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Posted at 6:47 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Source: Franklin a finalist for Vanderbilt head coaching job

By Eric Prisbell

James Franklin, Maryland’s offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting, has emerged as one of two finalists for the head coaching job at Vanderbilt, a source familiar with the details of the search said Wednesday.

Stanford offensive coordinator Greg Roman is believed to be the other finalist.

If he remains at Maryland, Franklin is owed $1 million if he is not named head coach by January 2012.

On Nov. 18, Kevin Anderson, Maryland's first-year athletic director, announced that Coach Ralph Friedgen would return for an 11th season in 2011, the final year of his contract. But Friedgen has repeatedly said that he wants to coach beyond 2011. He said he has told high school prospects that he plans to coach for the majority of their college careers. And he said in a recent radio interview that not having an extension does not help recruiting.

When he announced that Friedgen would return, Anderson said he planned to discuss the future of the program with Friedgen after the season.

Franklin has been Maryland’s offensive coordinator and play-caller the past three seasons. But his greatest strength has been as Maryland’s most valued recruiter.

Franklin was also a significant reason why quarterback Danny O’Brien, the ACC’s rookie of the year, chose to play at Maryland. O’Brien has said he liked Franklin’s commitment to preparation and the high expectations Franklin set for his quarterbacks.

Vanderbilt Coach Robbie Caldwell resigned following a 2-10 season in his only year as head coach.

More details as they come …

By Eric Prisbell  | December 8, 2010; 6:47 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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i hope franklin gets the job....that way we can get rid of the fat one at no cost..franklin at no cost..and go after a super hc/oc and top notch recruiter...

need new faces

Posted by: carolina1 | December 8, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

top notch recruiters don't grow on trees...i actually like franklin and hope he stays

Posted by: merajc86 | December 8, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

can't wait for all the haters to eat their words when Fridge finally is gone. I guess you all forgot the 10 years before Fridge. If I were Fridge I would retire this year so that everyone can see what this program would be without him. Remember 10 years without a bowl? Yeah, I do.

Posted by: tony28 | December 8, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

AD Kevin Anderson should not underestimate UMD without a successful recruiter like future Head coach Franklin, sorry to current Head coach Friedgen but it's time not to extend his contract.We all should be thankful to Head coach Friedgen for the excellent job he has accomplished and move on to the future.Better recruits with a solid head coaching situation no more ? Better players, more wins, bigger fan base and upper tier bowls/bcs - orange bowl.

Posted by: cshort1018 | December 8, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I recall someone else mentioning this, but I actually think Franklin might have what it takes as a head coach (more so than a coordinator). Met him at an event over the summer and was very impressed.

Posted by: island1 | December 8, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

RE: island1

lol...that is James Franklin. He's a great talker, great BS artist.

Too bad his playcalling is awful. Yeah, he can put some points against morgan st and wake, but against real teams like navy, clemson, miami, fla state he was outcoached on every level, especially the red zone.

Posted by: | December 8, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I like James Franklin also, but recruiting ain't everything. If that were the case, New Mexico football would be cruising.

You still got to know Xs and Os, and from that standpoint, the Fat Man still has the drop on many, many people. (Hey, you try getting to the Super Bowl with Stan Humphries.)

