Penn State's Franklin deems Barkley bowl questions "inappropriate"


Penn State coach James Franklin said Tuesday that he considered it “inappropriate” to ask Saquon Barkley whether he would play in the bowl game.

Penn State's Saquon Barkley (26) hurdles Akron's Alvin Davis (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. Barkley has answered questions about whether he'll play in Penn State's bowl game or not, angering head coach James Franklin. (AP Photo/Chris Knight)

Following Penn State’s 56-44 win over Nebraska last Saturday, Barkley said that he intends to play in the team’s bowl game. At his weekly press conference, Franklin noted in his opening statement that he did not agree with the question.

“It's really inappropriate, in my opinion, to ask a player whether they plan on playing in a bowl game when we're not even into bowl season yet,” Franklin said. “… I don’t like the question in general. I don’t agree with it.”

The question arose in reference to running backs Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipping their bowl games after the 2016 season. Barkley said he respected their decisions but considers his circumstance different.

Franklin also chose not to discuss Barkley’s pursuit of Penn State’s career-rushing record, saying he would save that for the end of the season. Barkley, who is a finalist for the Maxwell and Doak Walker awards, needs 304 yards to break Evan Royster’s rushing record.

“The tone of how the Saquon conversations have been going for the last couple weeks is not the tone I want with our team right now,” Franklin said, “not the tone I want with Saquon.”

Bowen still suspended: Penn State starting linebacker Manny Bowen will miss his third consecutive game for a violation of team rules.

Franklin said that Bowen is “not available” for Penn State’s regular-season finale Saturday at Maryland. Brandon Smith, who made a team-high 13 tackles against Nebraska, will make his third start.

In addition, Franklin said that receiver/coverage specialist Irv Charles will be a “game-time decision.” Charles did not play last week against Nebraska for undisclosed reasons.

Apke out for first half: Senior safety Troy Apke will miss the first half of the Maryland game after being ejected for targeting against Nebraska. Apke has started every game this season, making 50 tackles and an interception.

“That’s a big one; that hurt me a little bit,” fellow safety Marcus Allen said. “That’s just going to make me go even harder for my boy Trap.”