Penn State Football: Franklin Hopeful For Facilities Upgrade
James Franklin might still be in the early stages of his career at Penn State but that doesn't mean he hasn't seen things he would like to change or improve around the program.
"To put it in a little bit of perspective for you, when I was at Vanderbilt, we had the last-place facilities in the SEC," said Franklin at one of the most recent Coaches Caravan stops. "It wasn't even close. And our facilities at Vanderbilt (were) better than what they are at Penn State right now, which is probably a little shocking to people."
When pressed further on the issues Franklin had in mind, he was more specific. It's not the buildings and the size of the facilities itself, as he says "He likes the bones" it's the little things Franklin wants to change. Fitting, considering Franklin's obsession with perfecting all the finer points of the program. Then again, they aren't so little to Franklin.
"It's everything," he said. "It's the indoor facility. Our turf needs to be replaced outside and inside. The carpet. The paint. The branding. The furniture. The technology. It's going to be getting people to support that vision and jump on board with us through fundraising and those types of things."
While this all might come as a bit of a shock to fans who've never questioned Penn State's status as a first-class program, there's little doubt that Franklin's pitch to pony-up the money isn't without reason.
"I think Penn State has, and wants to again, be able to provide a first-class experience for the student-athletes," Franklin said. "They've done that for a long time, and there's just some things we need to tweak and get back right. It's become a little bit of an arms race in college football if you look at what's going on, and we want to be a part of that."
The arms race is the key to Franklin's words. Certainly Penn State has plenty to showcase when it comes to luring in high school prospects, but sooner or later your state-of-the-art becomes state-of-the-past. It's all about staying ahead of the curve if you want to have the most relevant facilities. Perception is the key word, yet again, in the opening stanza of Franklin's tenure at Penn State. Franklin doesn't want to spend his time looking at what Penn State could have. He wants to spend his time reading about what Penn State does have and how other programs are looking to catch up.
How fast the university and boosters are able to open up their wallets remains to be seen. The athletic department is still limping through NCAA sanctions which makes spending increases for the football program difficult. However, Ohio State is planning changes within its program and the likes of Oregon and Miami are putting together stunning facilities. If Penn State wants James Franklin to hit what could be an astronomical peak with the program, it might be worth listening to what he has to say and making that financial investment.
As they say: You're either getting better or you're getting worse.