Recently in Football Category

Nittany Lion Coaching Staff Off and Running

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Photo Gallery - Assistant Coach Announcement

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin and his staff hit the ground running from the time each member arrived in Happy Valley.  With less than two weeks remaining before signing day on Feb. 5, the coaching staff has been nonstop in its quest to lock up the 2014 recruiting class.

Franklin announced his first Penn State staff on Friday morning at Beaver Stadium.  Each member of the group is thrilled to be in Happy Valley and looking forward to the future of Penn State Football.  Counting Coach Franklin, four members of the coaching staff are originally from Pennsylvania.  Additionally, eight out of the 10 coaches are from hometowns within 340 miles of State College (4 from Pa., 1 from N.J., 1 from Md., 1 from Conn., 1 from N.Y.).

"I'm really, really excited about the staff that we've been able to put together," Franklin said.  "For me, what I was looking for is really familiarity; guys that I've worked with or known for a very, very long time, guys that I trust, guys that I know how they're going to interact with the players and these young men that we're working with.  How these guys are going to be in the community, and also have a connection with Penn State from a lot of different perspectives."

"We will not have one guy on this staff that I don't feel is going to be an excellent recruiter, and that is really what we're looking for," Franklin said.

Meet the 2014 Penn State Football coaching staff.

John Donovan - Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends
9635770.jpeg"Offensively, we're personnel-oriented, pro-style offense.  So we basically, we're pro terminology.  The guys learn the system that's used at the next level.  It has answers.  We don't run dead plays.  There are reasons to run in certain spots.  If there is somebody coming free on a pass protection, we're either throwing the ball, breaking a route or the back's got to pick them up, the line's got to pick them up," Donovan said.

Donovan served as the offensive coordinator/running backs coach during three of the most productive offensive seasons in Vanderbilt history. While coaching under Franklin from 2011-13, his backfield recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in school history when Zac Stacy rushed for 1,193 yards in 2011 and 1,141 yards in 2012. Stacy earned second team All-SEC and was a fifth round selection of the St. Louis Rams in 2012. After averaging 379.7 yards of total offense per game in 2012, the Commodores averaged 366.5 yards a contest in 2013, marking the first time since 1987-88 they put together back-to-back years of more than 360 yards of total offense per game. Donovan's offensive units own three of the top four total yardage marks in school history, gaining at least 4,400 yards of total offense in each season, including a school record 4,936 yards in 2012. He led an offensive unit that averaged 30.0 points per game in 2012, marking the first time in school history they averaged 30 or more points per game, and followed that up with a school record 30.1 points per game in 2013. Donovan and Franklin spent time coaching with one another at Maryland, where Franklin was the offensive coordinator and Donovan coached the running backs for the Terps from 2008-10. He also spent time on staff at Georgia Tech (1998-2000) and Villanova (1997). Donovan earned his bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins, where he excelled as a defensive back for the Blue Jays, grabbing 12 career interceptions. He also owns a master's degree in economics from Georgia Tech.

Hometown: River Edge, N.J.
Alma Mater: Johns Hopkins
Degrees: Bachelor's, Johns Hopkins, 1997; Master's, economics, Georgia Tech
Family: wife, Stacey; son, John Patrick, and daughters, Cate and Shea

Coaching Career
2011-13 - Vanderbilt (offensive coordinator/running backs)
2008-10 - Maryland (running backs)
2006-07 - Maryland (quarterbacks)
2005 - Maryland (running backs)
2001-04 - Maryland (assistant recruiting coordinator)
1998-2000 - Georgia Tech (offensive graduate assistant)
1997 - Villanova (assistant secondary)

Josh Gattis - Offensive Recruiting Coordinator/Wide Receivers
9635740.jpeg "When Coach Franklin extended this opportunity, it was a no-brainer. Obviously I've got the most tremendous respect for Coach Franklin. As Coach Huff mentioned earlier, he's been a true father figure for a lot of us. He's been a father figure for me. He's the guy I look up to as a coach and role model, so we have a very, very personal relationship that I really value a lot. There wouldn't be another opportunity in the country that could take me from this place and I'm really excited to be here at Penn State, I'm excited to be with Coach Franklin, and I look forward to the future that we're able to build here," said Gattis.

Gattis has made an immediate impact in coaching after earning All-ACC honors as a safety at Wake Forest and spending two seasons playing with the NFL's Chicago Bears. From Durham, N.C., he is entering his fifth season in the coaching ranks and third year working with Franklin. Gattis has coached a pair of All-America wideouts, helping Western Michigan's Jordan White earn the honor in 2011 when he led the NCAA with 127 receptions for 1,646 yards in 2012. White's totals set new Western Michigan and Mid-American Conference records, while also helping him set the conference's career receiving yardage record. After spending the 2011 season with the Broncos, Gattis joined Franklin's staff at Vanderbilt in 2012 and tutored Jordan Matthews to back-to-back All-America honors in 2012 and 2013. Matthews ended his career as the SEC's career leader in receptions (257) and receiving yards (3,616), while also owning the SEC single-season record with 107 catches.  Matthews is also the only player in league history to ever record two seasons of at least 90 catches and the only player to catch over 100 passes. Gattis also spent one season at North Carolina (2010) as a graduate assistant on their offensive coaching staff.

Hometown: Durham, N.C.
Alma Mater: Wake Forest
Education: Bachelor's, sociology, Wake Forest, 2006

Coaching Experience
2012-13 - Vanderbilt (offensive recruiting coordinator/wide receivers)
2011 - Western Michigan (wide receivers)
2010 - North Carolina (0ffensive graduate assistant)

Herb Hand - Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line
9635734.jpeg "There was a huge amount of excitement because it's Penn State. Most of the places that I've worked at, I've had to do more with less, and that's not a knock on anywhere, but this is a more with more place. This place is about having the opportunity to do more with more and that's exciting you know. Now what we want to do is we want to approach it with the same regard, because when you have to do more with 'less', you have to attack things in a different way. Now we want to attack it in the same way, with more, so there's an excitement level with that," Hand said.

