When James Franklin arrived to Penn State from Vanderbilt in early 2014, he introduced together 8 of his 9 assistant coaches and a management philosophy for letting his coaches coach and his coordinators coordinate.
He concentrated on all the other stuff.
“James is the leader of our program, so he’s going to insert himself in every position, to be rather truthful with you,” Ricky Rahne advised me in February 2014. “Early on at Vanderbilt he did that. Right after he was self-assured that every thing was being taught the way he required, he stood again.”
Rahne coached the quarterbacks at Vandy from 2011-13, as he did at Penn Point out in 2014-15, then once more in 2018-19. The latter two many years Rahne was also the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator.
“There are a good deal of tasks as a head mentor,” claimed Rahne, who is now a head mentor himself at Aged Dominion. “It’s not the way it utilised to be. The media, the alumni, the board of trustees – all all those kinds of items preserve him fast paced. He has a great deal of items on his plate.
“So which is why he hires fellas who he trusts who are likely to do items the way he thinks requirements to be carried out,” Rahne included. “If he has time, he’ll pop his head in there (quarterbacks assembly space) each individual after in awhile and drop some awareness on us. I appreciate acquiring that since he’s been a incredibly prosperous coach. That is how he received to this level. Nearly anything I can get from him will help us be improved.”
At Penn Condition, Franklin has a solid record of turning around his offense and defense to his coordinators, the two working day-to-working day and in-sport. Two prior PSU O-coordinators have informed me that Franklin mainly permit the play-calling to them, but CJF would make ideas, ala “let’s run the ball a little bit more here” or “let’s a try a deep shot.”
Penn State’s offense ran ideal when it was strongly controlled by Joe Moorhead, who experienced a extremely crucial role in guiding the Nittany Lions to a 22-5 mark in 2016-17. (Possessing Saquon, Trace, Gesicki, Godwin, et al didn’t hurt.) The offense was plainly his. Very same for protection. 1st, underneath Bob Shoop, in 2014-15, And then for the past 6 several years beneath Brent Pry.
Now, adhering to in the footsteps of Shoop and Pry, it is Manny Diaz’s convert.
(Compact plot twist: Ironically, Shoop and Diaz are close. Shoop left his previous boss, Franklin, and Penn Condition on considerably less-than-fantastic phrases and, when it arrived time to pay out PSU a buyout a year later, Shoop balked. Penn Condition sued. Shoop countersued. The two functions settled out of court docket, but my perception is that Shoop compensated little if any of the nearly $1 million that Penn State was searching for.)
Franklin is known as CEO mentor. Which is not news. It is getting treatment of the major picture and harping on the smallest of objects. James is perfectionist and a nit-picker, usually with fantastic outcomes. He’s recognized for seemingly working 24/7, to which I can attest. Two summers in the past, at 11:56 p.m. on a Thursday, I bought a text from Franklin – it was intended for a senior staffer and mistakenly despatched my way the textual content was about me and not meant for me. TMOT: I have read from a number of staffers that these types of a late-night time MSG is SOP for CJF.
Eight decades, five offensive coordinators, 3 O-coordinators, two specific groups coordinators and a 67-33 report into his tenure at Penn State, the 49-year-old Franklin doubled down on that CEO mentality a number of months in the past, when he mentioned he was seeking for “a head mentor of the protection.” His phrases.
FRANKLIN Uncovered HIS Gentleman(NY)
Franklin observed that gentleman in Diaz, hired Dec. 10 as Penn State’s newest defensive coordinator and linebackers mentor. PSU is Diaz’s fifth end as the D-coordinator in his 24 decades of coaching. He was the head mentor of Miami (Fla.) the previous 3 seasons, and in 2021 he also did the defensive perform-calling. He was the Miami DC from 2016-18 beneath Mark Wealthy in advance of remaining named the Hurricanes’ head coach immediately after a whirlwind 18-day stint as head coach at Temple.
Diaz, as nicely as these shut to the method, see Diaz instantly fitting into the job of HC of The D.
Previous Penn State and NFL quarterback Matt McGloin, who is an analyst for the Large Ten Community and Sirius these times, shoots it straight on the tremendous-insightful “Paydirt” podcast that he does with previous fellow PSU alum and veteran sports activities broadcaster Tom Hannifan.
In a current episode, No. 25 — listen to it by clicking listed here – McGloin spells out what he sees as the delineation of Diaz’s responsibilities:
“Diaz is a head coach likely back to currently being a coordinator,” McGloin said. “But the James Franklin we all know is extra of a CEO. He’s not that person who’s truly heading to be coaching every one working day. Yet again, all we can do is sit listed here and speculate. From the appears to be of it, Mike Yurcich is in demand of the offense. He’s operating that display.
“You have Manny Diaz as the defensive coordinator,” McGloin ongoing. “He’s running that demonstrate. Both of those of them are in cost of their respective groups, whereas James Franklin is probably just overseeing all the things. Obviously, Franklin is earning some significant selections on game working day. But I nevertheless sense like in a way Manny Diaz is likely to be a head coach, a head coach of that protection.”
