James Franklin made headlines this offseason when he left the Vanderbilt Commodores to become the new head of the Penn State Nittany Lions. He’s wasted little time in making himself comfortable as the leader of the Penn State program, declaring himself the “CEO” and promising to get down to business to lead the program out of their heavy NCAA sanctions. Franklin has a clear plan for the program moving forward and he will waste no time implementing it in 2014.
Franklin has brought many of the coaches he worked with to build up Vandy over the last three seasons (many of them from the area near Penn State) to maintain the continuity of message that was so successful in the SEC. That will help Franklin and his staff hit the ground running on building up Penn State with their philosophy thanks to the familiarity with the message they will permeate throughout the program.
His first opportunity to work with his new roster will come in spring practices where Franklin has promised a “clean slate” for every player and open competition for every position. Previous starting experience won’t guarantee anything with Franklin in charge and the spring depth chart will be based entirely on seniority but won’t mean anything for playing time in the fall.
“There are no returning starters at any position … at any position. Every single day these guys are going to wake up and they’re going to earn their job. We’re going to create the most competitive experience we possibly can.”
That competition will help to build Penn State with an edge as they come out from under their NCAA sanctions in the coming years to compete for Big Ten titles once again. Franklin’s approach will infuse a renewed energy into the program to take them to the next level. He has brought a clear gameplan to lead Penn State with him to his new position. Will that plan take the Nittany Lions over the top?