Hand's coaching career spans 23 years and includes stops at seven different colleges/universities. He spent the last four seasons coaching with Franklin at Vanderbilt, serving as the offensive line coach during each of those four seasons, adding run game coordinator to his duties in 2013. Last season, Hand's offensive line blocked for 34 rushing scores, including a school-record 14 by running back Jerron Seymour. Wesley Johnson earned All-SEC honors in 2012 and 2013, while Thomas Lynch was picked by New England in the 2010 NFL Draft and Ryan Seymour, who made 35 starts during his Commodore career, was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2013 NFL Draft. During his three years at Tulsa, serving as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and line coach, Hand helped guide Tulsa to consecutive GMAC Bowl appearances behind one of the NCAA's most explosive spread offenses. He also spent time at West Virginia (2001-06), Clemson (1999-2000), Concord College (1997-98), Glenville State College (1994-96) and West Virginia Wesleyan (1991-93). Hand earned his bachelor's degree from Hamilton College; where he played on the offensive line for the Continentals, and went on to earn his master's degree from West Virginia Wesleyan.

Hometown: Westmoreland, N.Y.
Alma Mater: Hamilton College
Education: Bachelor's, History, Hamilton College, 1990; Master's, Business Administration, West Virginia Wesleyan, 1993
Family: wife, Debbie, sons, Trey and Cade, daughter, Bailey

Coaching Experience
2013 - Vanderbilt (offensive line/run game coordinator)
2010-12 - Vanderbilt (offensive line)
2009 - Tulsa (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/offensive line)
2007-08 - Tulsa (co-offensive coordinator/offensive line)
2001-06 - West Virginia (tight ends/recruiting coordinator)
1999-2000 - Clemson (offensive graduate assistant)
1997-98 - Concord College (defensive coordinator/special teams)
1994-96 - Glenville State College (defensive coordinator)
1991-93 - West Virginia Wesleyan (defensive graduate assistant)

Charles Huff - Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs
9635762.jpeg"Our special teams here at Penn State will have two distinct characteristics.  One is a nekton mentality.  I'm not sure how many science teachers are in the building.  But a nekton is a living organism that can flow freely through water not affected by the current, and it's always attacking.  The most reasonable example will be a great white shark.  A great white shark will eat and eat and eat until it dies, and it won't say I'm full.  That's how we'll be on special teams.  We'll attack, and attack, and attack.

"The second characteristic will be a pre-Fontaine pace.  Steve Prefontaine was a 1970s long-distance runner who died a little before his time.  But he coined the term of 'suicide pace.'  So from the time the gun went off, he was sprinting.  From the time we come off the mat, we'll be flying around.  Any person that steps on the mat that is a special teams player here at Penn State will be flying around from the time, if we make a mistake, we're going to make it a hundred miles an hour," said Huff.

Huff was a versatile player during his time at Hampton, playing multiple positions on offense, and that has helped him in his eight-year coaching career that has spanned the collegiate and professional ranks. He spent one season at Western Michigan (2013) as the running backs coach and helped the unit nearly double their rushing yards in just one season. The Broncos ran for 1,394 yards last season after running for just 735 yards in 2012. He spent the 2012 season with the Buffalo Bills where he helped C.J. Spiller to his first career 1,000-yard rushing campaign. The Bills topped 2,000 rushing yards as a team for the first time in 13 seasons and ranked sixth in the NFL with 2,217 yards. He spent the 2011 season on Franklin's staff at Vanderbilt as the offensive quality control coach and worked with him at Maryland in 2009. He also worked at Hampton (2010) as the offensive line/running game coordinator, worked as the tight ends/special team's coach at Tennessee State (2007-08), working with NFL first round draft pick Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He also coached at TSU in 2006 as an offensive line coach.

Hometown: Denton, Md.
Alma Mater: Hampton
Education: Bachelors, physical education, Hampton, 2005

Coaching Experience
2013 - Western Michigan (running backs)
2012 - Buffalo Bills (assistant running backs coach)
2011 - Vanderbilt (offensive quality control)
2010 - Hampton  (offensive line, running game coordinator)
2009 - Maryland (assistant offensive line)
2007-08 - Tennessee State (tight ends/special teams coach)
2006 - Tennessee State (center and offensive guards)

Brent Pry - Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
9635727.jpeg "We are going to be fundamental based. I'm a big believer in training linebackers that will not only reach their potential, but they will be applicable to any scheme. I don't want guys that are geared towards 4-3, 3-4, 50 front; I want guys that can be plugged in anywhere. I like guys that play great defense with great foot speed and great motors. When I think about Penn State linebackers these are the type of linebackers I trained over my years. They are fundamentally sound, technically sound and it starts there, from the ground up. It's our goal to develop guys to get them to their full potential. To be able to fit them in a role in our group and our unit that allows them to be successful," Pry said.