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | December 9, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I hope Franklin gets the job too Carolina1 but for different reasons,so I will make a list of them with a start of A: Why would anyone give a rats ass about someone named Carolina1 and his/her posts? Seriously I really think that of all the things Maryland needs advice from carolina is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down that list. Ok that's out of the way,almost,forget the rudeness of the "fat one" comments not to mention the childlike immaturity for one know exactly what it was like at UMD prior to the Fridge coming here just like tony28,all of the bandwagon haters need to wake up and smell the damn coffee,prior to Ralph we had nothing for a really long time, so I will be damn happy when they resign Ralph to an extension and yes Franklin getting the Vandy job will help no more "locked up in Debbie Yow-ville of contract hell", helps all those involved ---we don't blow a million or worse can Ralph to save a million. Face it Franklin may be the best recruiter of all time but he couldn't call a High School game in my opinion,his strength may be recruiting but his weakness is everything else,look at his history of playcalling,one word TERRIBLE,if Ralph hadn't been hamstrung by Yow's ridiculous "promise contract" to Franklin,his play calling duties would have long ago been pulled. So Terp fans let's all hope that Vandy just loves Mr.Franklin,takes him off of our hands, so we can end this political football and go back to playing REAL football,Franklin gets his HC spot,Ralph gets to be diplomatic,tell us how the program mourns the loss of such a great coach,motivator,play-caller (yuk yuk) and recruiter to vandy but the program shall move on and be stronger, Ralph takes back over the O coordinator role,and we bring in some fresh blood for recruiting and as an offensive coordinator,one that can sit down with Ralph and innovate,something this man has done quite well for 20 plus years,to quote another somewhat,it takes more than a slab of ham to take an NFL team to the playoffs with Stan Humphries,and it takes a hell of a lot to get GATECH a National Championship and it took even more to get MD an ACC Championship and into the range Bowl,I can't wait,so all you Terp fans cross your fingers,the stars are aligned and soon with some luck it will be Terps Football time yet again. Carolina1 FEAR THE TURTLE!

Posted by: mfowler1 | December 9, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Vandy is a death trap job, Franklin's not going anywhere.

If you win there, then you move on to some higher grade football factory as soon as possible and cash in...that's their history. If you lose, then you are out of a job in a short time, and have to rebuild your credentials that got you there in the first place.

He's going to do nothing, and collect the money.

Posted by: outrbnksm | December 9, 2010 5:37 AM | Report abuse

The Terps improvement this season is largely due to Franklin's return and his skill in recruiting. The players that he's brought in over the past few years are paying dividends. How about sending the Fridge to Nashville and giving Franklin the head coaching job here? College football is 90% recruiting and the Fridge probably couldn't recruit his own son.

Posted by: randysbailin | December 9, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I tend to agree that Franklin is our best recruiter, and the Vandy job isn't all that attractive. You can't do anything in college football, if you can't recruit. And the Terps' recruiting has been woeful since Locksley left.

The whole recent upswing in the Maryland program seems to be largely due to Franklin's recruiting efforts. True, I don't always agree with his play calling, but it's not terrible either.

You have to have the horses to get the job done against good teams, or they will just knock you on your back. Franklin has made great strides in getting those horses to Maryland. He has a keen eye for talent. I bet if Franklin had been here then, I believe kids like Slayton and Schmitt would have played in College Park.

I hope he stays. In any case, he seems to have put himself in a no lose situation, at least for the next couple of years.

Posted by: steven09 | December 9, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see Franklin stay for this next season when O'Brien will be (presumably) the unquestioned starter from day 1 and has this past season's experience under his best, and hopefully T. Smith will return for his senior year. I think based on next year's success (or lack thereof (hopefully not)), we will be in a much better position to assess whether Franklin should in fact be our next coach.

Posted by: gkaufman6 | December 9, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I remember the years before Fridge. Maryland seemed to finish 5-6 every year under Vanderlinden when I was there. Fridge coached those players up and got to some great bowl games.

But what have they done even since Fridge's recruits became the starters on the team? What have they done lately? I am not convinced that Franklin is a great recruiter. If he is, then the coaching and play calling stinks and they aren't using their players to their maximum abilities.

I hope Franklin leaves. And if he does, does he have to pay Maryland $1 million? And as much as I loved Fridge and tried to stick by him, I'm ready for him to retire.

I wouldn't go to Maryland's bowl game even though it's right here in DC. I don't even think they deserve one. They beat nobodies to supposedly turn the program around. Navy gift-wrapped that first game for them.

Posted by: JasonM1 | December 9, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse


Franklin not a great recruiter. The 2011 recruiting class on rivals stands at 40th.

