James Franklin explains how he deals with Tennessee fans on Twitter

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday November 19, 2013

Just when the Tennessee-Vanderbilt rivalry was starting to heat up, it looks like it’s cooling down, even as the game gets close.

Two years ago, a video leaked from the Tennessee locker room after the Vols win where head coach Derek Dooley told the team, “The one thing Tennessee always does is kick the shit out of Vandy.”

A year later, James Franklin couldn’t help himself after Vanderbilt’s win, telling reporters, “The one thing Vanderbilt does is focus on being 1-0 this week, and we did it.”

Dooley is gone, replaced by Butch Jones. The two staffs have a friendly relationship, with Jones and Franklin going head to head in the 2011 Liberty Bowl when Jones was at Cincinnati. Jones and Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand worked together at West Virginia. At their weekly press conferences, Franklin and Jones were nothing but complimentary of each other and the programs.

Franklin even said he doesn’t think it’s a rivalry yet, and that it needs to be more competitive.

But the one place Franklin can’t get away from the rivalry is Twitter, where he frequently deals with Tennessee fans. He was asked how that relationship is.

“We’ve come to a good place,” he said. “We interact very well. We’re very supportive of one another. I think they appreciate what we’re doing here and how we’re doing it, and I know I appreciate what’s been going on at Tennessee for a very long time. I say this all the time: I know we’re a private school, but we’re a blue-collar program, and we’re very, very proud of representing this state and we’re very proud of representing Nashville. I think there’s enough room in this state for both. I truly do.

We’re in a good place, and I’m looking forward to saying hi to all my buddies on Saturday. … I use the block button as much as I possibly can. That’s not with any specific fanbase, but I don’t have time for anything but positive things. If there’s not going to be a positive thing, I’m going to block it and move on and keep spreading the Vanderbilt gospel as much as we possibly can.”

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.