Penn State head coach James Franklin is talking the talk and getting fans excited for the new era of Nittany Lions football. On Tuesday Franklin successfully won a pair of recruiting battles for four-star prospects. On Wednesday he made the next stops in the ongoing spring coaches caravan tour, this time setting up shop in new enemy territory across the Mason-Dixon Line.
Franklin, once destined to be the next head coach at Maryland, was in Baltimore meeting fans, alums and former players as well as the media. Wile a contingent of regular Penn State reporters were there to capture the moments, it was the Maryland media that opened the door to questions about Penn State’s new Big Ten division rival, Maryland. Of course, Franklin being the deadpan coach he can be at times, had to ask a Penn State staffer if the Terps were on the schedule this season.
“Do we have Maryland on the schedule this year?” Franklin asked, according to The Baltimore Sun. “Yeah, we do? Somewhere back there.” Franklin said right now his focus is solely on the season opener in Ireland against defending AAC and Fiesta Bowl champion UCF. But nobody should be fooled into thinking Franklin did not know Maryland was on the schedule. He may even have the date circled in his mind. But as Franklin places a recruiting emphasis on dominating the state of Pennsylvania, Franklin is also taking on a side role as cartographer and extending Pennsylvania’s boundaries into neighboring territory.
“I consider this in-state. I consider New Jersey in-state,” Franklin said while speaking to the Penn State fans and alums assembled in Baltimore. “[T]hey might as well shut them down because they don’t have a chance,” he added, referencing Rutgers and Maryland. Rutgers and Maryland will join the Big Ten as official members later this summer and begin competing in Big Ten play in the fall.
Franklin can talk the talk, but the time will come for him to prove he can lead Penn State to some big wins and that he and his staff will be able to get the most out of the talent Penn State is appearing to be bringing in.