Different Coach, Same Expectation

We all have dreams and Bill O’Brien’s dream was to coach in the National Football League and when the opportunity arose, he took the job.

2013 was winding down, and the ball was ready to drop in New York. Meanwhile reports of Bill O’Brien of taking Houston Texans head coaching job was were being confirmed and it seemed like it was the end of Penn State football, again. Not quite.

It was time to move on for Penn State and begin a new era. The FRANKLIN ERA!

A search party, like two years for O’Brien, was put together. Many Penn State fans were calling for the former PSU Tight End and current Miami Hurricanes football coach Al Golden. Former and current players were screaming for Interim Head Coach and former Defensive Line Coach, Larry Johnson. Johnson was the only coach remaining from the Paterno Era and was the only coach with the longest tenure, 19 years on PSU staff.

After about a week and half since the departure of Bill O’Brien, a new coach was named. Not Golden, not Johnson but Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.

Franklin was the Head Coach of the Commodores from 2011 until January 11, 2014 when hired as Penn State’s eighteenth Head football coach. He had a 24-15 record at Vandy in the toughest conference in all of college football. His team appeared in three bowl games, only three times before that since ‘56.

He grew up near Philadelphia and his Dad lived in Pittsburgh. He says, Penn State is his “Dream job” and it’s “good to be back home”. So unless Coach Franklin doesn’t win, how it always has been, Franklin (41 years old) looks to be Nittany Lion for a long time, no question about it.

He is also known for his passion and fiery attitude, so In his his opening press conference, Franklin says he plans to “dominate” the state of Pennsylvania in recruiting. Franklin was off to a good start bringing three important Vandy recruits to Penn State with him.

He has also “flipped” a few commits who verbally committed to other schools, like Koa Farmer. Farmer is from California (state), the first Penn State commit from Cali since 2004, nearly 10 years. Farmer verbally committed to Cal back in 2012 until he recently flipped. He is a four-star athlete and is expected to play safety for the Lions. Farmer is just one player who Franklin has flipped since taking over. Close to eight others have flipped since he had been hired less than a month ago, along with recruiting upwards five to ten incoming 2014 freshman also.

So far a very impressive start his recruiting, and it’s been less than a month since the hire. It’s hard to believe, with the athletes (including the 2014 recruiting class) Franklin is bringing into Beaver Stadium, that he won’t be successful. So far, so good and only time will tell but Franklin may be the next great coach for Penn State.