A native of Altoona, Pa., Pry's coaching career has spanned 21 years and seven different programs. He has helped each program to new heights, including nine appearances in bowl games with FBS programs. White on Franklin's staff at Vanderbilt, Pry tutored the linebackers, while serving as the co-defensive coordinator, and moved into the assistant head-coaching role in 2013. His linebackers led the team in tackles-for-loss during each of his three seasons in Nashville and he helped Chris Marve earn All-SEC accolades in 2011. While at Georgia Southern in 2010, his defensive unit helped the Eagles to a win over No. 1 Appalachian State and an appearance in the 2010 NCAA FCA Semifinals. From 2007-09, Pry's defensive line corps featured some of the best in Conference USA and helped the Tigers to back-to-back bowl appearances. He also spent time at Louisiana-Lafayette (2002-06), helping the Ragin' Cajuns to their first Sun Belt Conference championship, Western Carolina (1998-01), Virginia Tech (1995-98), helping the Hokies to four straight bowl games and a win in the 1995 Sugar Bowl, and at East Stroudsburg (1993-94). A second-generation college football coach, Pry's father, Jim, coached at the collegiate level for over 30 years.

Hometown: Altoona, Pa.
Alma Mater: Buffalo
Education: Bachelor's, history, Buffalo, 1993
Family: wife, Amy; son, Colby, daughters, Madeline and Catherine

Coaching Career
2013 - Vanderbilt (assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator/linebackers)
2011-12 - Vanderbilt (co-defensive coordinator/linebackers)
2010 - Georgia Southern (defensive coordinator and safeties)
2007-09 - Memphis (defensive line)
2004-06 - Louisiana-Lafayette (assistant head coach, defensive coordinators and linebackers)
2002-03 - Louisiana-Lafayette (defensive coordinator and linebackers)
2000-01 - Western Carolina (defensive backs and special teams)
1998-99 - Western Carolina (defensive line)
1995-98 - Virginia Tech (graduate assistant, defensive line)
1993-94 - East Stroudsburg University (outside linebackers and defensive backs)

Ricky Rahne - Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks
9635732.jpeg "I think my players would say I work hard and be over the top prepared. I think they would say I coach with a lot of passion. I'm going to be the first one to jump on their back and high five them after they do something great but I'm going to be the first one to jump down their throats at practice when they do something wrong. I coach with a lot of heart and I believe this game is played with passion and you're only successful if you're really passionate. The other thing I think they'd say about me is that I'm going to try treat them like family," said Rahne.   

Rahne made an impression on Franklin during his time as a graduate assistant and running backs coach at Kansas State. He joined Franklin's staff at Vanderbilt in 2011 and coaches the quarterbacks during his three seasons in Nashville. His passing attacks helped wide receivers set SEC records and running backs post a pair of 1,000-yard seasons. In 2012, Jordan Rogers threw for the fourth highest yardage total in Vanderbilt history and logged the eighth most yards of total offense. A season later, Austyn Carta-Samuels moved into the top-10 in single season Vanderbilt history with 2,383 yards of total offense, even with missing three games. He also spent five seasons at Kansas State, serving as the offensive graduate assistant (2006), running backs (2007-08) and tight ends (2009-10) coach. He helped the Wildcats to the 2006 Texas Bowl and the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl. Former pupil tight end Jeron Masturd has spent the past three seasons in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He also spent time on the coaching staff at Cornell (2005) and Holy Cross (2004). A three time team MVP during his time as the signal caller at Cornell, Rahne left the school with a bachelor's degree in 2002 and ended his stay in Ithaca, N.Y., as the all-time leader in nearly every passing category.

Hometown: Morrison, Colo.
Alma Mater: Cornell
Education: Bachelors, industrial and labor relations, Cornell, 2002
Family: wife, Jennifer; two sons, Ryder and Jake

Coaching Career
2011-13 - Vanderbilt (quarterbacks)
2009-10 - Kansas State (tight ends)
2007-08 - Kansas State (running backs)
2006 - Kansas State (offensive graduate assistant)
2005 - Cornell (running backs)
2004 - Holy Cross (assistant defensive line)

Bob Shoop - Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
9635772.jpeg"Our identity is we're an in-your-face style of defense that's going to be fun to watch and even more fun for our players to play, I promise you that.  It is based on two premises, relentless pursuit and never‑ending pressure," said Shoop.

Shoop brings more than 25 seasons of collegiate coaching experience back to his home state at one of the most storied programs in college football. Shoop spent his last three seasons on Franklin's staff at Vanderbilt as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach, helping the Commodores finish among the top-25 in total defense each season. His 2012 squad held opponents to just 18.7 points per game, which is the lowest by a VU squad since 1997. Cornerback Casey Heyward, who nabbed seven interceptions in 2011 and is tied for the career record with 15 interceptions, earned All-America and All-SEC honors as a senior. He is now a standout cornerback for the Green Bay Packers after being drafted in the second round by the team in 2012. Shoop also had coaching stints at Massachusetts (2006), Columbia (2003-05), Boston College (1999-2002), Army (1998), Villanova (1997), Yale (1989, 19994-96), Northeastern (1991-93) and Virginia (1990). He played his college football at Yale, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1988 after earning honorable mention All-Ivy League in 1987 as a receiver. A native of Oakmont, Pa., Shoop is a member of the Allegheny-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

Hometown: Oakmont, Pa.
Alma Mater: Yale
Education: Bachelor of Arts, economics, Yale, 1988

Family: wife, Maura; two sons, Tyler and Jay

Coaching Career
2011-13 - Vanderbilt (defensive coordinator/safeties)
2007-10 - William & Mary (defensive coordinator, secondary)
2006 - University of Massachusetts (defensive backs)
2003-05 - Columbia (head coach)
1999-2002 - Boston College (defensive secondary)
1998 - Army (defensive secondary)
1997 - Villanova (defensive coordinator)
1994-96 - Yale (defensive coordinator)
1991-93 - Northeastern (defensive backs)
1990 - Virginia (graduate assistant)
1989 - Yale (graduate assistant)

Terry Smith - Defensive Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Backs
9635716.jpeg "When I walked into the Lasch building I almost forgot how nice it is here. It's just a great place and I've had a lot of fond memories here and hopefully look to create lot of new memories in the future.