Posted by: SirPelleas | December 9, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: mfowler1 | December 9, 2010 1:15 AM

Hey mfowler -

Just wanted to inform you that carolina1 is a serious terp fan, alum, has talked about his contributions and his time at MD during the 1970s. The name is a misnomer...perhaps not as big as a misnomer as MY name, but sometimes newbies on these boards go on the attack assuming he is a Tar Heel. No he has not been a fan of RF/JF at times, and some KADs on this board have attacked him for his views, but he is a Terp and well-informed about the goings on in Terp BB and FB.

Remember, this is a guy who saw the Jerry Clairborne teams up close and personal. THAT IS A high standard to set your sights by.

We all remember the lean years of the late 80s and 90s. No one wants to see a return to that, however we disagree and bicker on this board about HOW to get to the BCS (w or w/o RF/JF) constantly, usually with a sprinkling of personal attacks, hypocrisy, and fair degree of humor which keeps most of us tuning back in. None of us lost sight of last season's inexplicable collapse; the consensus on this board was clearly 8 wins would be a successful season, 9 wins a tremendous one prior to the start and even before the Miami game.

I want RF to play out his contract. WHEN he delivers the season that we expect next year, I expect him to get rewarded for it.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | December 9, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Echoing SirPellas' comment. I'm not sure where the Franklin recruiting mystique comes from. The Terps haven't had Top 25 recruiting classes since just after the Orange Bowl in 2001 - which proves that at a school like UMD the best recruiting tool is wins.

Posted by: caphillterp | December 9, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

HughG has it right again. Got to give Carolina props as a real Maryland fan and welcome his comments.

I didn't vote in the poll because Anderson (and we) don't need to decide this now, unless Franklin is your choice. I want next season to play out. Let's give it AT LEAST 7-8 games and see where we are. If Franklin leaves fine because at this point, and probably never, would he be my choice as the "next" head coach. Friedgen deserves the right to earn an extension.

Posted by: petecard | December 9, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@SirPelleas: true story, MD #40 for 2011. However, compared to "awesome super recruiter Mike Locksley", HC at UNM:

2010: MD #36. UNM unranked
2009: MD #26. UNM unranked
2008: MD #38. UNM unranked

More stuff:
2008: TCU NR, Michigan #10
2009: TCU #46, went 12-1; Michigan #8, went 5-7
2010: TCU #46, went 12-0; Michigan #20, went 7-5

Recruiting is important, no doubt about it. But both Rich Rodriguez and Gary Patterson are proof that you have to do something with it.

Do I like Kool-Aid? A little. It's sweet and it makes me happy. Do I wish Coach Friedgen put us in the BCS every year? Of course I do.

Would I rather have a guy who sticks around and serves as an example to his players over a "Bobby Fischer" type who fakes heart palpitations and quits his job twice within a year? What do you think?

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | December 9, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

randysbailin, Fridge doesn't have a son. He has daughters (that went to UMD).
Otherwise, I agree mostly with steven09.

Posted by: bentoenail | December 9, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I think you weigh a recruiter based on the specific recruits he brought in (DOB for JF is an A+++) moreso than where the class was ranked by a stoned Yahoo journalist who needs to make a list. And you can't judge the recruits until they actually PLAY.

So if someone could do a brief rundown of the recruits JF has brought in that have played, that would probably enlighten this discussion tremendously.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | December 9, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@hgr: you got that right. "Gerrick McPhearson."

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | December 9, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Either way, 2011 will be a defining season for the Fridge...coming off a 9 win season (with the bowl victory) and most of the personnel pieces falling into place, it is hard to imagine a great FB coach (if indeed he is one) not ripping off a +8 win season next year....If he is able to do it, with or without JF, then I may come to like him again.....If he slips back to 5 or 6 wins, I will pound him without mercy as the definition of mediocrity....

