Irish could have affect on PSU’s Franklin

By Cory Giger

cgiger@altoonamirror.com

James Franklin has stated that he plans to stay at Penn State for a long time, so does that mean the speculation about him possibly going to USC is over?

Not exactly.

Franklin gave a non-denial denial answer when asked about the USC speculation Tuesday afternoon. He tried to clarify things when speaking to media after practice Wednesday.

“Obviously I have all the plans in the world to be here and to be here for a long time, so I just wanted to address that because it became something that I did not want it to be or intend,” Franklin said.

Some people are viewing that as a promise by Franklin that he will remain at Penn State. But it’s not that simple.

The next step in the process will occur late Saturday night, when USC plays No. 3 Notre Dame in a key game. If the Trojans were to pull off an upset or lose a close game to the Fighting Irish, then it could be enough for Clay Helton to keep his job.

Then the Franklin speculation all will have been for naught.

But if Notre Dame (11-0) blows out USC (5-7), many people believe it could lead to Helton getting fired. If that were to happen, then speculation about Franklin going to USC could only heat up.

There currently is no job up for grabs, so obviously Franklin can say he’s planning on staying at Penn State. But if Helton is fired and USC is interested in Franklin, then certainly plans can change.

They often do at this time of year, when the coaching hot stove season kicks into full gear after the regular season.

When he was at Vanderbilt before coming to Penn State, a Vandy recruit said Franklin had told him, “I’m not leaving, no matter what. You guys don’t have to worry. He even took it as far as breaking down in tears like he always does.”

So, at this point, it’s still very difficult to take anything that’s said at face value.

The Nittany Lions host Maryland Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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