Tag Archives: James Franklin

Ultimate low class by a Penn State coach? Here we go again. A weird double field goal kick like you’ve never seen. And the “America’s Got Talent” finale, Darci or Angelica?

You would think, after everything that has gone on at Penn State University over the past 10 years, all the horrible and disgusting revelations coming from the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, with Joe Paterno tied up in it, that a man leading the football program there would try very hard to be above reproach.

To not make waves, to go above and beyond to be classy, conducting the program on the up and up, and trying hard to restore the luster to a college team that had for decades been among the most admired and revered.

I thought Penn State hired a man who would do that a few years ago; a man named James Franklin. He had done a great job at an impossible place to win (Vanderbilt) and seemed like a decent, caring human being.

Not one who did what he did Saturday.

I never write about college football here because it’s not a sport I follow, but this, this forced me to say something, in my mind. So last Saturday Penn State was playing host to Georgia St., a much smaller program with a huge talent gap compared to Penn State.

As expected, the Nittany Lions dominated, leading 56-0 with just a few seconds to play. Georgia St. had finally put together a decent drive, and with :11 lined up to kick a field goal. Would three points matter in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. But the Panthers would be spared the indignity of a shutout, and would at least be able to feel a little better about themselves.

And then, something unbelievable happened: James Franklin called a timeout. To “ice the kicker,” a make-him-nervous technique coaches often use when a game-tying or game-winning kick by the opposition is about to occur. Forget the fact that it hardly ever works, coaches just keep trying it.

Panthers kicker Brandon Wright, after the timeout, missed the kick. And Penn State won 56-0. And so those big, bad Nittany Lions got to shut out a school that didn’t even have a football team until six years ago.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???? This was absolutely, 100 percent classless, even for a college football coach, and I’m on record saying college football coaches are the least-classy people in sports I’ve ever covered. It’s FIFTY-SIX to nothing!  You have to pull a bullshit move like that when you’ve kicked their ass up and down the field the whole game?

Franklin was asked about after the game, and again on Tuesday when this became a controversy. Here’s what he said.

“To very clear, I was not icing anyone. I want to be as clear as I possibly can be. We had our fourth-team defense, some threes, mostly fours on the field; we’ve never worked a fourth-team field goal block. I’m on the headset, the [defensive coaching staff] is talking about how those guys won’t be able to line up, I call timeout, we get the second team on the field, and from that point on, we’re going to go block the kick.”

Just atrocious. Who gives a shit if it’s your fourth-team defense out there, it’s FIFTY-SIX to NOTHING! I never, ever, ever agree with blowhard arrogant sports talk radio host Mike Francesa, but for once he absolutely nailed it wit this rant.

Just disgusting and classless by Franklin. Show a little respect for your opponent, huh?

**Next up, a happier little football moment. Texas Lutheran kicker Tyler Hopkins converted a field goal in a way I’ve never seen before. Watch this, and let me know if you’ve ever seen a guy make a FG on their second attempt!

**And finally today, you know I’ve become a little obsessed with this season of “America’s Got Talent,” because of two amazing performers, 12-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne, and 10-year-old singer Angelica Hale. They were both on Tuesday night’s live finale, hoping to win the $1M prize. Here’s a link to Hale’s fabulous performance, and below is Lynne, who I think should absolutely win.

Romney picks Ryan for VP, and both sides rejoice (me too). A very cool football coach. And The Olympics end with USA basketball on top. And

Saturday morning, Mitt Romney, a man who rarely makes anyone happy, delighted and thrilled two groups of people who are rarely ever happy at the same time: Democrats and hard-core conservatives.

He thrilled the latter by picking Paul Ryan to be his vice-presidential running mate. Paul Ryan, if you don’t know by the media blitz over the past 24 hours, is a 42-year-old seven-term Congressman from Wisconsin.

He’s fresh-faced, he’s enthusiastic, and he’s pretty much beloved in GOP circles for putting forth a budget last year that slashed spending, cut Medicare, and ordered all cute kittens and puppies to be sent to Russia (I read the fine print, that was in there).

Paul Ryan, you see, had a really bright future as a Republican because he, alone among his colleagues, actually put forth more than platitudes like “we need to rein in spending and cut the debt;” he actually put forth a plan on how to do it.

It happens to be a horrendous plan, but it was a plan nonetheless.
Meanwhile, Democrats like me are celebrating the Ryan pick for many reasons, and I’ll try to be brief here.
No. 1: Mitt Romney has made this entire campaign not about himself, but about Barack Obama. It’s been month after month of “Man, this guy is terrible,” without giving any specifics of his own.
Now, the Mittster has picked a guy loaded with specifics, and Mitt is going to have to own every one of ’em. Severe, severe cuts to health care, Medicare, transportation, energy, science, you name it, it’s in the Ryan budget plan. And whether Mitt agrees with all of it or not, he’s going to be stuck with Ryan’s positions. You think Florida seniors are going to want to vote for a ticket with Ryan on it?

No. 2: Ryan’s much more charismatic than Romney. As they campaign together, that’ll be very clear to voters. Romney will look boring and uninteresting compared to his surrogate, making Mitt’s flaws even more apparent.

No. 3. This guy Ryan has never been elected by more than a few hundred thousand people. He’s never faced the kind of national scrutiny he’s about to endure. Sarah Palin was wildly popular, too, before millions got a look at her.

No.4: Ryan is vehemently anti-gay rights. That won’t play well with moderates at all.

So, yeah, like I said, I’m happy. I thought Obama was going to win this thing anyway. But with Romney picking Ryan, the whole discussion has shifted. And that’s not good for old Mitt Romney.

**And now, a video interlude. Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin did something very cool the other day; he was extolling the virtues of a walk-on player named Marc Panu when, out of the blue, he told the kid he’d earned a full scholarship.
Especially at a school like Vanderbilt, which is so expensive, this was a beautiful moment.

**Finally, a few final words about the last day of the Olympics. The London Games were fabulous, really exceptional in every way. (And how great is that photo above?)
Which is why I was glad that the USA men’s basketball team finished off the Games  in style, winning a very entertaining gold-medal game over Spain.

Yes, you could say America is supposed to win gold when we have more of the world’s best in hoops than anyone else. But this team, from Coach K on down, carried itself with class for the 2nd straight Olympics. They played hard, played the right way, and you could tell on the medal stand how much it meant to them to win.

I’m sad the Olympics are over. I’ll miss the swimming and the track and the great stories and all the British flags. But I’m glad that American athletes all over did our country proud, including a men’s basketball squad that has embarrassed us in the past.
Can’t wait till 2014 and the next Olympics!