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James Franklin and a Penn State fan had an intense-looking spat over play-calling

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It happened while Franklin left the field after losing to Ohio State.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

After Penn State’s 27-26 loss to Ohio State on Saturday, James Franklin got into what one could call a tense verbal confrontation with a fan. It was over play-calling.

Franklin was walking off the field with a police escort, as coaches do after games. A fan hollered something at him from the stands. Franklin said back, with his arms crossed, “Can you give me a minute?” and kept walking toward him. When he got to the tunnel toward Penn State’s locker room, the head coach pointed aggressively toward the fan a few times and then appeared to be physically held back from moving closer to the stands:

“Fourth-and-five, you should’ve passed it, Coach. That’s a bad call,” the guy said.

“I appreciate your input,” a sardonic-sounding Franklin shot back.

“I love you, but that’s a bad call,” the fan said again. “I love you to death.”

“He’s obviously upset. I don’t blame him,” the fan told the camera operator for that video above after the exchange. That was all there was to it, and Franklin later added this:

These were understandable enough reactions from both men.

  • The fan was right that Franklin should’ve passed on the decisive fourth-and-5 that ended the game. The Nittany Lions didn’t, and their play — though well-intentioned — never had a chance. Franklin’s paid a lot of money to coach the team at the school that guy presumably pays tuition to attend or at least devotes a lot of himself to, and he didn’t tell the coach anything out of line.
  • Franklin’s not unreasonable to get annoyed by some guy loudly telling him something he already knew, moments after the most gutting moment of the season. It never looked like Franklin was close to getting physical with the fan.

So, that’s just a dustup between two people ultimately on the same side. It doesn’t seem like anyone will be significantly worse off for it on Monday.