Dantonio takes offense at shot leveled by Penn State coach
Chicago — If Big Ten media days were lacking in spice on Monday, it didn’t take long on Tuesday for things to heat up with the rest of the conferences coaches taking the podium.
That’s when the idea of negative recruiting accusations from Penn State coach James Franklin were asked, something Franklin alluded to during an interview last month with the Reading (Pennsylvania) Eagle, and in that interview he mentioned Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame.
It was something neither Mark Dantonio nor Urban Meyer took kindly to on Tuesday.
“From my standpoint, I have not said anything negative about Penn State,” Dantonio said. “And hopefully our coaches have not as well. So I was surprised to read that.
“I don’t know what happens out there on the road completely, but it’s not our M-O. That’s not how we do business.”
Meyer was even more forceful in his response.
“Absolutely not,” Meyer said. “And that’s the first time I’ve heard that. I’ll address that with Coach Franklin if that is an issue. That’s a pretty strong allegation that I’ve not heard yet. So that’s not been presented to me until this moment. Absolutely not.
“We’ve got a great deal of respect for every school in our conference. And we don’t worry about that stuff. I’m glad you told me that. If that’s true, I’ll address that.”
Franklin and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh spoke on Monday, but Franklin was contacted by Bruce Feldman of Foxsports.com and said his comments were taken out of context.
“All I said was that every kid that we’re recruiting is also being recruited by Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame, and that they don’t have the same challenges that we have now,” Franklin told Feldman in regards to the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. “Then, in a separate quote, I mentioned that right now we’re (dealing) with negative recruiting. It was two separate quotes, though, over a 35-minute interview.
“I never said that any of those schools are the ones doing the negative recruiting against us. They’re not. There is one other particular school, but I didn’t name who that was.”
In the original interview, Franklin was talking about the difficulty in rebuilding the program in the years following the Sandusky sexual assault scandal. The limits in scholarships, which have been restored, is apparently what Franklin says school are using against Penn State.
Here is part of what he told the Reading Eagle.
“The people we’re competing with (for recruits) — Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame — this is just not something they have to deal with,” Franklin said. “Although we want to move on, those other schools are not letting us move on. I think in so many areas we can be really, really be healthy in 2018. We can be in a really good position to have the type of program everybody wants us to have. The thing that we don’t know is when is everything going to be resolved.”
Franklin was later asked about the challenge of being in the same division with Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State.
“Like most things in life, there are some real positives about it,” he said. “We’re able to tell kids they’re going to compete against the very highest level week in and week out.
“What makes it tricky, they’re not having to deal with some of the things we’re dealing with and working through, which magnifies it. Those programs as well as others know that and use that against us.
“We have that conversation with every single prospect. We don’t usually initiate it, but it’s coming from somewhere.”
Senior tight end Dylan Chmura has ended his playing career because of concussions. He will remain with the program as a student coach.
… Dantonio said he expects all of the incoming freshmen to be eligible for the start of preseason camp.
“I think everybody will be there,” he said.