"This is a staff that has been together for three years and I have to come in and fit into that staff. I can give them the Penn State perspective and obviously Coach Franklin is going to put the exclamation point on and have us do it his way. I think it's a great fit for the University," Smith said.

A standout wide receiver at Penn State from 1988-91, Smith returns to Happy Valley after successful coaching stops in high school and college, coupled with five seasons of professional football experience.  Still among the career receptions and receiving yards leaders at Penn State, Smith spent the 2013 campaign at Temple and helped the Owls passing game reach new heights. The Owls set a school record for passing yards (2,996) and tied the school standard with 23 receiving touchdowns in 2013. Robby Anderson's 791 receiving yards in 2013 rank him fifth for a single season, which includes a school record 249 yards vs. SMU on Oct. 26.  Smith's receiving corps posted four 100-yard receiving games, marking the first time since 2010 the Owls had a 100-yard receiver in a game. A standout high school player at Gateway (Pa.) High School, Smith also coached his alma mater from 2002-12, compiling a record of 101-30 and posting four WPIAL AAAA runner-up finishes. He was elected to the Gateway Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, after helping the Gators to the 1985 and 1986 WPIAL AAAA Championships. He also coached at Duquesne University (1997-2000) and Hempfield (Pa.) High School (1996) after completing his playing career, which spanned the National Football League, American Football League and Canadian Football League. Smith earned his bachelor's from Penn State in 1991 and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 11th round of the 1992 NFL Draft.

Hometown: Monroeville, Pa.
College: Penn State
Education: Bachelor's, business management, Penn State, 1991
Family: wife, Alison; son, Justin King, daughter, Haley

Coaching Experience
2013 - Temple (wide receivers)
2003-12 - Gateway High School (head coach and athletic director)
2002 - Gateway High School (head coach)
2001 - Gateway High School (offensive coordinator)
1997-2000 - Duquesne (passing coordinator)
1996 - Hempfield High School (assistant)

Sean Spencer - Defensive Line
9635712.jpeg "We get after it. We talk about competition, so when we talk about it, we have to instill it in practices, you have to put competitive situations together. You can't just say be competitive. We will call the kids out and make them go one-on-one in practice. We try and get the guys fired up," Spencer said.

Spencer has spent time coaching on both sides of the ball during his 18 seasons as a collegiate assistant coach, but he has been exclusively building defenses since 2001. In three years on Franklin's staff at Vanderbilt, his defensive lines helped the Commodores finish 18th in total defense during the 2011 season, 19th in 2012 and 23rd in 2013. The Commodores increased their sack totals in 2011 and 2012, collecting 28 and 31, respectively, while ending the 2013 season with 27 quarterback takedowns. Prior to arriving in Nashville, he spent two seasons at Bowling Green, where he helped Chris Jones earn All-Mid-American Conference honors and helped the Falcons to the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl, despite not returning a single starter on the defensive line. He coached two stints at Massachusetts, coaching the defensive line in 2007-08 and in 2001-03, also coordinating the special teams during his final stint with the Minutemen.  Spencer also had coaching stints at Hofstra (2006), Villanova (2005), College of Holy Cross (2004), Trinity College (1998-2000) and Shippensburg (1996-97). A three-year starter at safety at Clarion University, Spencer earned his bachelor's degree in political science.

Hometown: Hartford, Conn.
Alma Mater: Clarion
Education: Bachelor's, political science, Clarion, 1995

Family: daughter, Alysia, 7

Coaching Career
2011-13 - Vanderbilt (defensive line)
2009-10 - Bowling Green (defensive line)
2007-08 - University of Massachusetts (defensive line, special teams coordinator)
2006 - Hofstra (defensive line)
2005 - Villanova (linebackers)
2004 - College of Holy Cross (defensive line)
2001-03 - University of Massachusetts (defensive line)
1998-2000 - Trinity College (running backs, passing game coordinator, defensive line)
1996-97 - Shippensburg University (running backs)

Dwight Galt - Director of Performance Enhancement
9635737.jpeg "We are going to be extremely aggressive all year round in strength and power training. Our speed program, our agility program, our condition, our flexibility, ply metrics, our footwork drills, our position specific drills, that's what we do. That's the one thing that we take pride in. We convert the strength in the weight room to what you need in Beaver Stadium.  Our whole objective is performance in Beaver Stadium. Not in the weight room or on the practice field, but in Beaver Stadium and that's what the program is designed for. So it is extremely aggressive, dynamic and it's greedy. Anything that's going to help make them great, we're going to tackle it full force," Galt said.

In 25 years at the college level, Galt has helped produce numerous NFL prospects and currently has nearly 40 former athletes active in the National Football League. He worked with Franklin at Maryland, where he spent 22 years, before joining him at Vanderbilt in 2011. A slew of Galt-trained athletes have amazed NFL scouts, such as tight end Vernon Davis and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Davis and Heyward- Bey rank among the Top 10 all-time performers at the combine: Davis posting the fastest 40-yard dash ever by a tight end (4.36) and Heyward-Bey running the fastest 40 (4.30) by a wide out in more than a decade. Galt worked with the ACC championship football teams in 1984 and 1985, and also was the conditioning coach for the Terps' men's basketball program that featured phenom Len Bias.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Head Coach James Franklin Quote Board

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State fans have asked about head coach James Franklin's thoughts and viewpoints on a number of topics pertaining to his coaching style, the football program, recruiting, the uniforms and more.  Below is a collection of quotes from Coach Franklin on several topics.

9624970.jpegCoaching Style
"I am a passionate, emotional, football psycho.  I wake up every single morning thinking about football.  I go to bed thinking about football.  I just really, really enjoy the game.  And that's how we coach.  We go out and have fun.  We fly around.  If guys do something good, I'm going to scream and yell.  If guys do something bad, I'm going to scream and yell.  That's just my personality."

