Happy Dude in Happy Valley: Vandy's Franklin Finally Lands

Published on 09-Jan-2014 by Stacey Mickles
Football - NCAA / NCAA Football Daily Update

Taking the Penn State job called for brass balls, too.

It looks like Penn State is following Texas' lead and is about to hire its first African-American head coach.

James Franklin, who is the current coach at Vanderbilt, will be officially named the new head coach in Happy Valley.

It's bemusing how scripted this process is anymore. There's a controlled leak of the announcment -- which in Louisville's case, served a purpose -- followed by a scripted statement for the new coach to read and then a back-slapping press conference. In Louisville, this may have saved that last step from being a total face-slapping press conference.

Franklin will be replacing Bill O'Brien who bolted for the Houston Texans last week. Franklin led Vandy to two straight nine-win seasons and three straight bowl appearances. He'll leave the Commodores with an overall record of 24-15, including victories this past season over Georgia and Florida.

Franklin was obviously undaunted by what Bill O'Brien had to say on his way out the door.

O'Brien, as you may recall, put Joe Pa loyalists on blast and flat-out blamed them for why he left. But Franklin doesn't look like the type of coach who would tolerate any foolishness from the brass or fans.

In fact, he may be the perfect fit. He's a native of Philadelphia and played quarterback at East Stroudsburg (Pa) University, so he knows the area well. He may also be the break they need, being one hire removed from Joe Paterno.

So, where does Vandy turn now?

David Cutcliffe of Duke is a name being batted around. Cutcliffe used to be the offensive coordinator at Tennessee and then moved on to be the head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels. He also coached both the Manning brothers in college. 

Cutcliffe would probably be the ideal fit, but don't be surprised if former Texas head coach Mack Brown's name comes up. He's a Tennessee native, and brother Watson use to coach the 'Dores back in the day.

After enduring the crucible of Texas wrath the past few seasons, landing amongst the hallowed halls of Vanderbilt would almost seem like a victory lap for an 'esteemed' coaching career.

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