Penn State’s Franklin Takes It To The House

More than eight month after landing in Happy Valley, the Nittany Lion coach has his own abode. But is it home yet?

James Franklin was named head coach at Penn State in early January. More than eight months later, he is finally living in his own house, having moved into a place Tuesday.

However, he is reluctant to call it a home just yet.

“It's been good, but there's still boxes everywhere,” Franklin said after practice Wednesday. “I wouldn't say we're moved in yet. There's still construction going on. So it's nice to kind of walk into your own door, but I wouldn't say it is anything you would be comfortable with. There's no couch to sit down on, yet.”

Franklin, who came to Penn State from Vanderbilt, spent more than six months living out of his office in Lasch Building while his wife Fumi and their two young daughters finished the school year in Nashville.

Fumi and the girls moved to State College shortly before PSU's preseason camp began in August, and the Franklins had been living with the family of one of the Nittany Lion assistant coaches while work was being done on the house they purchased.

Franklin admitted, “I wouldn't say we're settled, but we just moved in, so that's been helpful.”

Also easing the transition has been the fact that much of his staff from Vanderbilt -- including support personnel -- are now in Happy Valley.

“I know our kids love it here, the schools have been great,” Franklin said. “We've got a really close staff, and … the fact that 15 of us came together -- it's not just the coaches that get the support. Our wives support one another, our kids are all friends. I think that was very helpful.”

So how long until the house feels like home?

“I would say give us another month or two,” Franklin said.

SHAPING UP

A third of the way through the 2014 season, and sporting a 4-0 record, how are the Nittany Lions holding up from a conditioning standpoint?

“I think we're in really good position,” Franklin said. “We've modified it. We always tried to say that we're gonna get our running in during practice, but then we'd typically condition after practice, as well.

“We're not doing that,” he added. “I really want to get that conditioning during practice, be out here on the field and maximize -- rather than using the time for conditioning, use it for running plays, and do it with a really good tempo and get it done that way.

“The only way we'll run is at the end of practice, basically putting pressure on the punters, kickers -- things like that that we'll do. I think we're in pretty good shape.”

Franklin said the changes were made for several reasons, including the lack of heat in the Northeast and the fact that NCAA sanctions have sapped PSU of depth.

“But I would say more than that, to be honest with you, it's just four years of experience and kind of looking back at some things that I thought we needed to at least evaluate and make some adjustments, possibly,” he said.

BYE SCHEDULE

Penn State has a bye week following Saturday's game with Northwestern. And in a rare moment of looking ahead, Franklin admitted the staff has a schedule sketched out for the bye.

But he was not ready to share it Wednesday.

“I haven't gone over that with the players yet,” he said. “I want them to understand the schedule first before I put it out with the media. … I'll go over that Sunday with the players. … But I don't want them to read what the schedule is.”

STYLE POINTS

A week ago, Franklin said redshirt freshman WR DaeSean Hamilton had an “interesting sense of style.” Asked to elaborate Wednesday, Franklin said, “Have you seen his hair? He's kind of got a box, but (it is) kind of sticking out all over the place on (top of) his head.”

The coach added, “He's kind of his own man, which I appreciate about him.”

MEASURING UP

During his playing days at East Stroudsburg, Franklin was a starting quarterback. Wednesday, he was asked if, as a former QB himself, he could evaluate the job current Lion QB Christian Hackenberg does with his cadence at the line of scrimmage.

“I would never put James Franklin as a quarterback and Christian Hackenberg as a quarterback in the same sentence,” Franklin said, and nobody was rude enough to point out that he had just done that very thing.

“I didn't do anything as well as he does,” Franklin added with a smile.


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