Land of 10/file photo
Four years after he took over as coach of Penn State, James Franklin has the Nittany Lions program soaring.

The case to replace Penn State RB Saquon Barkley; looking back at James Franklin’s first 4 seasons

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Next in line

Miles Sanders got some carries against Washington in the Fiesta Bowl, and many assume Sanders will replace Saquon Barkley as the starting running back on Penn State’s offense in 2018.

He just might.

But as the staff of points out, Sanders could have some competition not just in spring ball, but the entire season.

4 years of James Franklin

It’s easy to call James Franklin’s tenure as Penn State’s coach a success.  Just one season into the job, the NCAA lifted its sanctions against the Nittany Lions and Franklin led them to the Pinstripe Bowl.

Franklin has led the Nittany Lions to four straight bowls, a Big Ten title and a return to the national stage.

Ben Jones of takes a look back at the four years since Franklin landed on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley to replace Bill O’Brien.

The saying goes you never want to be the guy that replaces the guy, you want to be the guy who replaces the guy that replaced the guy. It’s been a stellar four years for Franklin. The question now becomes if he’s ready to carry the program to the next level.

Speaking of James Franklin

Franklin spoke at the American Football Coaches Association’s Graduate Assistant career forum this week.

As Andrew Callahan from Lions 247 points out, Franklin took time to discuss networking, recruiting and what it takes to be a GA.

One of the more interesting exchanges he had was one about current assistants Sean Spencer (defensive line) and offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne.

From Callahan:

Q: How do you weigh the opportunity to be an FBS position coach against being a lower-division coordinator?

Franklin: There is value on staff in guys that don’t want to be head coaches. One of the reasons we hired our d-line coach at Vanderbilt [current Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer] is because he said, ‘I don’t want to be a head coach, I don’t want to be a coordinator, I want to be the best d-line coach in the country.’ My offensive coordinator [Ricky Rahne] doesn’t want to be a head coach. He told me, ‘I see you being pulled out of your office 40 percent of the day dealing with drama. I just want to coach ball.’

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Double duty?

One of the areas Penn State needs to fill for next season is the kicker spot. The Nittany Lions lost both scholarship kickers at the conclusion of the 2017 season.

Enter Blake Gillikin.

The Nittany Lions punter says he wants the chance to step in as Penn State’s kicker, writes Mark Brennan of Fight On State.

Gillikin was a kicker in high school, and Penn State does have a handful of prospects to choose from, but special teams coordinator Phil Galiano told Brennan that Gillikin is “definitely good enough to do it.” Gillikin is coming off a 2017 season in which he was named second-team All-Big Ten punter.

Former recruit ‘coerced’ into robbery

Isheem Young was expected to be a major part of the incoming Penn State class of 2018, but a robbery charge derailed his recruitment ― at least for the time being.

Daniel Gallen of writes that prosecutors said Young, of Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia, was “coerced” into the robbery of a Wawa store by his older brother.

Young is awaiting another preliminary hearing on Jan. 25.

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