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Fridays With Obviously: Pre-Signing Day

How about some OC hire reflections and DC search thoughts?

Penn State v Michigan State Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

On Friday, James Franklin met with the media to discuss some offseason matters. This included his new hire at offensive coordinator, the search for a defensive coordinator and more. As always, you can read the full transcript HERE or follow along below for one blogger’s interpretations of Franklin’s answers.

Defensive Coordinator Search

Franklin said that Anthony Poindexter and analyst Rob Smith will be co-defensive coordinators for the bowl game in much the same way that Penn State has been handling its offense for the past month. Franklin cut off a question that was aimed at asking a timetable for when he’d like to have his coordinator spot filled - saying “yesterday”. He then noted that he was searching for a coordinator that fit in terms of culture - and also in terms of the type of players that Penn State has recruited to his defense. He said this didn’t necessarily rule out a 3-4 defensive coach, but that there was “a lot of gymnastics” in making that kind of change.

Finishing What Was Started

Asked about opt outs for the bowl, Franklin went to the old story about Saquon Barkley and how his snaps were limited in the Fiesta Bowl, but he still played. Overall, James didn’t want to focus too much on who would or wouldn’t play, but did say that it’s become more and more of a challenge trying to handle those players and their decisions.

On the New OC

There were a couple of questions aimed at how Franklin is getting to know new offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki. The short answer is that Franklin hasn’t spent much time in the office with him yet because of recruiting visits. Franklin did note that he and Kotelnicki have spent some time looking at terminology and tweaks that could be made. Most of all, Franklin continued to heap praise on the coordinator and his former boss, Lance Leipold.

A Few Words on the Old DC

Manny Diaz is off to Duke and James Franklin noted that one interesting thing with bringing in a new coordinator would be that normally the idea is to come in and improve a unit. However, that’s not the case as the new DC will be tasked with keeping things going. Franklin noted how Diaz did a great job of bringing a defense that was simple in many ways and allowed his players to be hyper aggressive and attack.

Pause for this Commercial Break

Franklin was asked a question about the charitable nature of the Peach Bowl. He said stuff about how this was good. Go read it word for word if you’re interested.

Fixing Some Issues

Asked how his schedule had been, Franklin noted that he might not look the freshest. He then went into an aside about the current nature of college football in December with portal recruiting, the early signing day, bowl preparation and the coaching carousel. Franklin called on college football stakeholders to get together in a room with some chicken sandwiches - brought to you by the Peach Bowl sponsor - and figure out all of these issues.

No Drama, No Promises

National Signing Day is this week and Franklin said his program has been fortunate to not have a lot of drama over the years. He began talking some about recruiting and also the portal and how that roster building has meant competition at Penn State that has bettered the program. Without getting into specifics, he mentioned how his program doesn’t make promises about starting spots and how that can impact them negatively. But, he did mention the amount of depth that his program plays and how that is bolstered by depth through recruiting and the portal.

Mum on Wide Receiver

Asked specifically about what Penn State is looking for in terms of wide receiver in the portal, Franklin evaded the question and went on to talk about why certain players make announcements they’re staying or going. Going back to the previous question, he even made reference to a player that he thought would start for Penn State, but that he wouldn’t guarantee a starting job to who was lost. Franklin did say he had a good idea of who would be back, not back, and coming in for Penn State. I guess we just stay tuned.

Staff Questions

Franklin praised Poindexter and Rob Smith, giving a bit more about the latter’s background. He then spent some time talking about the things that he values in a staff and the loyalty he has to Penn State. Boilerplate stuff to close out the day.

Obviously Count: 7 - but only 5 by James