The Franklin Era Begins - The Perfect Leader For PSU
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The Franklin Era Begins - The Perfect Leader For PSU

The Franklin Era Begins - The Perfect Leader For PSU

This past Christmas break might have been relaxing for most of us, but back in State College, chaos prevailed over New Year’s and the following week. Bill O’Brien, our coach who went down in Penn State football history for taking us out of the darkest time in our school’s program, announced that he accepted an offer to be head coach in the National Football League for the Houston Texans. No one knew what was going to happen with our program. Feelings among the Penn State family were mixed, and while some praised O’Brien for his outstanding work under the sanctions as head coach as well as representative of Penn State, others were highly disappointed that O’Brien broke his contract early, left the players he had developed, and set sail on a talented 2014 recruiting class.

Although most people agree that O’Brien could have left in a more traditional fashion, addressing his players and the community before departing, it is hard to neglect the fact that O’Brien’s dream was to coach in the NFL, and he was presented with a great opportunity to coach at the highest level. Many didn’t agree, many were angry, many were happy with what he did for our program, but were upset he left early and many were startled by such a quick withdrawal. However, one thing remained clear to everyone: we needed a new coach, and a coach who was just as good, if not better than O’Brien, to pull our program forward with incredible players like Hackenberg and Breneman at the helm.

When Athletic Director, Dave Joyner, announced that the search was to begin immediately and would be over in a matter of days, speculation on new potential coaches took the media by storm. Numerous outlets questioned the Board of Trustee’s decision to make a hasty hire. Just a few days after the search was underway, the media made it clear that there were only a couple of coaches that Penn Sate was targeting – Miami’s Al Golden, former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, interim Penn State coach Larry Johnson, and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin. The latter would soon become the frontrunner for the head coaching position.

Just as O’Brien was the perfect man to come to Penn State in the aftermath of the scandal, James Franklin is the perfect man to take over control after BOB’s departure. James Franklin is a perfect fit for Penn State and a perfect coach with the correct set of morals and integrity that is needed to head such an unrivaled football tradition such as ours.

The guy turned Vanderbilt, the long-time bottom feeder of the SEC (also known as the hardest conference in college football) into a winning team. Picking up usual 2-10 seasons from previous coach Robbie Caldwell, Franklin turned the program around, leading 6-7, 9-4 and 9-4 seasons respectively, appearing in postseason bowl games each time. Vanderbilt – a school respected for academics, but never recognized as a good football school – was turned around by Franklin’s great coaching and extensive recruiting skills. He brought in three and four star recruits to a school that never attracted big prospects before his tenure. He finished his career at Vanderbilt with a stunning 24-14 record.

Franklin is young, motivated and very talented. He is the perfect fit for Penn State’s needs. A Pennsylvania native who played college ball at East Stroudsburg, he called the head coach position at Penn State is “a dream job”. When he arrived in a private plane from Tennessee, he said that “stepping off that plane today was unbelievable… Just the sense of pride in this place, I think that is the biggest thing.” And he’s right. The Penn State community is and remains great due to the hundreds of thousands of alumni and current students who so avidly support Penn State football through everything.  

After BOB’s au revoir, many commits from the 2014 recruiting class started re-opening their recruit options and looking at other schools, not knowing who would lead them, come fall. However, Franklin’s projected acceptance of the new contract made many player recommit to Penn State. On his first day as head coach in Happy Valley, Franklin picked up two 4 star recruits from Vanderbilt and got star quarterback recruit, Michael O’Connor, to recommit to Penn State.

He is ready to bring change. “"I think I'm the right guy to come back and unite this state and bring this program back to where I think it should be. The healing process is why I'm here. It's why we're all here. To bring this great university back together,” said Franklin at his first press conference upon arrival at Beaver Stadium. This university is together and has never been so close. With Franklin’s arrival, it can only get better.

With BOB, we re-built confidence and recruited players who could help us become a powerhouse again. With Franklin, we have the coaching ability as well as the recruiting abilities to become one of the strongest teams in the nation. He didn't run away from the Joe Paterno faction, either, calling him a great man and saying he was enthralled by Paterno's "success with honor."

With Franklin’s traditions and mindset as a head coach, Penn State can, without a doubt, perpetuate its tradition of “success with honor,” integrity and great academics intertwined with high quality football. Although the 2014 season is far off, the excitement is alive and well on campus, and we can’t wait to see what these next few years have in store for Penn State football.

Welcome to the PSU family, Coach Franklin!


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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