Since coming to Vanderbilt as head coach in December of 2010, James Franklin has never been shy in voicing an opinion, whether it be in regards to an opposing defensive coordinator or an opposing head coach or how the hotness of a coach’s wife correlates to recruiting success.
Now, the loquacious coach has taken to tweaking the tail of the biggest tiger in the best conference in college football.
Speaking at a Georgia high school’s fall sports banquet, Franklin decided to use a common message-board colloquialism for the three-time BCS title-winning head coach at Alabama during his address.
“There’s this guy at Alabama, I think his name is Nicky Satan. You guys have probably heard of him before,” Franklin said in a video clip posted to the website of WMAZ-TV.
“I’m gonna outwork him, I’m gonna outwork him. And that’s kind of our plan every single day,” Franklin added before dropping to his knees to mock the vertically-challenged Nick Saban*.
(*No, not really, but would you have been surprised?)
Here’s the video from WMAZ, with the pertinent portion beginning just a few seconds in:
Thanks to Vandy being situated in the SEC East and “Bama in the West, the Commodores and Tide have only faced each other once during Franklin’s two seasons in Nashville; in October of 2011, Lucifer’s Tide whitewashed Franklin’s ‘Dores 34-0 in Tuscaloosa.
In fact, the only place that Franklin and Beelzebub will go head-to-head for the foreseeable future, thanks to an expanded SEC sticking to eight conference games, is on the recruiting trail. During Franklin’s two-plus years at the school, Vandy’s recruiting rankings have gone from 70th in 2011 to 29th in 2012 to 20th in Rivals.com‘s current team rankings for the Class of 2013. Alabama’s during that same stretch? First, first and third.
Outwork a recruiting workaholic? Good luck, Coach Franklin.
UPDATED 5:04 p.m. ET: Well, that was fun while it lasted.
Shortly after the video of James Franklin referring to Nick Saban as “Nick Satan” went viral, the Vandy head coach got in touch with his Alabama counterpart and personally apologized to him. From The Tennessean:
“Obviously, tremendous respect for Coach Saban,” Franklin said. “I just got off the phone with him. Tremendous respect for them. I’ve got tremendous respect for what they’ve done. Everybody is chasing them. The guy has won three or four national championships.
“(I was) really talking about the work ethic that he has a reputation for, and that we’re going to outwork them. I made a joke. And in today’s society with all the media and social media and people with tape recorders and things like that, that doesn’t come off that way. I know people have tremendous pride in Alabama, and their fans are fanatical. So I understand. But it was a joke and I didn’t mean to offend anybody.”
Franklin added that Saban said he has “a lot of respect for what you guys are doing up there at Vanderbilt.”