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Penn State Football: Franklin Hopeful To Wrap Up Offensive Coordinator Search

by on December 06, 2015 7:20 PM

Penn State football is closing in on a critical decision that could very well shape the course of the James Franklin era. The task at hand, replacing former offensive coordinator John Donovan who was relieved of his duties just a week ago.

Now with a Jan.2 bowl date against Georgia on the calendar, replacing Donovan is yet another task on Franklin's desk to deal with. According to Franklin on a conference call Sunday evening, the Nittany Lions could have a new coach in place within the next two weeks.

"At this point (quarterback coach) Ricky Rahne is fulfilling those responsibilities on our staff and I hope to have the position filled in the next week and a half to two weeks or so," Franklin said. "But we'll see how the process plays out. That person would probably come on and spend that time evaluating our players, evaluating our staff and being able to have some input but it's not like we're going to put in a new system right before the bowl game."

So while the bowl game acts as a backdrop for more immediate issues, whoever Penn State eventually hires will start his time in Happy Valley simply watching. If the hire comes before the bowl he'll be tasked with evaluations. The Nittany Lions won't be installing a new system before the spring.

"We're going to try and keep things as normal as we possibly can and it'll be a great opportunity and a great experience for Ricky Rahne as well," Franklin said, noting that the hire would come from outside the program.

The hope for making the hire sooner rather than later is two fold. It's one less thing the program has to worry about, and it's that much more time to get a new face up to speed. If everyone is one the same page by the day after the bowl game, then it's mission accomplished.

"I think that's the biggest thing," Franklin added. "if we can get somebody in place to evaluate our and be around our staff so right after the bowl game they're able to jump right in from Day 1 in terms of moving forward with the program and what we're going to be able to do on offense.

"And I think for our players, to not have that in the back of their mind and being concerned or worried about what the future holds. They'll be able to set up meetings with that guy and sit down with him as well and get to know each other on a personal level. I really think it allows them to be focused on the game and not be concerned or distracted about what the future holds and what it's gonna look like. And to be honest with you the same with me. As a coach you constantly have 25 things on your desk that need to get done and as long as we can find the right person and make the right hire and that's one less thing we can focus on the better."

Who Franklin is talking to is a bit of a mystery but Penn State's second year head coach says the phone has been ringing off the hook. Add in Franklin's infamous list of coaches he would call when in need of making a hire that pool of names only continues to grow.

What we do know: that Franklin wants a coach who has called plays, thus largely eliminating position coaches. Franklin also left the door open for NFL assistants with play calling experience as well.

As of Sunday the plan continues to be to start a new chapter in the immediate future, but as Franklin noted, rushing a big decision isn't in the program's best interest.

"If it takes more time than that then I'm perfectly comfortable and taking that time to make sure we get it right," Franklin said. "It's obviously an important position for us."



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