Penn State Football: Franklin Avoids War Of Words With SEC As A 'Thank You' May Best Fit The Bill
James Franklin didn't bite at the chance, he didn't even nibble at the chance.
Given three opportunities to fire back, Franklin stayed on message as reporters asked him to respond to comments made by SEC coaches. Some SEC coaches are upset because Penn State will legally help run two football camps well inside SEC borders.
Standing just inside Holuba Hall on Penn State's campus as the rain poured down on Sunday, Franklin wasn't interested in making a mountain out of a molehill.
“I’m excited that we’re able to create the opportunity to come to Penn State for kids that are not in this region, or maybe would not have the opportunity to come here otherwise.” he said.
And that has been Franklin's stump speech on the issue since the news became public that Penn State would head to Florida and Georgia to help co-host two camps. It's within NCAA and Big Ten rules, but it isn't something SEC coaches are able to do. The SEC rules don't allow it. So as Penn State sets up shop inside SEC strongholds there is nothing the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and Florida can do about it.
“Number one, there are rules in place, and we’re gonna follow the rules,” Franklin said. “If you look, there are teams around this country that have been doing this for maybe close to 10 years. And for whatever reason, we do it this year and it’s made national headlines. I don’t know why it’s made such big news this year.”
While it hasn't always been the case for Penn State, this time big news is good news.
Consider this: Penn State is allegedly crippled beyond repair right now, a program that is fighting to be relevant against programs in the state, let alone those hundreds of miles away. But now the biggest names in college football are raising their voices in unison as Franklin takes his staff into the stronghold of the nation's most powerful conference. It's hard to imagine similar headlines if Purdue had made those arrangements. That's a sign that Penn State's current recruiting success is not going unnoticed across the country and a sign that it probably isn't a fluke.
So Franklin and his staff follow the rules, and in the process the nation's best programs reaffirm what Franklin has been selling to recruits and fans since he got the job: Penn State isn't crippled and the future of the program is a bright one, perhaps brighter than it has been in decades. Don't believe him? Ask all these coaches why they're so worried about him coming to town.
“I love the fact that it’s made national headlines, because that just helps us.” Franklin said when prodded one final time.
Franklin was never going to fire back a with a headline making quote on Sunday; not this time. He doesn't have to.
If anything he owes the SEC a big thank you for proving his point.