With reports out that Penn State coach Bill O’Brien could be offered the job as the Houston Texans head coach as early as today, speculation has moved on to the next man in charge of the Nittany Lions program. At the top of the list, according to one report, is Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.
Citing “knowledgeable sources within the program,” the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania says Franklin tops the list of potential candidates. David Jones also adds that “athletic director Dave Joyner has direct knowledge of Franklin through family members and third parties who are very impressed with him.”
Other factors working in Franklin’s favor according to Jones:
- He’s a college football coach, not a former NFL guy who wants to return to the professional ranks.
- He’s a motivator who can recruit.
- He’s got an offensive background that “would meld nicely in the tutelage of soph-to-be PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg.”
Jones also notes that Penn State needs to act quickly should the University of Texas target Franklin because the Longhorns “certainly could outbid PSU with its deep pockets and unlimited athletic budget.”
The 8-4 Vanderbilt Commodores play Houston Saturday in the BBVAA Compass Bowl in Birmingham. When asked about rumors regarding his status on Monday, Franklin simply stated, ““I love the Vandy fans. I love the Vandy nation. I love everything we’re doing,”