James Franklin broke many hearts when he left Vanderbilt University this offseason, but it looks like his heart has remained with the Commodores.
Franklin was seen cheering on the Vanderbilt baseball team in the College World Series against Louisville on Saturday, despite his new job as the head coach of the Penn State football team.
The support of his former school seems to be another sign that Franklin, who wears his emotions on his sleeve, truly did appreciate his time at the Southeastern Conference stepchild-school.
Franklin went all out, donning the Commodore black and wearing black sunglasses to boot. And, in a picture posted by the @tnsports Twitter account, he was all smiles.
Little moments like these are a nice reminder that coaches can actually be human, instead of cliche-spouting robots.
Back in State College, Pa. though, Franklin may have a bit of trouble brewing.
Penn State sophomore wideout Richy Anderson, sophomore quarterback Austin Whipple, junior lineman Anthony Alosi and sophomore wideout Jonathan Warner are all no longer with the team, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.
The first of those two will transfer, the other two will remain Penn State students.
More than anything, losing that many players at once is another hit to the Nittany Lions’ depth, which was already depleted by the 2012 NCAA sanctions which limited the school’s scholarships and caused a few of the team’s more talented players to transfer.
The 2015 Penn State class is limited to 80 scholarship players, while the current roster has 75 scholarship players. Anderson and Whipple were scholarship players, which will give the team more flexibility when offering scholarships to prospects.
However, two scholarship players already on your roster are usually better than two prospective players.
Franklin will be looking to build on a season in which the Nittany Lions went 7-5 (4-4 Big Ten) under now-Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. That was considered an impressive outing for the once-proud program, when put into the context of the debilitating sanctions they received in the Jerry Sandusky fallout.
Before Penn State, Franklin went 24-15 (11-13 SEC) in three years at Vanderbilt. That team was also considered an underdog squad, playing in a league with gridiron titans which included Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida.
This weekend, Franklin got a chance to see his old school’s baseball team while visiting Omaha, Nebraska.
But next week, he’ll have to be back training, back coaching and back laying the groundwork for the school’s next season - and their next recruiting crop.
It must be good to have a break like this.
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