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Penn State's still confident, Jason Cabinda says

The linebacker was upbeat about a players-only meeting following the loss to Ohio State.

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett  is sacked by  Jason Cabinda and Manny Bowen of Penn State.
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett is sacked by Jason Cabinda and Manny Bowen of Penn State.Read moreJay LaPrete / AP

After Penn State's first loss of the season, a text exchange between the team's leaders led to a players-only meeting Sunday.

While coach James Franklin sometimes calls those meetings, this time it was in the hands of Jason Cabinda, Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley.

"We just felt like there were some things we had to get off our chest," Cabinda said Tuesday in a news conference. "Making sure the mentality of the team was the same, that we were still taking the same approach, knowing there's a ton of football left and a lot still left to be accomplished. We kind of just reiterated those things, really."

The middle linebacker didn't go into specifics about the meeting but said he made sure any player who had doubts after the 39-38 loss to Ohio State was on the same page as the rest of the team.

Although Cabinda didn't expect his teammates to have a "head-down mentality" Sunday, he was pleased to know the loss didn't affect the team's confidence. He said it's more disappointing to know the Nittany Lions (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) failed to  play their best football in the one-point loss.

"I think the best thing about this team is we're very aware of what we're capable of," Cabinda said. "We're very aware of our potential and how good we can be. I think that's the reason we're not really losing any confidence."

Although Franklin wasn't involved in the meeting, which he said was short, he received feedback afterward. What he heard was positive, and the fourth-year head coach admitted the leadership on the team starts with himself.

"I think we as the coaching staff set the tone for everything," Franklin said. "Coaches weren't defensive. Players weren't defensive. We were able to make corrections. We were able to learn from it, grow. We have a resilient group of guys with tremendous character and heart and belief in themselves and belief in what we're doing."

And Cabinda is passing along that confidence to the team before its matchup against Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., this weekend.

"We're very, very aware of just how dangerous and how good of a team that we are," Cabinda said. "In terms of confidence, I don't think anything has really changed after that loss."