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May 14, 2014

Franklin offers vision for program

In case new Penn State head coach James Franklin hadn't been clear enough, his message this week to Nittany Lion fans on the Coaches Caravan, and by extension, the media, has been crystal.

Penn State's facilities are not currently up to the standard he envisions for the program moving forward.

Following a series of comments to a packed crowd in King of Prussia Tuesday night alluding to some of the changes that need to be made to Penn State's football facilities, Franklin was prompted at the Wednesday evening Scranton engagement to provide even more specifics.

"To be honest with you, it's everything," he said. "It's nothing really structurally, but it's the indoor facility, our turf needs to be replaced outside and inside. The carpet, the paint, the branding, the furniture, the technology."

Suggesting that media members seek out information regarding the football facilities at traditional college football powerhouse programs like Oregon, Southern Cal, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M, Franklin did not mince words in stating that Penn State will be on the same level.

In other words, not if, but when.

"Look around the country to see what people have," he said. "We're going to be able to build a very, very successful program that's going to be competitive in this conference, but it's also going to be competitive nationwide, and I think it's just important for us to be aware of what's really out there. So I'd really recommend you kind of take a peek at those things."

The question, of course, is what Penn State has made of Franklin's urgings, not only as a university but among the fans as well.

Acknowledging the "financial challenges" still facing Penn State's athletic department, Franklin said that the university itself has been receptive while fans seem to have shown some surprise.

"It's going to be getting people to support that vision and jump on board with us through fundraising and those types of things," Franklin said. "But yeah, I think Penn State has and wants to again be able to provide a first class experience for the student athletes. They've done that for a long time, and there's just some things that we need to tweak and get back right.

"It's become a little bit of an arms race in college football if you look around the country what's going on. We want to be a part of that. We want to be not only a part of that, but we want to be a leader in that as well."

Having coached at stops in every power conference in college football, as well as the National Football League, Franklin offered his credentials as proof of understanding the landscape he and the Nittany Lions are competing against.

Noting the success that has already taken hold in the recruiting arena, Franklin set the stage for what he believes is possible when the necessary improvements are implemented.

"We got the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in the country right now, so we're doing some good things. What are we going to be able to do when we get these other pieces?" Franklin asked. "I want to make sure that when kids and families come and visit us, they know they're going to be provided with all the resources that the top 15 programs in the country are providing them. And it's important that we have that piece of the puzzle as well."




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