News, Notes & Quotes - Sept. 30

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday September 30, 2016

- If there was any talk about James Franklin’s future, athletic director Sandy Barbour tried to end it, saying he’s not on the “hot seat.”

“He's not going to be on the hot seat in December. James is going to be our football coach,” Barbour told the Altoona Mirror. “I believe in where this football program is going under James Franklin, and I think he's going to be our football coach, period."

Franklin is 16-14 in two-plus seasons, including 2-2 this year. The roster is still rebuilding, but the Nittany Lions are No. 121 in rushing offense (3.02 yards per carry) and No. 99 in sacks allowed per game (2.75).

- Franklin’s former defensive coordinator, Bob Shoop, says his Tennessee defense didn’t just play well in the second half by forcing 7 three-and-outs in 8 Florida drives — it was more.

“There’s a difference between playing well and playing winning football,” Shoop said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “I’ve often said defensive coordinators shouldn’t be evaluated on yards and points anymore. There’s obviously going to be more yards, because of the snap count. There’s going to be more points. We try to break it down into small analytics. 1st-and-10, we want to stop the run. 3rd down, we talk about getting off the field.

“The green zone, the coming out area, our punter did a great job pinning them deep. We want to score on defense and cause three-and-outs for field position. And we talk about the compete zone, from the 25-yard line and in. Coach Jones always says 3rd down and the red zone and the compete zones is a four-point play. Three of their touchdowns game on 3rd down in the red zone. If we get a stop on 3rd down in the red zone, they’re kicking field goals.”

- Do players-only meetings work? Mike Leach has mixed feelings.

“I do think it’s got to be something meaningful to the players that draws meaningful focus. Then it’s valuable,” Leach said on The Bald Faced Truth. “If it just becomes a bitch session, ‘us against them’ thing, then it’s unhealthy.”

Coaches want players to control and lead the team, if the right guys are there. Leach recounted leaving a suspension in the hands of the players and what ensued.

“You never know who’s talking in the room,” he said. “We had a deal years ago, a thing where I can’t remember the offense. It wasn’t a huge offense. Some player does some kind of offense and we made an issue out of it, so the question is to suspend the guy, but he’s got to apologize to the team. He apologizes and I said, ‘You guys vote whether or not I’m going to suspend him.’

“I find out that everybody voted to let him back on, because he gave a heartfelt apology. The only guy that voted to suspend him was this angry little walk-on that never played and it was harder than hell to get him to go to class. The guy didn’t do anything he was told. All of a sudden, the guy’s a knob to you about giving the guy a break. There’s a weird irony in it. You never know who’s talking in those meetings.”

- It was a goal-line stand that changed the Texas A&M-Arkansas game, and Kevin Sumlin knows it.

Tied at 17, the Aggies made a stand and hit a 92-yard touchdown pass two plays later.

“I don’t think it’s the be-all end-all, but so much of this game momentum and attitude,” Sumlin said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “Until you do certain things, guys still have a little wonder factor in their head. Playing a team like Arkansas and being able to hold on the goal line and throughout the game against a team that runs it at you… from an attitude and confidence standpoint, that has to do nothing but help your defense.”

- Hugh Freeze publicly said he’s unhappy with this week’s practice ahead of their game against Memphis.

How much of that is true and how much of that is motivation? Memphis beat Ole Miss last year and scored 77 points on Bowling Green last week.

“Disappointed right now, to be honest. I expected a lot more today," Freeze said this week. "We have a lot of work to do before we play.”

He added, “It was like pulling teeth for me to get the coaches to do their job with an urgency, and the kids. It was just not a good day.”

- If Les Miles wants to stay coaching, does he need to get right back in?

Phillip Fulmer and Mack Brown couldn’t get back in. Houston Nutt decided to take a year off and believes it was costly.

“I’d always gotten calls whether it was Arkansas, Boise State, Murray State and felt like I’ll just wait a year and get right back in,” Nutt told USA Today. “But (athletic directors) lean on search firms, and they want to win that press conference. It’s hard to win a press conference if a coach has been out. It’s ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ and I just think a lot of times search firms don’t want the old tread. They want to say, ‘Look who we found.’”

- Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Ole Miss’ win over Georgia, the latest episode of The Season.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 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