Diaz was fired as Miami’s head mentor in spite of manufacturing a 21-15 file, and likely 12-5 in the ACC the previous two seasons. (Franklin is 22-12 over his previous a few seasons.) Diaz is the most recent new person on a team exactly where — counting him — seven of the 10 present fulltime assistants are in their initially or next 12 months as PSU assistant coaches.
Nevertheless, more than any person on Franklin’s personnel these days, Diaz understands the pressures and responsibilities that appear with getting a head coach at an higher echelon, title brand Power 5 college with a productive historical past and (pretty) superior expectations. Like The U. Like LBU.
A Full PLATE: THEN AND NOW
Diaz admits that his goal is to aid Franklin in as quite a few strategies as possible. Like Rahne did in 2014, Diaz in 2021 would make reference to anything that is on Franklin’s blue and white plate.
”I believe what you know, what you want to comprehend, is there‘s so substantially on a head coach‘s plate,” Diaz stated on Friday. ”There are so several issues that arrive at you in a 24-hour working day. And what you eventually want to insert to your workers is, you know, is as minimal routine maintenance (people) as probable — no matter whether that‘s him understanding that we received anything taken care of in conditions of what we‘re arranged on our facet of the football (or) in conditions of how our men are behaving off the industry.
“You know…there are only so several decisions that a person guy can make any day. And preferably, as a head mentor, you want to use seriously, really gifted people today. No distinct than a coordinator. You want to operate with a seriously proficient employees. So that everybody can form of do their aspect. And if anyone does their element, the wheel just turns so considerably easier and speedier.
“So,“ mentioned Diaz, displaying some really hard-gained empathy for his new manager, “I assume that‘s just one of the things that I desired to bring to him and how we can make every single other‘s life a lot easier.“
Following I sat as a result of Diaz‘s introductory press meeting on Zoom Friday, I can inform you this: He gained the presser. He went 1-. The guy certain seems like a head mentor, and not just for the defense. And I‘m not the only a single who thinks so.
Diaz has by now experienced the possibility to handle the Nittany Lions‘ defense and observe a couple techniques. The Penn Condition have comne away #107% amazed.
Edge/linebacker Jesse Luketa: “The mindset, that chip on his shoulder, that swagger — he has it. That is a thing that actually caught my awareness.”
Security Ji-Ayir NBrown: “You can sense his assurance as he’s talking to us. From that second, I was like, ‘This guy’s the genuine deal.’”
ON THE OFFENSIVE
And what of Franklin’s other head mentor?
That would be offensive coordinator, Mike Yurcich, who is a dozen online games and 345 times into his 3rd O-coordinator task at 3 faculties in a few seasons. (His spouse will tell that they moved 2 times during the pandemic.)
The 2021 season was Yurcich’s 1st period at Penn Condition soon after shelling out 2019 at Ohio Point out advert 2020 at Texas. (Diaz was at Texas in 2011-12, and was fired two games into the 2013 year.) Yurcich was hired on Jan. 8, 2021, the very same working day Franklin fired the preceding PSU O-coordinator, Kirk Ciarrocca. That was 20 days just after the 2020 season ended on Dec. 19 with a 56-21 acquire in excess of Illinois and 39 points in a get above Michigan Point out the week ahead of.
In 2021, discounting non-Electricity 5 opponents Ball Point out (44 details) and Villanova (38), Penn Condition scored far more than 28 factors only as soon as – 31 against Maryland, and seven of individuals arrived via a pick-6 by the aforementioned Brown. Penn Condition had eight frequent opponents on its 2020 and 2021 schedules in 6 of the rematches, the Nittany Lions scored less factors this yr.
All round, when compared to last period, below Yurcich the Nittany Lions scored less details (26.25 for each match to 29.78), averaged much less yards per participate in (5.3 to 5.5) and less yards for every operate (3.1 to 3.9). An injured QB in Sean Clifford, gamely enjoying inspite of not currently being 100%, experienced a enormous effect on all those stats.
On Friday – 20 times soon after Penn State’s past video game of the 2021 regular period – veteran reporter Prosperous Scarcella requested Franklin to assess Yurcich “after most of his very first season as coordinator.”
Franklin, generally, declined, stating he was as well busy to do a deep dive on the Penn Point out offense of 2021. Franklin explained he hasn’t “really at this stage absent back and practically broke it all down and analyzed the knowledge. Of course, you know, naturally we would have liked to set a lot more details on the board and been extra explosive and been more steady.”
I get the details. But Franklin – moreover you, me and Yurcich – have by now viewed a good deal of the Penn Point out offense, which was on the discipline for 860 performs and 5 hrs, 39 minutes and 35 seconds in 2021. That’s a rather very good sample sizing with no digging into the numbers. In some instances, we have observed more than enough.
Yurcich, for one, did not like a ton of what he observed from the 7-5 Nittany Lions. On Friday he adroitly fielded and responded to query that was similar to Scarcella’s for Franklin. It came from Audrey Snyder of The Athletic. How would he evaluate the offense in 2021?
“Not superior plenty of. A whole lot of space to make improvements to,” Yurcich replied. “We did not execute at the degree we to will need to execute at. I consider the blame. It solely falls on my shoulders. And we’ll get better. I’ll get greater.”
You gotta regard an reply – and a coordinator – like that. He sounds like a head coach need to.