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Vanderbilt Football: Getting to Know James Franklin

Two days ago ESPN's Page 2 published a questionnaire of the SEC coaches from their recent visit to ESPN's "Car Wash." You should read it. It's fantastic, as Spencer Hall noted over at EDSBS:

The topics vary wildly, but the implications are clear. Spurrier's answers show that he's feeling optimistic about South Carolina. We know this because Lucifer Spurrier answers this question about the best dressed coach in the league.

Spurrier: (We didn't say "conference.") Well, it used to be [Jim] Tressel. (Laughs.)



I thought I'd take a moment to reflect upon Coach Franklin's answers to the various questions. I'm going to approach this as if I hadn't already bought in to what he's selling...

Which SEC stadium has the most hostile environment?

James Franklin, Vanderbilt: With this being my first year at Vanderbilt, I'll have to answer that question at the end of the season. I'll have a better perspective. I've coached in the ACC, in the Big 12, in the Pac-10, I've coached in the NFL. But this will be my first experience in the SEC, so I'll be able to answer that after this year.

Easy enough answer off the bat. Diplomatic. Exactly what you would expect from a new head coach. Not much to glean from this one.

KingJamesIV Affinity Level (KJIV AL): Unchanged


What's the strangest thing anyone's ever said to you in a postgame handshake?

Franklin: I'll be intrigued to see what they're like. After a tough loss or a tough win, what do you really say? The most important thing is to show respect. Whether you won real big, they don't want to hear anything from you. If you lost, you don't want to hear anything from them. The most important thing is to keep it brief and move on.

Another diplomatic answer.

KJIV AL: Unchanged


What's your biggest superstition?

Franklin: I am not a real superstitious guy. My dad was a military guy, so I'm more of an S.O.P. guy, a standard operating procedure ... I'm more that than I am kind of a routine from a superstitious standpoint.

Military kid. Didn't know this about Coach Franklin (or maybe I should say I didn't remember this about him?). Makes a lot of sense. No wonder he's so relentless.

KJIV AL: Mildly Patriotic


Which cliché is most overused by coaches?

Franklin: "Take it one game at a time." But if people ask me what we're going to do this year, we're going to take it one game at a time. We're focused on Elon. I really believe in that philosophy, but it's overused.

A bit of dry humor. Not quite Bobby Johnson dry, mind you...

KJIV AL: Ironic smile


What was your first coaching job and how much did it pay?

Franklin: My first job was at Kutztown in Pennsylvania, where a really good player named John Mobley came from, played in the NFL for 10 years. I made $1,200. I filled soda machines up in the morning on campus. I was the receivers coach. I lived in some man's basement that smelled like mothballs. And in the offseason on Sundays, I bartended.

Jack of all trades. Willing to do what it took. Gotta respect that. Lived in some man's basement that smelled like mothballs? (BloggyWo????)



Who was your favorite athlete growing up?

Franklin: Probably Dr. J. I kind of grew up in a great time for sports. We're probably all biased about the times that we grew up. But watching Dr. J and Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. [Marvin] Hagler, [Michael] Spinks and [Thomas] Hearns. I remember sitting in my living room with my dad ... great boxing, great baseball with Mike Schmidt when I was growing up in Philadelphia. Those times. I'm a hometown guy. I'm not a guy where you grow up in Philadelphia and your basketball team is the Lakers, and your football team is the Patriots. I don't really understand that. To me, you support your hometown team.

Guy's loyal. Really hoping he's successful at VU and then sticks around when the traditional powers come calling...

KJIV AL: Optimistic


Obviously, you all travel a lot. Do you have a must-stop restaurant that you have to hit if you're nearby?

Franklin: In Nashville, I would say BrickTop's. But I grew up just outside of Philadelphia, so I'm a cheesesteak guy. A lot of people talk about Geno's and Pat's and Jim's, but when you grow up there, everybody has their corner shop, or their little hometown spot. (Page 2: Is there one you'll endorse?) Not really. I don't know if I'm comfortable doing that. If I name one without the other one, people at home are going to be upset with me.

Philly guy, so he'll be numb to any booing he receives at opposing team stadiums (and from opposing fans that may or may not find safe harbor at Dudley Field this season). Also, cheesesteak guy (+5). Love me some cheesesteaks. Bricktops guy (+10). They say the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

KJIV AL: Meat Brothers


Who's the best-dressed coach in the conference? (best question in the field, based purely on Spurrier's answer)

Franklin: It's got to be James Franklin. It's got to be. (Laughs.) In the black and gold, I mean it's great colors, a great combination. I dare not say another SEC coach. I try not to spend much time talking about the other SEC coaches and other programs. We hear enough about them. It's time to start talking about Vanderbilt.

Third person reference could have backfired on him here but it worked for me. Loves black and gold (+10). Dare not say another coach (+20).

KJIV AL: Bobbing my head to Nick Wells cover.


What's one of your favorite songs, or name your favorite musician.

Franklin: I'm not really a favorites guy in general. If I had to say an artist that I like, probably Jay-Z. I kind of grew up in the Biggie time, as well [referring to Notorious B.I.G.].