James Franklin discusses his strategy at balancing playing time, redshirts

Penn State coach James Franklin is one of the most well-respected program-building coaches in the game today. Part of being able to do that is knowing how to build and develop your roster. However, in the modern game, how you do that is rapidly changing.

In 2019, the redshirt rule changed in college football. Before then, if you played in a single game, you would lose your redshirt. After that point, players could play in up to four games before burning their redshirt. James Franklin was asked about how this impacts playing time and if there will be fewer younger players in the game moving forward.

“I think that’s a fair point,” James Franklin said. “There’s going to be a strategy to it. There’s going to be some guys that we play early, they show that they’re going to have a significant role for us and we’re going to keep playing them, and then there’s going to be other guys–we talked about a guy this morning that has played because maybe there’s been some bumps and bruises and he’s actually done okay, but we still think the best thing to do is probably to redshirt him if we can.”

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“So, you know, your point is about the four-game rule and trying when we can to be strategic in how we use those games, but sometimes it doesn’t always play out that way. This young man has already played in two games. I would have liked for one of the games to be this week, but because of some injuries we had to play him earlier,” James Franklin explained.

“But that is a conversation. That is a conversation and there is more flexibility now based on the NCAA rule changes that help with that.”

Penn State’s fourth game of the season is Saturday against Central Michigan. For players who have played in every previous game, that means that if they play in this game they have used up all four games that they have towards preserving their redshirt. So, James Franklin will need to decide following the game if those players are going to play again and burn their redshirt or no longer be available for the season. Otherwise, they may not play in this game that they otherwise may have appeared in.

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