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Is James Franklin waking a sleeping giant at Penn State?

James Franklin AP

Dominate the state. That is the motto new Penn State head coach James Franklin has been selling since his first press conference in Happy Valley. After putting together a solid Class of 2014 in his short time at Penn State, Franklin and his coaching staff have already lined up five of the top 15 players from the state of Pennsylvania for the Class of 2015, highlighted Thursday with the verbal commitment of running back Andre Robinson, from a Bishop McDevitt High school program in Harrisburg that has traditionally been rich in talent that goes away from Penn State. Whatever Franklin and his staff are doing at Penn State seems to be working.

Franklin and his staff have already been breathing new life in to a program still in recovery mode. The staff has embraced social media and is reaching out to fans and delivering a unified message. The coaches are also getting involved in their new surroundings. Just last weekend coaches checked out the record-breaking THON dance marathon on Penn State’s campus. For a football program that for years was stuck in old-fashioned methods, Franklin and his staff are embracing it and utilizing them to their advantage.

For decades now, Penn State has been considered a bit of a sleeping giant. Instead of the powerhouse that was expected to compete for Big Ten titles on an annual basis, the Nittany Lions have won just three Big Ten titles since joining the conference in 1993. The scandal that rocked the university and community in November 2011 may have helped derail a bid for a fourth conference title, and the fallout was expected to be much more severe.

Penn State was supposed to be a program leveled by NCAA sanctions in 2012, but Bill O’Brien managed to keep the program afloat, and Franklin appears set to have the program competing at a high level when an NCAA postseason ban is lifted in two more seasons, if not before. Franklin is aided by the NCAA giving back some lost scholarships, and the new head coach is capitalizing on that. With two years remaining on the postseason ban, Franklin is guiding the program to the end of the tunnel. While the university could take longer to regroup, and the healing process as a whole will continue on, as far as football is concerned it looks as though Franklin is in a good position to do some damage.

Penn State is not quite awake from sleeping giant status yet, but the alarm is about to go off.

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26 Responses to “Is James Franklin waking a sleeping giant at Penn State?”
  1. dmvtransplant says: Feb 28, 2014 11:21 PM

    When your in the top 10 teams in terms of money, there is no reason to have just 3 conference championships in 20 years. Hell Chip Kelly got 3 CC in four years at Oregon

  2. noleitup says: Feb 28, 2014 11:41 PM

    I like what Franklin has done in his short time at PSU but its gonna be tough to overcome tOSU.

  3. steeler1nation says: Mar 1, 2014 12:15 AM

    F*ck Penn State.
    The culture is still cult-like.

  4. meatcarroll says: Mar 1, 2014 12:27 AM

    Protect Sandusky U should have been given the death penalty for their willful enabling of their beloved coaching legend Jerry Sandusky the Sex Predator. Any person with an atom of humanity is rooting for their team to never win another game.

  5. normtide says: Mar 1, 2014 12:41 AM

    I think Franklin will continue on the amazing job O’Brien did. That said, western PA isn’t the fertile recruiting ground it once was. He will need to not only lock down the state, but also dip into Ohio. And there is stiff competition there from many schools. After seeing the job he did at Vandy, I expect him to succeed. But, I don’t see PSU as a sleeping giant. Not even before the scandal. They are a traditional powerhouse, like Michigan and Tennessee. But history alone no longer makes you a giant. It does make the road to power much easier.

  6. derekcbarberadb says: Mar 1, 2014 12:59 AM

    The death penalty? ha, anybody that think Sandusky was a football issue clearly isnt an educated person. If you want to blame someone, blame the PA police, PA Governer, PA AG, DA, or PA child services. The football angle was purely for TV ratings, guess you bought it, sorry dude.

