Penn State Football: James Franklin Introduced As Head Coach
"I came to camp here when I was in 11th grade. And I thought I was good enough to play at Penn State." Penn State head coach James Franklin said at his introductory press conference on Saturday.
"I was not."
And that was the tone for over 40 minutes as Franklin answered questions and introduced himself to the nation as the 16th head coach in Penn State history. Penn State isn't just any other program and Franklin wasn't going to treat it like it was.
“I’m a Pennsylvania boy with a Penn State heart,” Franklin said. ”I always dreamed of this opportunity…it’s funny, when my wife and I were dating, we talked about my dream job, and I always said Penn State."
"I believe in a true student athlete. This is a place where a young man can have it all…that’s why I made this decision,” Franklin said. “We plan on being here for a long time. This is my dream job. This is where I want to be.”
Franklin's vision, to bring Penn State back to a level of national prominence was evident throughout his message. From his style of play on the field to recruiting off of it. Franklin said all of the right things fans wanted to hear.
For a program that has lacked stability and focus, Franklin seemed to bring a real vision to the table. Perhaps he said what people wanted to hear in order to make a good first impression. But even as he sold himself and the program there was little doubt that there was honesty in his pitch. Franklin may have brought out all the bells and whistles, but there was seemingly no hollowness behind it.
“Our recruiting philosophy: We are going to dominate the state and we are going to dominate the region,” Franklin said. ”I’m calling all the high school coaches, I’m calling all the people in the state, and we need to come together like never before."
“We will recruit every corner of this state. Every school of this state. Every neighborhood of this state,” Franklin said. ”I have a tremendous respect for the University of Pittsburgh but when I say Pennsylvania I mean the entire state. We are, Penn State. We're going to work extremely hard to put a product both on the field and off that everybody can be truly, truly proud of."
"The way we call the game, we'll be aggressive. I think that's very, very important. I think the fans want to see an exciting style of defense. I think the fans want to see an exciting style of offense and special teams. We'll take calculated risks. We're going to have fun."
And so, Penn State enters new waters under a head coach who is chomping at the bit to prove himself. His turnaround of the Vanderbilt program was an impressive one, especially in the SEC. But the bar is set much higher at Penn State. If first impressions are worth anything, Franklin is making the Penn State fanbase feel pretty rich only two weeks after losing Bill O'Brien.
"I can't tell you how excited we are to be here, and my name is James Franklin, the next Head Football Coach at Penn State University, and I couldn't be more proud to represent everybody here. Thank you."