What Penn State head coach James Franklin is saying
Franklin spoke at his weekly teleconference of the improvement of defensive end Shaka Toney, and the scholarship awarded to starting linebacker Jan Johnson.
On former Imhotep Charter star Shaka Toney, who tied a program record Saturday with four sacks:
"Shaka has shown us flashes of really good things for a while. He's not the biggest guy so I think sometimes we don't give him enough credit for what he's able to do in the run game. But I think that's the next step, to get more tackles on normal downs, get more tackles for loss on normal downs, get production when it comes to sacks early in the game, and then be able to do it when it matters most, which is what Shaka was able to do at the end of the game in a critical situation."
On why backup quarterback Tommy Stevens is not used as a decoy:
"We really don't do that. If Tommy is in the game, he's part of the read, and the defense will determine whether he gets the ball or not. If Tommy gets the ball thrown to him, it's because the read told us to throw the ball to him. If the ball is not thrown to Tommy, it's not that he's been a decoy, it's that the read told us something else or we read it wrong."
On redshirt junior Jan Johnson, the starting middle linebacker to whom Franklin awarded a scholarship last week:
"It's kind of like you decide to get engaged and you're just looking for the right moment to do it. I've been thinking about doing that with Jan for a while, but what is the right time? I was thinking about doing it in the locker room after the Indiana game. I thought it would be really cool to do that. So I was talking to the team on Thursday and I was just kind of talking about Jan. … As you guys know, I get emotional. I'm just like, 'I don't know why I'm waiting until Saturday. Jan, you're on full scholarship,' and the whole place goes crazy. There's no better time than the moment."
On problems the Penn State defense is having against the rush:
"We knew we had question marks at defensive tackle and … at linebacker. I think we've made some progress there but I think we've also had some injuries that have magnified some of those questions that we've had at those positions. I see elements that are promising that make you feel good. We show flashes of being really good at times. But then I also think there's times where guys try to make plays and get out of their gap, and it costs us. Coming into the season, we knew those were some of our challenges."
On redshirt freshman running back Journey Brown, who had his first carry in a non-mopup situation on Saturday:
"Journey has had two really good weeks of practice. There was a lot of conversation as a coaching staff last week about Journey really starting to do some good things. He's got a lot of gifts, he's got a lot of talents, but I think early in his career he was just thinking a lot. You're starting to see him think less and let those talents come forward. We felt very comfortable putting him in and he did a nice job. So I think his package will continue to grow."