    Back to football talk, sorry about that but I hate childish I recite anything media/ESPN says talk, but Franklin is clearly one of the best recruiters in college, the guy does it the old fashioned way, hard work and enthusiasm . What he did at Vandy was borderline amazing and will likely never be done at that school again (beating a talented UGA and winning at Florida). Plus his Vandy background where education is a priority makes him the perfect PSU fit as both schools graduate around 90% of their kids and never committ a recruiting violation, thank the lord that some schools are still doing things the right way like the Stanfords, ND, NW, BC etc. It no reason that the majority of cfb players end up bankrupt, its time for the NCAA to start hammering schools that play academic games plus these kids should get some pocket change legally $1-$2K a month, level the playing field so we really know who the best coaches are.

    Anyway, the original article is spot on, its pretty clear Franklin will have PSU back to a top 10 program sooner rather than later.

  7. derekcbarberadb says: Mar 1, 2014 1:01 AM

    I think Strong is a good coach but IMO Texas should of hired Franklin hands down, Srong schedukle was a joke while Franklin was battle tested in the best football conference. I dont see Strong failing but I also dont see Texas reaching the top 5 program level its talent should reflect

  8. derekcbarberadb says: Mar 1, 2014 1:06 AM

    normtide, its early but it already looks like Franklin is going to have some success in Ohio, but all he really needs to do is lock up PA and NJ and MD which has elite players and PA still has a ton of talent, plus just this year he got some real good talent in FL, GA and Alabama despite only being on the job 2 weeks

  9. normtide says: Mar 1, 2014 1:30 AM

    He took this recruits from Vandy. But that I have any problem with that, most kids commit to a coach, not a program. I will agree about NJ, that state is underrated for producing talent. PA does still put out good recruits, but nothing like it’s hay day. Ohio is still a top tier state for HS talent. It’s not a knock, but the talent well in the Midwest has died up. The successful programs in the b1g will be the ones who adjust their recruiting. I have no doubt Franklin can do that. He has a laser like focus. He won’t back down from Meyer. He is not afraid to make waves. But make no mistake, it will be a long road to get where you want to be. Hiring the right coach is only the first step.

    I will add, I think letting go of the whole Joepa thing is essential to moving forward. You can’t keep the scandal in the news. Some need to choose between psu’s future and Joe’s legacy. Best of luck up there.

  10. ningenito78 says: Mar 1, 2014 2:34 AM

    Until he gets nailed for some scandal. And that’s going to happen. The dude is too greasy to not be dirty.

  11. flyeredup says: Mar 1, 2014 7:16 AM

    And Paterno enabled it all to happen. Should not have a football program. Those poor children.

  12. dumbpollack says: Mar 1, 2014 8:06 AM

    As a lifer for tOSU my first reaction would be I hope not. BUT it is good for the conference if they can get it going. May want to “slow the roll” a bit in this guy though. Ok he won some at Vandy but that sort of record won’t work at PSU.

  13. barkleyblows says: Mar 1, 2014 8:53 AM

    Nobody cares about Ped State

  14. sjfotos says: Mar 1, 2014 9:05 AM

    All the hate mail just makes me laugh now. Must really hurt to see us coming back from events that would have crushed others. Prepare to be more fray tarted haters! We just laugh while we build.

  15. noaxetogrind says: Mar 1, 2014 10:17 AM

    For those of you who think Penn State should have been given the death penalty and accuse all who don’t feel the same way as you of somehow not being quite as sacred; please stop wth your sanctimonious self righteousness. Your revulsion and horror at what took place at Penn State is no greater than ours. You don’t love children any more than we do. You don’t hate injustice any more than we do. We just happen to think that you should punish the guilty parties, not a whole town, state and university for the actions of a very small powerful group of people. Elimination of football would have destroyed the economic reality of a lot of people who live in that region who may not even like football. It would have eliminated 85 opportunities for young men to attend college with a scholarship. It would have taken away an energy filled way for the students and alums to unite on fall weekends, through no fault of their own. Please try and apply a little common sense to your thought process. Under your line of thinking, if anybody in your family, extended or immediate, ever commits a crime we should incarcerate you. The school was hit hard financially, where it should have been. The largest financial penalty in NCAA history. I think it is ridiculous that the current student athletes had to pay a price. Coaches who had nothing to do with it or had any knowledge of it were let go for apperence sake. I am no Penn State fan but I think PSU has paid plenty for the sins of a few.

