went on to add that he "can't stand any form of distraction."

No. 10 Penn State is 2-0 to start the 2021 college football season, and the team will host No. 22 Auburn this upcoming Saturday.

"I’ll discuss this today with the leadership council so we can make sure that all of our energy is on our preparation for Auburn and that’s how we’ll handle it," Franklin said.

Franklin was one of six candidates for the USC job mentioned by The Athletic senior writer Bruce Feldman. The others included Oregon's Mario Cristobal, Cincinnati's Luke Fickell, Iowa State's Matt Campbell, BYU's Kalani Sitake and Clemson's offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.

Ryan Day Says Changes are Coming in Ohio State's Defense

The Ohio State Buckeyes were one of the highest rated teams in all of college football heading into the 2021 season. But now, they sit at 1-1 after a 35-28 loss to Oregon at home Saturday.

In Week 1, Ohio State escaped Minneapolis with a 45-31 against Minnesota. For the Buckeyes to get back to dominant form, their defense must get better, and coach Ryan Day addressed the concerns this week.

"Yeah I'm not happy about that at all," Day told reporters Tuesday. "That's part of the deal — for me to do what I need to do on offense, I need the defense really on point, the special teams on point, I need Mark Pantoni to do a great job in recruiting, Mick Marotti to handle strength and conditioning, and the minute that I get taken away for those type of things, then it affects everything else that's going on on offense. So yeah, to be honest with you, I'm disappointed."

As of now, the program has not made any changes to the coaching staff, and Day assured that Kerry Coombs is still acting as the defensive coordinator. But there will be changes on the horizon.

Day indicated that there will be structural changes to the team's defense, but failed to specify what that statement entailed.

"We are going to make some adjustments, some changes," Day said. "We have to. But I'd rather not get into all that right now ... you want to act, not over react. You have to make sure you do things the right way and you allow people to do their job, but when it gets to a certain point, you have to get things fixed - and that's what we're going to do."

Purdue Starting RB Zander Horvath out 4-8 Weeks due to Injury

Purdue starting running back Zander Horvath will miss between four and eight weeks after suffering a broken fibula. Coach Jeff Brohm said Horvath is scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday, leaving junior King Doerue and redshirt freshman Dylan Downing to fill the starting role in the backfield.

Horvath, a redshirt senior, carried the ball 23 times for 89 yards and a touchdown in two games this season.

"Well, it's next man up for us at the running back position," Brohm said. "King has played a lot of football for us, been a little injured here and there, but we want him to go out there and play his brand of football. Dylan Downing has come in and proven that he'll run the ball hard, and he understands what we're doing. He's a tremendous worker and gives us everything he has.

"Yes, we're going to have to have other options at running back, so whether it's a couple receivers, another young running back, there needs to be more than two. So we'll have those options up and ready. Right now, King and Dylan will be the top two."