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Penn State Football: Franklin And His List Of 15 Has Him Ready For The Future

by on June 08, 2014 6:00 AM

Chances are a coaching staff is going to change over the years.

Assistants are hired away to be head coaches or a higher level assistant at different schools.

It's all part of the job and the ever changing nature of college football.

Overall, it isn't a horrible issue to have to deal with as a head coach. It means you're succeeding enough that your assistants are getting noticed. That being said, the ability to keep a staff together can be a crucial aspect of finding that success in the long term.

Penn State head coach James Franklin understands all of this and as a result he's already ahead of a the curve. He's put together a list of 15 coaches that could fill out each of the theoretically empty spots on his coaching staff. It's a list that's constantly updated and changing after meetings, conversations and run-ins with up and coming coaches. 

"It's all the time," Franklin said during a coaches caravan stop. "It's talking to somebody else and they're talking about the most valuable guy on their staff is this guy and I'm writing that down."

"It's hiring a guy and he came from another school and you say, 'Who was the best recruiter on that staff? Who was the best coach on that staff?' So I'm always asking questions like this. I'm very inquisitive, but that list is constantly growing and evolving. Sometimes they come off that list because they become head coaches or they go to the NFL or whatever it is."

As a matter of fact, the list of 15 coaches is how now Penn State defensive backs and cornerback coach Terry Smith found his way home back at his alma mater.

"A bunch of people that have recruited Pittsburgh for a long time, everybody in Pittsburgh would always say Terry is a sharp guy," Franklin said. "Terry is one of these guys you could see going on and being successful in college. You pretty much know. You go to high schools and you can tell which coaches you think can really make the move and be successful."

"You watched him as he walked around the school just how everybody interacted with him, the respect that he had. He had a presence to him."

And with Smith on the staff he comes off of Franklin's list of 15 and another name goes on. Franklin doesn't mind his assistants making career moves in the grand scheme of things, but there are situations Franklin isn't going to be thrilled about unfolding. 

"We can't have anybody leave for lateral moves so we're going to make it really difficult for guys to leave for lateral moves," Franklin said "I want them to feel like they can reach all their dreams at Penn State as well. We want to hold onto them as long as we possibly can, but I also want them to be able to do what's best for them and their families as well.

"If an opportunity comes across that's too good for them to turn down and makes sense for their family, there's not going to be anybody that's going to be more excited and more supportive of that than me. But until then you want to try and keep the family together as long as we possibly can because it's a special group of men."

There's no reason to assume Penn State's staff is going to change in the next 12 months, but Franklin is already prepared for it even if it doesn't happen for another five years.


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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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