James Franklin: It's one of the best things the NCAA allows us to do

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Sunday June 18, 2017


Football is now a year-round process for college players, but James Franklin believes the summer acclimation period for freshmen is one of the most important things.

Players across the country have reported, and NCAA rules allow a limited amount of time with coaches on film and conditioning, but adapting to college lif is the biggest value.

“I think back to my playing days. I remember my mom and my sister dropping me off, and the next day you were in practice. I mean, full-go, three-a-days,” Franklin said recently, “Where now with the NCAA you have an acclimation period.

I think one of the best things they did was allowing us to bring them up early for summer school. Because football you have to adjust academically, athletically and socially all at once. So, allowing them to come up and take a couple of classes in the summer and experience what a college class is like before getting a full load of 15 credits, as well as football full time, as well as adjusting socially, it allows them to get used to the training, ease them in from that standpoint.

Franklin added that summer school is a big reason so many players graduate on time or early.

Come this fall, camp will be a week earlier and longer for some schools, with the new removal of two-a-days and the mandatory off-day each week. But for a lot of places, it won’t be a big change. Franklin understands the importance of time demands on players, but questioned adding another week of work.

“We always had days off in our camp anyway, from my time at Vanderbilt and my time here at Penn State. So that's not really a new element for us,” he said. “Talking to most of the coaches that I know, there's a few that aren't changing their model at all in terms of the number of days that they're coming into camp. There's some that have taken a kind of compromise between the two. …

But I don't know if this was necessarily something that was really broke anyway. I think there's probably some other ways that we could have modified it like making a second practice a non-contact practice, which is really what I think this came from. It came from contact and it was a rest and recovery component, too.”

Time demand on players has become an annual topic, and don't be surprised if there are more adjustments in 2018. But for right now, adapting freshmen to college life is one of the biggest aspects of the summer.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.