What he Looks for in a Quarterback
"You want a great decision-maker.  You want a guy who is going to be able to manage the game.  You want a guy that's going to be able to make really good plays and get you out of bad plays.  You want a big, strong guy that can deliver the ball and spread the field.  But also, you want a guy that can pull it down when things go wrong and get you six yards.  You don't have to go 80, but if you can turn a negative-eight yard play into a plus-six yard play that makes huge strides for an offense."

What he Looks for on Defense
"We're going to be aggressive and attack in everything that we do.  We're going to play an aggressive style and try to come after the quarterback.  I think it's very, very important to be aggressive and get after the signal-caller."

Penn State Uniforms
"I love them.  They are simple.  They are classic.  They are sharp.  They put the focus on what the focus should be, the institution and the team."

Recruiting Message
"I talk about the whole package.  You can get a world-class education and play football at the very highest level.  You will have the opportunity to live in a great town that is passionate towards the team.  This is an unrivaled fan base in the country.  To me, that is special.  When you walk around this campus, the thing that just jumps out at me is the pride that people have in Penn State.

On Pennsylvania, Regional and National Recruiting
"We are going to dominate the state. That is the first thing that we're going to do. I believe in the high school coaches in this state. I know how well [players are] coached and developed. I know how talented this state is as well. I know how important football is here. I think that's very, very important. So that is the first thing we're going to do. We're going to work very, very hard and put a staff together that will help us dominate the state of Pennsylvania.

"Then obviously being able to recruit aggressively in this region as well. New Jersey, obviously Pennsylvania, New York, New England, Virginia, Delaware has been very good to Penn State traditionally. I think also we were going to take a national approach by position. We will do that as well. So everybody will have recruiting areas, everybody will be in the state. Every one of our staff members will have an area in the state. We'll also have areas in the region and the states that surround Pennsylvania.

"We'll recruit nationally as well, because I think you sell yourself short when you don't do that. We could have a Penn State alumni in California whose son always grew up wanting to go to Penn State. So having the ability to recruit nationally so that we're aware of where all the great players are in this country, I think that's important. But our team will be comprised and mainly made up of Pennsylvania young men."

Message to the Fans
"I couldn't be more proud to be the head football coach at Penn State.  We are going to work so hard to put a product on the field that everybody can take such pride in.  And not only that, but pride in how we interact in the classroom, how we interact on campus and how we interact in the community.  We are going to work very, very hard to put something on the field and in this community that everyone can take great pride in."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: One-on-One with James Franklin - Jan. 16

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Prior to hitting the road for recruiting, Penn State head coach James Franklin sat down with for a second one-on-one interview this week.

It has been a whirlwind first five days for Franklin on the job.  Take a look at a conversation with the new leader of Penn State football on his coaching style, what he looks for in a coaching staff, recruiting message and more.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Franklin, Nittany Lions Ready to Work

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

VIDEO: Player Interviews - Jan. 15 | VIDEO: One-on-One with James Franklin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It looked and sounded like the first day of school as Nittany Lion players began filing into the locker room at Lasch Building around 6:20 p.m. on Sunday night in advance of the team's first squad meeting with new head coach James Franklin at 7 p.m.

9612733.jpegGuys were chatting, giving one another a hard time and genuinely happy to see each other.  The team walked across the hall from the locker room to the squad room shortly before 6:50 p.m., sat down in the amphitheater-style seats by position and awaited the arrival of its new head coach.

When Franklin walked in and stood at the top of the room, the players stopped talking.  Franklin spoke up and joked that while the group waited for a couple more people they could still talk.  The players chuckled and went back to conversing and shaking hands with guys they hadn't seen in three weeks during winter break.

"Everybody was really excited," cornerback Jordan Lucas said.  "When we met up in the locker room before the meeting, it was like a family reunion."

Following a brief introduction from Director of Athletics Dave Joyner, Coach Franklin walked down the stairs to the front of the room before his team at 6:56 p.m.  The players clapped and provided a warm reception before giving the new had coach their undivided attention.

Franklin's opening message was simple.  He told the group that he wants the team to be a close-knit family that is going to do everything in its power to outwork everyone.

"We're going to work extremely hard," Franklin said.  "You know, there is not going to be a program or a coach in the country that's going to outwork us."

 When the Nittany Lion players heard that statement, they were ready to get into the weight room and start working.

"He came in and had a lot of energy when we first spoke with him," Lucas said.  "He let us know his vision.  We're all excited and ready to start winter workouts."

"I love it.  He brings a lot of intensity to the program, picking up right where we left off," quarterback Christian Hackenberg said.  "I think he is the perfect guy for the job.  We're really excited to start getting him in here more once recruiting is over and start focusing on some ball."

Franklin had each player on the team stand and introduce himself so that he could put a face to a name and begin the process of creating a tight bond between everyone in the program.

"I just think he is a big relationship guy," tight end Adam Breneman said.  "He's very personable.  He's very charismatic.  I think he's going to be great in recruiting, and I think he's going to build great relationships with all of us."

Regardless of a player's position on the depth chart, he is going to have a role in Coach Franklin's program.  He made that clear in the team meeting.  He needs everyone to contribute to make the Nittany Lions a strong, cohesive unit.

"I really liked how he assigned everyone a role, whether you are a fourth-team guy or a starter," linebacker Mike Hull said.  "We need everyone to pull together in order to win."

A passionate coach in every sense of the word, Franklin set the tone for his tenure at Penn State during his introductory press conference last Saturday.  Determined to be the make Penn State the most successful program it can be, Franklin won't accept anything less than hard work and a positive attitude.

