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Penn State Football: Franklin's Assistant List Could Come Into Use If Shoop Goes South

by on January 07, 2015 1:30 PM

If Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop makes his way to LSU for a similar position -- something that has at least not been officially denied as of Tuesday afternoon -- James Franklin will have to find a replacement sooner rather than later as signing day approaches. 

The good news for fans and recruits is that while they may end up losing Shoop to Les Miles and company, Franklin may not have to wait long to find a candidate he wants.

The solution? A list of replacements for all of his coaches roughly 15 candidates long. it's a living document that Franklin constantly updates, amends and adds to for occasions just like the one he might face in the coming days.

In fact, it was that list that helped find and land current defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith.

Looking back on what Franklin said during the Coaches Caravan tour this summer, looking for replacements isn't a new idea.

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"It's all the time," Franklin said of updating his candidate list. "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."

If Shoop were to leave, it's too early to say who Franklin would approach. The continuity between Vanderbilt and Penn State has left very little room for Franklin to spread his hiring wings so even speculating at this point makes it hard to say what direction Franklin would go first. It's entirely possible linebacker coach Brent Pry could be promoted.

"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."

No matter how supportive Franklin might be of career changes for his assistants, there is little doubt Penn State's fifth defensive coordinator in five years will have big shoes to fill.

So fans can only hope Shoop keeps his talents in Happy Valley, or that Franklin's list has some big names on it.

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