Report: Maryland Offensive Coordinator James Franklin a Finalist for Vanderbilt Job

"Whoa, Jamarr, back up. Throw the ball out of that formation? Are you nuts?" Image via cache.daylife.com

Who needs 40+ point wins in basketball when you have James Franklin to talk about? As moe pointed out in a FanPost a couple minutes ago, Franklin is reportedly one of two final candidates for the Vanderbilt head coaching job, alongside Stanford DC Greg Roman.

The news comes from Eric Prisbell of the Washington Post, which is a little surprising considering there's nothing on the Vanderbilt end of this (ie, Nashville newspapers; that said, Vandy football isn't really a big deal down there, so I guess it's not shocking). Vandy supposedly want to make a decision relatively soon - like this weekend soon. (As it so happens, I'm out of town this weekend. Awesome).

Roman is the fan favorite for the choice, by the way, and has led a very good Stanford defense. Franklin is that "sexy pick" type of guy that's really probably not as "sexy" as the AD initially thought. He sells himself very well, though, and would seem a "progressive" hire that would undoubtedly get Vandy some nice pub, so I have no idea how this will turn out. I do, however, get the feeling that Vandy's going to lean the "progressive, young, hip recruiter" way this time after the old-fashioned types jumped ship.

I don't know how I'd feel about Franklin the Coordinator leaving. For as bad as his play-calling has been, the offense did take a major step forward in his third year and he's still working with crap for an offensive line. Plus, even though he's not dragging in local studs by the barrel-full, having him leave could only hurt DC-area recruiting in the short term.

But I'd be happy about Franklin the Contract heading out. That was a disaster-in-waiting, for more reasons than just the financial ones. This had the potential to reflect very poorly on Maryland if it wasn't handled well and it's an absurdly delicate situation. If all of that went away and it magically put a million bucks back in Maryland's coffers, I'd be okay with losing a great OC, and I'm fairly certain that Franklin isn't that.

One thing worth noting: Maryland would likely have to extend Ralph Friedgen. In terms of recruiting, losing Franklin and having a lame duck coach would be far worse than just losing Franklin. There has to be some continuity.

In an attempt to do some preloading in work for me, the first name that popped in my head for offensive coordinator was Charlie Taaffe. Remember him? He's at UCF with George O'Leary and is in the process of leading an offense that's in the top 25 in the nation in scoring. He was also the OC back in Maryland's glory years of the early 'aughts. There was supposedly some acrimony between Fridge and Taaffe, so I'm not sure how that would work out, but it was just the first thing I thought of.

Past that, I'm not quite sure who'd be a viable candidate. Frank Reich, the current QB coach for the Colts and former MD great, might be an option. But that would perhaps be leaning too far to "coaching" side of the coaching-recruiting spectrum; remember, Maryland needs some help in recruiting, and who knows if a guy like Reich would provide it?

Now, I'm not saying to offer Mike Locksley a hefty salary to leave New Mexico, which is a dead-end for him that's almost certainly ending in a lawsuit, but I'm not not saying it. Hey, do you like Cyrus Kouandjio? I do, too.

Okay, all kidding aside, I have no idea. Something tells me Fridge would go out of the box on this one.

First things first: we might have (yet another) coordinator opening in College Park.

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