"I'm just going to coach and love these kids in this program and help them develop into the young men that they want to be," Franklin said.  "That's our focus.  Focus on the things we can control, work hard every day to develop the best student athletes we can, develop the best football program we possibly can, and be a positive part of this community."

"We knew he was a coach of determination," defensive end C.J. Olaniyan said.  "We know he is going to try and get the best out of us."

The next step for the Nittany Lion players is the start of the winter conditioning program.  The new strength and conditioning staff is expected to be in place soon, and the Lions are eager to commence preparations for 2014.

"I'm chomping at the bit right now," said Hackenberg.  "We have a lot of guys coming back.  We have a lot of young talent that played last year.  We're going to get after it in the weight room."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Nittany Lion Players Eager to Get Started

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Several Nittany Lion players met with the media on Wednesday afternoon inside the Lasch Building weight room.  Offering their first impressions of new head coach James Franklin after meeting him on Sunday at the first squad meeting, the team is excited to begin winter conditioning in preparation for the 2014 season. talked with a host of Nittany Lions, including quarterback Christian Hackenberg, linebacker Mike Hull, safety Adrian Amos, tight end Adam Breneman, defensive end C.J. Olaniyan and cornerback Jordan Lucas.  Take a look.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: James Franklin's First 48 Hours at Penn State

| 5 Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It has been a whirlwind first 48 hours for new head coach James Franklin in Happy Valley.

From the moment he landed at University Park Airport on Saturday to his first Monday in the Lasch Building, followed the new leader of Penn State Football.  Take an inside look at Franklin's first 48 hours at Penn State.


1:35 p.m. - Touch Down in State College
Franklin, his wife Fumi and his daughters, Shola and Addison, landed at the University Park at 1:33 p.m. to begin his journey as head coach.  Before hopping in a vehicle, Franklin walked to a fence lined with Penn State fans to say hello and thank the supporters for standing in the rain to see his arrival.

1:40 p.m. - Rode to the Bryce Jordan Center
After the family's first drive past Beaver Stadium, Franklin entered the Bryce Jordan Center for press conference preparation inside the 101 office suite of the BJC.

3:49 p.m. - Arrived at Beaver Stadium
The Franklin family drove in through Gate E at Beaver Stadium for their first look inside the 107,000-seat home of the Nittany Lions.  Franklin's first steps in the stadium included a walk from the locker room door to the field, just as he will each home Saturday in the fall.  He and the family then posed for photos on the field outside the South Tunnel.  His first impression of the stadium?

"First-class in every way.  It is one of the more impressive stadiums to walk into.  I'm excited to take recruits in here," Franklin said.

4:10 p.m. - Locker Room Photos
The Franklin family posed for photos inside the locker room just before walking into the media room for his formal introduction.

4:20 p.m. - Coach's First Remarks at Press Conference
Following an introduction from President Rodney Erickson and Director of Athletics Dave Joyner, Franklin made his opening remarks to a packed media room.

"I'm excited to come home," Franklin said. "That is probably the thing that I take the most pride in is coming home.  I'm a Pennsylvania boy with a Penn State heart, and so excited to be here."

4:26 p.m. - Closing Remarks Before Q&A
Franklin closed his opening statement with excitement before members of the media began asking questions in the room.

"Can't tell you how excited we are to be here," Franklin said.  "My name is James Franklin, the next head football coach at Penn State University, and I couldn't be more proud to represent everybody here. Thank you."

5:08 p.m. - End of Press Conference
As the introductory press conference ended, Franklin posed for photos in front of the media room before heading back to the locker room for a one-on-one interview with "Penn State Football - The Next Chapter" TV show and

5:23 p.m. - Official Headshot is Taken
Franklin sat down with Penn State Athletics photographer Mark Selders for his official head shot inside the locker room.

5:35 p.m. - Beaver Stadium Field for Photos
Franklin and his two daughters walked out the South Tunnel in Beaver Stadium for media photographs just as dusk set in on his first day in Happy Valley.

6:12 p.m. - Arrived at Lasch Building for First Time
Franklin got his first look at the Lasch Football Building on Saturday evening.  He toured the facility and met a number of the Penn State Football support staff members.

6:15 p.m. - BTN Interview at Lasch Building
Inside the Lasch Building's studio, Franklin interviewed with the Big Ten Network for the first time.

6:20 p.m. - Met with Early Enrollees
Following the interview, Franklin met with Penn State's five early enrollee student-athletes and their families inside the Lasch squad room.

7:10 p.m. - ESPN SportsCenter Call
From his second-floor office phone, Franklin called into SportsCenter for a live interview.


12:45 a.m. - Finished Work Day
After getting to work on recruiting, Franklin ended his first day as head coach of the Nittany Lions at 12:45 a.m.  With 438 congratulatory text messages on his phone, Franklin worked to respond to a number of individuals before he went to bed at 1 a.m.

4 a.m. - Started Day Two
As he said he would during his introductory press conference, Franklin was up early and ready to get back to work.  He was back in to work at 5 a.m. to begin day two as leader of the program.

12:15 p.m. - Introduced at Women's Volleyball Banquet
A busy day of public appearances began at the 2013 NCAA champion women's volleyball team's banquet at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.  Franklin met a number of fans and members of the team before taking a seat at the banquet next to Sue and Jay Paterno.  After a brief introduction from women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose, Franklin addressed the crowd.

"Five national championships in seven years, I clearly understand the expectations around here," Franklin joked.

1:30 p.m. - Met Christian Hackenberg at Nittany Lion Inn
From the Penn Stater, Franklin crossed the University Park campus for a meeting with Nittany Lion quarterback Christian Hackenberg at the Nittany Lion Inn.

