User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Franklin likes being post-JoePa face of PSU

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

NEW YORK (AP) - Penn State coach James Franklin is fine as long as he keeps moving.

Advertisement
Only in those rare moments when he gets to take a break during the Nittany Lions' coaches caravan, a 17-stop tour spanning most of May, is he in danger of crashing.

''I'm not really good with down time,'' Franklin told reporters during stop No. 11 in New York on Wednesday, not far from the site of the Freedom Tower at 1 World Trade Center. ''I kind of hit the wall. I think if we just would have come and moved, I would have been fine. But the down time wasn't good.''

A triple-espresso and a Red Bull had Franklin back to his energetic and chatty self.

''I'm ready!'' Franklin said, punctuating his recovery with a couple loud claps. ''Watcha got?''

What Penn State's new coach has is roster whittled down by crippling NCAA sanctions, expectations that might be out of whack after his predecessor's surprising success, and a fanbase that in some corners is still trying to come to grips with massive changes after decades of stability.

While former Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien had a tough time dealing with all that goes into being the face of Penn State in the post-Joe Paterno era, Franklin seems more comfortable with the job.

''I'd love to just sit in a room and draw up plays and Xs and Os and recruit as well, but that's not what being a college football coach is about,'' he said. ''It's everything. It's getting out and interacting with the fans and the media. It's talking to alumni. It's raising money. It's recruiting. It's developing the players. It's reinforcing academics. It's everything. And my thing is ... if you're going to do it you might as well embrace it. You might as well have fun with it.''

Franklin has been going pretty much nonstop since moving from Vanderbilt to Happy Valley in the middle of January.

The coaches' caravan is Penn State's way to connect with its alumni outside of central Pennsylvania, and an opportunity for Franklin to rally support from fans still scarred from the collapse of Paterno's regime under the weight of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal in 2011.

O'Brien did a remarkable job navigating a tough situation. He became Penn State coach without knowing the school would get hammered by the NCAA with a four-year postseason ban and huge scholarship losses.

O'Brien held the team together, and guided it to 15 victories. Still, those loyal to Paterno made it tough for O'Brien to feel as if he had the full support of the Penn State community. And the many Penn State fans and alumni who did back O'Brien didn't trust the leadership at the school above him.

After two years of trying to help heal Penn State, O'Brien left for the NFL.

Now the job is Franklin's. Part of it is the caravan, where he is trying to inject Penn State with the enthusiasm he brought to Vanderbilt.

''At Vanderbilt you were trying to get people to become fans of the local team,'' said Franklin, who went 24-15 at Vandy, the best winning percentage for a Commodores coach since the 1940s. ''At Penn State, we're trying to get people that maybe have fallen off the bandwagon to bring them back to being part of the family.''

Attendance at Penn State dipped after the Sandusky scandal. The Nittany Lions drew 96,587 per game last season, which ranks among the best figures in the country. The problem is Beaver Stadium holds more than 107,000. Selling those extra 10,000 tickets is important to the athletic department's budget.

''(At Vanderbilt), we were trying to sell out a 40,000-seat stadium, which they'd never really sold out,'' Franklin said. ''Here we're trying to go to from 95,000 to 107,000. I guess my point is the same message and the same beliefs and the same philosophies are still there. It's just a little bit different.''

On the field, this is the season the sanctions will really start to sting Penn State. There is so little depth on the offensive line that two defensive linemen were converted and immediately moved to the top of the depth chart.

The presence of sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who threw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, should help, but Franklin acknowledges it will be a challenge for his staff to hide the team's deficiencies.

Optimistic by nature, Franklin's biggest challenge is to get people excited for Penn State football, while not driving up expectations that could already be unrealistic coming off O'Brien's unexpected success.

He admits it's difficult, but he is putting it on himself.

''I know this sounds funny,'' Franklin said, ''but we have 107,000 fans at the game, I want to have an intimate personal relationship with every single one of them.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Saturday's Tip Sheet
Michigan routs Appalachian State, 52-14
Ohio State pulls away from Navy, 34-17
UCLA wins 28-20 on road, UVA covers
Stanford routs UC Davis 45-0 in opener
Missouri defeats So Dak State, 38-18
Golson, Notre Dame cook Rice 48-17
Nebraska rolls over Florida Atlantic, 55-7
PSU tops UCF 26-24 with last-second FG
MORE HEADLINES
 
2013 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1921
Joe Nelson + 1446
Bruce Marshall + 1350
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 60 %
Doc's Sports 57 %
Joe Williams 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1312
Brian Edwards + 580
James Manos + 443
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1283
Jimmy Boyd + 966
James Manos + 756
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 1100
Doc's Sports + 1090
Joe Nelson + 940
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks- Washington Huskies at Hawaii Warriors
2014 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 543
Paul Bovi + 200
Dave Cokin + 200
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Paul Bovi 100 %
Joe Nelson 100 %
Dave Cokin 100 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 200
Stephen Nover + 200
Pat Hawkins + 200
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 300
Tony Stoffo + 200
Bruce Marshall + 200
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Tony Stoffo + 300
Michael Black + 130
Marc Lawrence + 100
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!