  16. bjbobeck says: Mar 1, 2014 10:29 AM

    Ha love the hate..PSU is back and better then ever so cry you ignorant scrotums. As it turns out the scandal might been best thing to happen for PSU football..

  17. derekgorgonstar says: Mar 1, 2014 10:49 AM

    The scandal will never leave this program, the blind loyalists on here are proving that.

  18. seanb20124 says: Mar 1, 2014 11:11 AM

    His recruiting reminds me of Golden at UVA. At the end of the day though Football is a results oriented business.

  19. dhlions says: Mar 1, 2014 11:47 AM

    Noaxetogrind wins. Well said.

  20. guinsrule says: Mar 1, 2014 5:24 PM

    Everyone knew PSU was being held back by Paterno, much like FSU was being held back by Bowden.

  21. ghengy says: Mar 1, 2014 7:50 PM

    Sleeping giant….no. Franklin is a very good coach, I have mad respect for what he did at Vandy but I’ll never understand why he left, he had the best job in the SEC. But part of his success was due to timing. Anyway, we’ll have to just wait and see if he can improve on his recruiting standard that he set in Nashville. But personally I think 10-11 wins are his ceiling at Penn St.

    And BTW, to all you idiots still harping over Sandusky and Paterno….get a life for chrisakes. Thats been beaten to death and none of you bozos has any appreciation for what really happened. Rant over.

  22. cranespy says: Mar 2, 2014 8:42 AM

    Not a Franklin fan….detest his brashness but very impressed with the steps he has taken at Happy Valley thus far…..time will tell. I thought B.O.B was a perfect fit at PSU, hated to see him go…….jury is still out on this one….

  23. musketmaniac says: Mar 3, 2014 2:52 PM

    Image changers, it’s sad how a university has to have such a devastating scandal to forget about other lethargic problems. Franklin’s hiring addresses another huge problem Psu has had on campus. RACISM. From what I hear very few people are happy that a black man is coach.

  24. musketmaniac says: Mar 3, 2014 3:01 PM

    And Justice, never happened here. Sandusky watches his Nittany Lions every Saturday on his modest 48` plasma eating Bbq and potato salad. from what I understand they deliver catering to his cell an hour before kick off. Justice lol, maybe if that sanctimonious P.O.S paterno would have acted earlier, this guy wouldn’t have got away with sodomy for fourty years. when your a career criminal getting busted after your 65th birthday is a RETIREMENT PLAN, not punishment. Rumors of sue paterno award winning mustard and egg potato salad is huge with guards and other inmates.

  25. 65impala says: Mar 5, 2014 7:59 AM

    Steelernation* At least Sandusky is in jail, while the Steelers keep paying a rapist, millions.

  26. musketmaniac says: Mar 5, 2014 2:15 PM

    Big Ben is big dirt ball, ,Steeler fans are the worse pieces of trash on the planet. I am in a baseball chat room with them, because I am a pirate fan. I get kicked out all the time for putting these arrogant self absorbed pieces of trash in there place. I have had mothers of daughters tell me that they knew with their heart that big ben was innocent, and that girl was a lying whore Other adults claim she deserved it. and my favorite. were winning who cares who he rapes as long as we get to a superbowl. Remember when every ped st fan swore Jopa innocent, the media and the victims were liars. That what these arrogant filth have failed to absorb. Rape, murder can happen everywhere, there could have been more forgiveness if psu fans would have acted properly. Instead they blamed and victim, and worried about their football program before the children and the truth. It’s nice to see fans of justice on these boards. we cannot let this go. this will continue for years.

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