1:30 p.m. - Met Fans Inside Rec Hall
From the Hackenberg meeting, Franklin made his way inside Rec Hall to meet with a number of Penn State fans and head coach Cael Sanderson prior to the Nittany Lion wrestling team's Big Ten dual against Purdue.

2 p.m. - Mat Side with Family for Wrestling Match
Franklin and his family sat mat-side during the first five bouts of the Nittany Lions' 34-3 victory over the Boilermakers.

2:58 p.m. - Introduced at Wrestling Match
The Franklin family was introduced to a standing ovation inside a sold out Rec Hall before Shola and Addison led a We Are...Penn State chant.

3 p.m. - Radio Interview at Wrestling
Franklin did a brief interview with Penn State wrestling radio announcer Jeff Byers before heading across campus.

3:47 p.m. - Introduced at the Bryce Jordan Center During Women's Basketball
Following a brief exchange with Lady Lion head coach Coquese Washington at halftime of Penn State's matchup against Purdue, Franklin was introduced before the Bryce Jordan Center crowd.

3:52 p.m. - Radio Interview at Women's Basketball
Franklin conducted a brief live radio interview with Lady Lion basketball play-by-play announcer Jerry Fisher, along with an on-camera interview with before heading back to work at the Lasch Building.

6:56 p.m. - Introduced by Dave Joyner at First Team Meeting
Dr. Joyner introduced Franklin to the Nittany Lion players at his first Penn State squad meeting.  Franklin walked from the top step in the squad meeting to the front of the room as the players gave him a rousing ovation.  Each student-athlete stood up and introduced himself during the 30-minute meeting before Franklin answered any questions the players had.


4:53 a.m. - Arrived at Lasch to Begin Work Day
Franklin pulled into the front parking lot of the Lasch Building and walked to his desk on the second floor to begin his first Monday as head coach of the Nittany Lions before 5 a.m.  Franklin had administrative meetings on his agenda for Monday morning before making final preparations for the next few weeks of recruiting in advance of signing day on Feb. 5.


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: James Franklin Visits Penn State Sports Events

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin made the rounds on Sunday, visiting three Penn State sporting events during his second day in Happy Valley.

Franklin's first stop was the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center where he offered congratulations to head coach Russ Rose and the Nittany Lion women's volleyball team on winning the 2013 NCAA championship at their team banquet.  Franklin and his family then sat mat-side in Rec Hall at the three-time defending champion Penn State wrestling team's match against Purdue.  He finished off the day at the Bryce Jordan Center for an introduction at the Lady Lion basketball game against Purdue.

Take a look.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: One-on-One with Head Coach James Franklin

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football head coach James Franklin was officially introduced on Saturday afternoon shortly after 4:15 p.m. in the Beaver Stadium.

"I can't tell you how proud I am to be your football coach and to represent everybody in the great state of Pennsylvania, and to be a part of Penn State University," Franklin said.

Following his formal introductory press conference, Coach Franklin sat down with for a one-on-one interview.  The new leader of Penn State football discussed a wide range of topics, including a message to the fans, his initial impressions of Beaver Stadium and coming back home to Pennsylvania.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Penn State Football's New Leader - The James Franklin File

| 5 Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - James Franklin became the 16th leader of Penn State Football in its storied 127 seasons on the gridiron following an official announcement on Saturday morning.

Franklin brings 18 years of coaching experience to the Nittany Lion football program.  Let's take a closer look at Franklin's path to Happy Valley.

9596483.jpeg1991-'94 - East Stroudsburg (Player)
Franklin was a four-year letterwinner at quarterback for East Stroudsburg.  He earned All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) honors twice.  As a senior, Franklin was named team MVP and was a nominee for the NCAA Division II Player of the Year - Harlon Hill Trophy.  Franklin set seven school records as a senior, including total offense (3,128), passing yards (2,586) and touchdown passes (19).

1995 - Assistant Coach - Wide Receivers - Kutztown
Franklin helped lead the Kutztown Golden Bears to a 6-4 record and a third-place finish in the PSAC.  He coached Darrien Peoples, who is fifth all-time at Kutztown in receptions and Justin Borlemay, who is fifth in school history in touchdown catches.

1996 - Graduate Assistant Coach - Secondary - East Stroudsburg
Returning to his alma mater, Franklin assisted his collegiate head coach, Denny Douds.  Franklin helped the Warriors to a 6-4 record.

1997 - Assistant Coach - Wide Receivers - James Madison
Working under head coach Alex Wood, Franklin worked with the wide receivers during his year at James Madison.  Receiver Earnest Payton, who was a junior at the time, went on to finish as the school's leader in receptions (185).

1998 - Graduate Assistant Coach - Tight Ends - Washington State
Under the direction of head coach Mike Price, Franklin worked with the tight ends as a graduate assistant coach at Washington State.

1999 - Assistant Coach - Wide Receivers - Idaho State
Franklin worked as the receivers coach under head coach Larry Lewis, helping the Bengals rank ninth nationally in total offense.

2000-'04 - Assistant Coach - Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator - Maryland
Hired by Ron Vanderlinden prior to the 2000 season, Franklin also worked under Ralph Friedgen when he was named head coach in November.  Franklin helped the Terps earn three-straight postseason berths from 2001-'03, including an appearance in the 2002 FedEx Orange Bowl.  Maryland posted at least 10 victories in each of the three seasons.  In 2003, Franklin was promoted to recruiting coordinator.  He was named a Top 25 recruiter by in 2003 and 2004.

