Posted on July 3, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When something isn’t broken, you don’t try to fix it. At the same time, if something is working well, you should do whatever you need to in order to make sure it doesn’t become broken. If you believe what a potential recruit said recently, it sounds like Penn State doesn’t want the football team to become broken.
After guiding the team to back-to-back 7-6 seasons, James Franklin started last season on the hot seat. Getting off to a 2-2 start wasn’t encouraging, but then the team rattled off nine wins in a row including victories over Ohio State and Wisconsin (in the Big Ten Championship).
They ended up losing a very exciting Rose Bowl to USC, 49-52, but the regular season did the trick. The hot seat was no longer hot. It wasn’t even lukewarm. If anything, it was room temperature (perfect for sitting)—and the University would like to make ‘the seat’ even more inviting for Franklin.
Even though he is just going into the Year No. 4 of the six-year contract he signed in 2014, the University wants to extend him.
Back in May, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour told The Morning Call:
“Stay tuned, it’s moving along,” Barbour said prior to the first Penn State Coaches Caravan stop. “There’s no pressure or hurry from either Penn State or from Coach Franklin, so I think it’s happening as it’s happening.”
So—we know it’s coming. But as far as the University and Franklin have let on, it hasn’t happened yet. However, a recruit may have let the cat out of the bag. Solomon Enis, son of former Penn State running back Curtis Enis, shared the news with the media at the Nike Opening Finals:
“Coach Franklin, Coach (Josh) Gattis and Coach (Joe) Moorhead, I mean, they’re just great guys and even better coaches, and they’re going to put you in a position you can thrive in, and they just treat you like my family,” Enis said, via PennLive. “They [Franklin, Josh Gattis, and Joe Moorhead] tell you straight up. They’re blunt with everything, and you can trust them. Franklin signed a new five-year deal, so he’s going to be there a minute while I’m there.”
Barbour has said that keeping Franklin at Penn State is a priority, but when pressed about whether an extension has been signed he said, ”We will announce these details when appropriate.”
Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t.
If they haven’t, they may want to soon. Assuming Penn State is good this season, Franklin’s stock is going to be high—and not just among college teams. His ability to turn around the Vanderbilt program got his name mentioned in NFL circles a few years ago. His success at Penn State should make him look even more enticing.
His star quarterback (Trace McSorley) and running back (Saquon Barkley) probably going pro after this coming season. It would be the perfect time for him to move on. His buyout is just $2 million; a sum that is not going to stop an NFL team from hiring him.
So—if Penn State wants to keep him, they may want to sign him to a nice extension. Oh–and they better raise his buyout price tag, too. Otherwise, it would not be shocking to see the Nittany Lions have a new leader on the sideline next season.