James Franklin

Twitter mea culpa from Vandy HC for hot wife imbroglio


This is the kind of story that makes one long for a Notre Dame-to-the-WAC rumor to surface.  Or another mindless “controversy” about a rich man’s son getting an athletic scholarship.

During a radio interview earlier this week from the SEC meetings with 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Vanderbilt’s James Franklinnot exactly a stranger to controversy — was asked about the host’s, ahem, “philosophy” that “the best recruiters have good-looking wives, they outkick their coverage.”  In response to the “buy in, don’t buy in” aspect of the question, the head coach, well, went here…

“I’ve been saying it for a long time, I will not hire an assistant until I see his wife. If she looks the part and she’s a D1 recruit, then you got a chance to get hired. That’s part of the deal. There’s a very strong correlation between having the confidence, going up and talking to a women, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being articulate and confident, than it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling him.”

As the father of three girls, and as a man whose wife, mother and grandmother are all women, I cringed at the black & white starkness of the words, but then…

Hearing the audio of the interview (right around the 10:30 mark for the relevant part), it appeared that an always-hyped Franklin was nothing more than knee-deep in tried-and-true radio schtick — damn you Clay Travis!  Damn you!!! — and the conversation was (shocking development ahead!) in no way indicative of any staff-selection process the coach actually employs, an opinion on my part that may or may not be valid.

That, however, didn’t stop the ensuing brouhaha for the married father of two young daughters (pictured).  So much so, in fact, that Franklin felt compelled to take to Twitter to offer a five-tweet mea culpa, one that began with a self-diagnosis of temporary Nike-in-mouth disease; continued with an explanation; and ended with an APOLOGY:

Don’t know that Franklin needed to say he was sorry, and with all-caps no less.  Also don’t know whether he actually helped or hurt his cause with the social media apology, either.

That’s for those who took issue with it in the first place to decide, I guess.

(Photo credit: Vanderbilt athletics)

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.