PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Recently-hired Penn State football coach James Franklin took time out of his busy schedule to talk to The Fan Morning Show Friday.
Here’s what he had to say on a variety of topics:
Franklin talked about recruits and balancing a coaching staff and choosing a school:
“It comes down to the feeling,” he said. “It comes down to the people. And I don’t think that’s any different for any of us in any organization you go into, whether it’s a job, whether it’s a school – you go somewhere where you’re comfortable. You go somewhere where you trust people. You go somewhere where you feel like people have your best interests at heart. It’s about the relationships in the end.”
Franklin on Vanderbilt recruits following him to Penn State:
“I think whenever you’re in this situation, some people are going to have their opinions and have strong opinions,” Franklin said. “And that’s why they’re fans, they’re fanatical. I understand that. There’s no doubt about that. But what’s interesting is you have relationships with these people, with their parents, with the high school coaches, with the young men you’ve recruited for two years. You’ve gone into their home, you’ve broke bread with them. It’s a very, very close relationship and it’s a very, very close connection. They believe in the school, but they also believe in what you’re selling. We got in a situation where kids were committing to Penn State without even seeing the place — my job ultimately now is do the best job I possibly can for Penn State.”
On working with Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg.
“He’s a big, beautiful-looking guy, like an alpha-male,” Franklin said. “He made me feel bad about myself just sitting next to him.”
On the team getting used to him:
“I think what helps a little bit, just like Hack(enberg) and a bunch of these guys, there’s probably 12-15 guys on this team that I recruited out of high school, that know me, know the staff very well. So I think, when my name started circulating around for this job, the players talked, and I think those guys kind of told the rest of the guys on the team who I am, what I’m all about,” he said.
On his and his staff’s sense of commitment:
“I think we’ve got a chance to have something really special,” Franklin said. “I brought a staff with me and I had a staff with me at [Vanderbilt] that has strong ties. We had opportunities to talk to other people both in college and the NFL. We turned all those opportunities down to jump on this one. You guys are going to be trying to drag me out of here, and it’s my job to make sure we go out and recruit and develop these kids, so that we’re able to stay here for the long haul and build this the right way.”
On what him aim is right now:
“My goal is at the end of this year, the people say, ‘You know what, I’m really, really comfortable with the direction of the program, and I’m really, really comfortable with the leadership.’ That’s what I want people to say at the end of this year and for years on out.”
On Penn State’s investigation into the Vanderbilt rape scandal:
“I think the biggest thing is the university could not have been more thorough and more detailed about checking all the background checks, because they knew this would come up,” he said.
On whether or not the scandal could resurface:
“I’m very comfortable with how the whole situation played out,” Franklin said.
On the bold promises that he has made:
“Those statements like that, about being active with every high school coach in the state, not turning down speaking engagements – I’m just trying to show my passion to everybody, that if I have to sleep two hours a night to get this program where it’s supposed to be, that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
On how busy he has been:
“I’m a guy that self-analyzes everything, so I go back and watch press conferences,” Franklin said. “I watched the players’ press conferences, I ask for feedback constantly from people that specialize in different areas, always trying to grow, always trying to evolve and get better – but to be honest with you, I haven’t had a chance to do anything. Day one that I got this job, I had 483 text messages in one day.”
The interview can be heard here: