James Franklin comments on USC - sort of

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday September 30, 2013

James Franklin is a professional when it comes to commenting on other jobs — or not commenting, actually.

Since he first began having success at Vanderbilt, Franklin’s name has been thrown out for a lot of open jobs in recent years, and the latest is USC. Franklin spent a chunk of his press conference on Monday answering some questions about the open job in Los Angeles.

He was first asked his response to being mentioned with USC.

“My response is that I’m excited about talking about UAB, our last game, and I’m really excited about talking about Missouri this week,” Franklin said. “For once, I’d like to sit in this press conference and talk about either the game before or the game we’re playing this week. Anything outside of that is outside of our control. This is something we’ve been going through for three years here. That’s wonderful. But we’re focused on Missouri this week and any questions you guys have about UAB, I’m more than happy about it.”

The next question was if his name coming up so often was a compliment to the program. He again avoided a straight response, but also revealed what he wants to see some day at Vanderbilt. Fan support has been a sore spot for him at times, and he’s hoping to see a good crowd this weekend.

“I’m really excited about playing Missouri this week,” he said. “They’ve got great colors, black and gold. I love those colors. We did some good things against UAB. I’m really excited about the fact it was the first time in school history we had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers. I am excited about the direction of the program and what we’ve been able to do. … In our last 12 games, we’re 10-2. To put that in perspective, think about where the program was when we got here and what we’re doing now, we’re excited about those things. We’re really excited about it.

“That’s all part of us changing the perception of Vanderbilt football. I couldn’t be more excited or proud of what the kids have done, what the assistant coaches have done, the support the administration has given us and the way the community is rallying behind us.

“But that’s the next piece of the puzzle that we’ve got to have. We’ve got to have this game sold out. We’ve got to have the stadium full, black and gold, people going crazy, 40,000. People hanging of the rafters. There’s a parking garage over here. I want people set up in that parking garage looking in the stadium. I want to look at the Marriott hotel and see all those rooms full of people watching the game from there because they couldn’t get seats. I want people peaking over the fence. That’s the next step we need for this program.”

A reporter followed up by asking if he had been contacted by USC.

“The Missouri game is a huge game for us, because we’ve got a chance to be 1-0 this week,” Franklin said. “We’re excited about being 1-0 this week. We’ve got a lot of areas we have to improve and build on. I’m really excited about the opportunity to play Missouri this week in front of a sold-out crowd wearing black and gold and getting a chance to run out on the field with these guys, guys I truly have a tremendous respect for.”

Is that a yes or no?

“Missouri and Gary Pinkel are all of our attention in everything we’re doing.”

As he wrapped up the press conference later, Franklin admitted he understands the job of the media, but it’s clear they’ll never get the response they’re looking for.

“I know you have to ask the questions. That’s part of the job,” he said. “I appreciate that. But as you guys know. I’m going to do everything in my power to keep this team and this coaching staff focused on the things we can control. That’s Missouri. I just want to make sure you guys understand that.”

READ: USC head coaching candidates

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.