2005 - Assistant Coach - Wide Receivers - Green Bay Packers
Assisting head coach Mike Sherman, Franklin worked with a receiving corps led by Donald Driver, Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson.  With legendary quarterback Brett Favre directing the offense, the Packer receivers ranked third in receptions (383) and posted the seventh-most receiving yards (3,766) in the NFL in 2005.  Driver tallied then-career highs of 86 receptions for 1,221 yards.  At the time, Driver was just the fourth player with 85 receptions in a season.

9596485.jpeg2006-'07 - Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks - Kansas State
In his first season as offensive coordinator, Franklin helped the Wildcats to a 7-6 record, including a 45-42 victory over No. 4 Texas.  Kansas State earned its first bowl berth in three seasons in 2006.  In 2007, Franklin guided a K-State offense that featured a 3,000-yard passer, 1,500-yard receiver and 1,000-yard rusher for the first time in team history.  Franklin helped guide quarterback Josh Freeman to numerous school records.  Freeman threw for 3,353 yards, including 122 completions to All-American receiver Jordy Nelson.  Freeman was selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft (17th pick overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

2008-'10 - Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks - Maryland
Ralph Friedgen hired Franklin to be assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in December of 2007.  In his first year as offensive coordinator, Franklin helped lead the Terps past four ranked teams en route to a bowl victory in the 2008 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.  Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bay was selected by the Oakland Raiders as the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.  The Terrapins went 9-4 in 2010, finishing second in the ACC's Atlantic Division.  During that season, quarterback Danny O'Brien earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors under Franklin's guidance.  Wide receiver Torrey Smith earned first-team All-ACC honors with 67 receptions for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010.  Additionally, named Franklin a Top 25 recruiter for the fourth time in his career. 

2011-'13 - Head Coach - Vanderbilt
In three seasons, Franklin guided Vanderbilt football to unprecedented heights.  An exceptional motivator and tireless worker, Franklin led the Commodores to three-straight bowl games for the first time in school history.  With a 24-15 overall record, only College Football Hall of Fame head coach Dan McGuin (1904-'06) had as many wins over a three-year period at Vanderbilt.  Franklin inherited a team that had gone 2-10 in two-straight seasons and directed them to an appearance in the Liberty Bowl.  A Bear Bryant Coach of the Year finalist, Franklin led the Commodores to nine wins in 2012, their most since 1915, which also included a win in the Music City Bowl.  The 2012 team finished in the Top 25 in both the USA Today/Coaches Poll (20th) and Associated Press Poll (23rd).  In 2013, Vanderbilt knocked off Florida, Georgia and Tennessee in the same season for the first time ever en route to a nine-win season, marking the first back-to-back nine-win seasons at Vanderbilt in nine decades.  Vandy finished 2013 ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, marking the first time in the program's 124-year history that it had Top 25 finishes in consecutive seasons.  In his last 20 games at Vanderbilt, Franklin was 16-4, mark that is only surpassed in the SEC by Alabama (17-3).  The Commodores knocked off Houston, 41-24, in the BBVA Compass Bowl.  Wide receiver Jordan Mathews became a two-time All-American and first-team All-SEC honoree, having compiled 262 receptions for 3,759 yards and 24 touchdowns.  Mathews broke the SEC season record with 112 receptions for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, becoming the first SEC receiver to make 100 catches in a season.

Born on Feb. 2, 1972 (41), Franklin's hometown is Langhorne, Pa.  Franklin attended Neshaminy High School near Philadelphia.  He and his wife, Fumi, have two daughters, Ava (7) and Addison (6).

Alma Mater
East Stroudsburg University (B.S., Psychology, 1995)

Graduate Degree
Washington State University (M.A., Educational Leadership, 1999)

Leading Penn State
The 16th leader of Penn State football inherits a Nittany Lion squad coming off a 7-5 season.  The Nittany Lions return a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball.  The Lions return 15 starters for the 2014 season (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist).  Penn State's offseason officially begins Monday when spring classes begin with a new leader directing the program.  In 231 days, a new chapter of Penn State football will begin at Croke Park Stadium when the Nittany Lions collide with 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Larry Johnson Leading Program Forward During Transition Phase

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

Larry Johnson Media Transcript - Jan. 3 | VIDEO: Larry Johnson Addresses Media

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Longtime Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson is embracing the opportunity to lead the football program through its transition phase until the next head coach is named.

9581406.jpegJohnson, who has worked in Happy Valley for 19 years (15 as defensive line coach), has one mission during the current period of time as interim head coach - keep things moving forward.

The current players on the roster return to campus on Jan. 13 for the start of the spring semester.  Johnson said they are looking forward to being back on campus to kick off preparations for 2014.

"They are excited to get going again and to get in the weight room and start moving forward to the 2014 season," Johnson said.

Offseason conditioning in the weight room began in December before final exams.  It will continue when the players return to campus.  National Signing Day for 2014 is Feb. 5.  Communication with the current players and prospects are the two areas Johnson is focused on in the immediate future.

"It is really about communication right now and really communicating to our players and our future players and just continuing to move the ship...We are going business as usual.  We are not going to slow down," Johnson said.

Regardless of the situation, Johnson said the message remains the same.

"We always tell kids in recruiting, you like to come for the coach, but you want to come for the place," Johnson said.  "You want to come to Penn State University to get a great degree.  I think that is still there.  Kids are going to come and continue to come because Penn State University.  It's a great place.  It's a great institution and you get a chance to play football at the highest level.  Those things are still there."

While the veteran coach is working long hours to man everything that needs to be moving forward and going to great lengths to talk with current and prospective student-athletes, Johnson is excited about what is ahead for Penn State Football.

"I think this is a great time for Penn State Football to begin another chapter, and I'm looking forward to being a part of that in any way that I can.  I am very blessed and very fortunate to have the opportunity to do this for the University, a place that I love and care a lot about, and I care a lot about our players."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony