Franklin’s Fire Ready For Act One

Franklin’s Fire Ready For Act One

Akin to the way natives of Toronto pronounce their home city as “Trah-Know” and Minnesotans put the emphasis on the end of their state’s name as if they are ordering a “soda” (oddly enough, however, they refer to soda as “pop”), there is a culture inside Pennsylvania that is unique to the boundaries of the commonwealth.

Penn State head coach James Franklin understands that culture in so many spades that he can play a game of hearts on the side and afford to dump a few tricks.

The guy is simply on fire. His exuberant personality has not only led to a big-ticket start on the recruiting trail, but perhaps even more importantly, greater success on the rubber chicken circuit. It’s difficult to dislike Franklin. With an infectious smile and a verbal cadence that reeks of wholesome milk, he’s simply good at this.

adam mclean psuOn the day of Penn State’s spring scrimmage in April, Franklin landed perhaps his biggest blue-chipper in the form of massive defensive tackle Adam McLean. Franklin and specifically defensive coordinator Bob Shoop understand that the best defenses in the country, which are based in the SEC, are built with excellent defensive tackles as their base. It’s not an accident that LSU, Alabama, Georgia and Florida State (an SEC school of the de facto variety) are generally very dominant at stopping the run. Thinking, acting like and possessing schemes that mirror those that Franklin and Shoop saw up close during their time at Vanderbilt will be invaluable to Penn State’s success going forward.

Two other reasons that McLean’s verbal was critical: 1) the fact that right off the bat, Franklin welcomed the Maryland Terrapins into the Big Ten with a reiteration that Penn State still owns that state’s top prep stars; and 2) Franklin upended the likes of Nick Saban, Mark Richt, Steve Spurrier, and, perhaps most importantly for the future, former PSU stalwart and current Ohio State assistant Larry Johnson in the process.

(Obviously verbal commitments offer very little certainty until February, but Penn State fans are much happier having them than not.)

Speaking of looking ahead, it has been confirmed to Lion’s Pride that Franklin has spoken with a number of the larger donors about upgrading the facilities. Apparently one of the Franklin’s minions (not on the coaching staff) was recently in Eugene to check out what Phil Knight’s wallet Oregon has produced in terms of its training and locker rooms, unit meeting rooms (and electronics related thereto), and other general meeting rooms and common areas.

In short, expect a facelift to a large portion of Lasch Building in the near future. It is one of Franklin’s top priorities.

As preseason practice officially begins today, check back in soon for previews of the offense, defense, and the full season preview with predictions.

Welcome to another season of Indians baseball.