Lets face it, if you dont squeeze +8 wins out next year, then his supporters have to come to grips with the fact that its probably never going to happen for him again

Posted by: TerpfanMA | December 9, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Tepfan once again nails it. And in the process displays an attribute that should be hailed on this site, not mocked and ridiculed: The ability and willingness to change one's mind. In the search for excellence and the desire to rise above and stay above mediocrity there is little room for blind faith.

Posted by: petecard | December 9, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you guys on the recruiting. A top 5 class on Rivals doesn't necessarily equate to 12-0 seasons or a BCS Championship. Also, I agree that raiting players is a double-edged sword. Some 5-star players never develop or turn out to be duds, while some 3-star players become great players and have a surprising impact.

DOB was a great recruit for sure. I guess my argument here is that it would be nice if they could get a couple of highly rated recruits to augment players like DOB - ones who will live up to their potential and can grow with DOB.

One thing is for sure. Florida has recruited some of the best classes in recent years. And, they've one 2 national championships under Urban Meyer (who stepped aside yesterday). So, I can't fully dismiss someone's list on Rivals. It's a crapshoot, but there is a point to be made by recruiting good classes.

Posted by: SirPelleas | December 9, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@SirPelleas: agreed, agreed, agreed.
@petecard: also agreed.

I do love the Fridge and Gary as our coaches, but the truth is every person in every sport reaches the point where the relationship is not mutually beneficial. You just pray you win the lottery and that both sides agree on when that is and how to get out of it gracefully.

Graceful: Lou Gehrig, Bear Bryant, Lloyd Carr
Not Graceful: Holmes, Ali, Favre, Eddie Sutton, Michael Jordan, etc.

Thankfully, the ugliest it's ever been around here was when Debbie Yow told Mark Duffner to beat it. Even Vanderlinden's sacking was softened by Hail to the Fridge.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | December 9, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I dont see the huge Talent that Franklin has recruited... OK, the QB that is having an OK year but not a great one?? Recruiting one "top notch" player does nto make you a great recruiter. Dont be surpised when E. Carolina wins this bowl game..... MD is a highly overrated 8-4 team... Playing the morgan states and the other school of the blind that was on their schedule, really is what puished them over. I will give you the NC State game but they almost found a way to lose that one.... you got worked by Navy but somehow figured a way to steal that one.... this team was closer to being .500 or below again. This team is never on TV, they can't get the top kids in their own backyard and they can't attract any other kids accross the country either. Lastly, you can't sell out your home games... this program is slowly dying and needs life pumped back into it.... I dont think Franklin is the man for the job.. let him leave.

Posted by: rvanags | December 9, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

To continue my point, and hopefully not beat a dead horse, you can certainly judge players based upon their performance in high school.

Florida recruited QB Chris Leak (4 stars on rivals). He won a national champtionship. Tebow was a freshman at this time.

Tebow was a 5 star recruit and we all know what he did. Love him or hate him, he was one of the best college football players ever.

Cameron Newton - another 5 star recruit who went to Florida, but ended up at Auburn. Guess what, he's going to probably win them a national champtionship.

So I can't fully agree that you can't judge a player till they've played in college. Like I said, some live up to their potential; others do not.

Sorry, but JF's recruits do not compare to Urban Meyer's classes, or even Ron Zook when he was at Florida. Urban won his first BCSNC with Zook's players.

Posted by: SirPelleas | December 9, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Mfowler1..yea may say carolina 1 but mfowler1 did you take that handle from lee fowler the retired ad from nc state???What a joke...fat man is gone matk the post turtle turd in waiting..fatman recruits were not his tubs of lard cannot recruit..

Posted by: carolina1 | December 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Ok, after 500 or so votes on the above poll, Friedgen had 49% of the vote and Franklin 25%, now with more than 700 votes placed, Franklin has somehow jumped to 33% and Friedgen down to 42%. Am I the only one who finds this suspicious? Franklin's people seem to be flooding this poll with pro-Franklin votes. Someone else pointed out that it was suspicious the last time they polled this question, with Franklin's numbers shocking a number of people on here.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 9, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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