There was a lot of leftovers that fell to the cutting room floor related to my dead-tree edition story on Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin, so consider this one of a few bonus featurettes on the subject that will be dropped in over the next two days.
The day I sat down for a 40-minute session with Franklin this summer, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen was on vacation and far from College Park.
There also happened to be a Byrd Stadium expansion meeting with athletic director Debbie Yow and other department officials. And that meant Franklin, the Terrapins’ new offense coordinator and assistant head coach, would fill in for Friedgen.
When Friedgen promised he would bring Franklin into the realm of being a head coach, he wasn’t kidding. It wasn’t just having a say on the quarterback – and then having to defend the case publicly. It wasn’t just getting to install his version of the Xs-and-Os.
It was everything. And Franklin’s learned quite a bit in the eight months since he returned to Maryland.
“The only training to be a head coach is to be a head coach. You can prepare and do the best you possibly can, but you’ll never be fully prepared until you actually havbe the job,” Franklin said. “There’s a lot of times it’s hard to even get prepared because head coaches just want you spending your time recruiting and doing a good job in your coaching responsibilities and they don’t share information for you and they don’t make you privy to certain information that you might not know until you’re a head coach.
“Ralph’s been really good about talking to me about why he makes certain decisions, including me in meetings and certain discussions.”
One of the big questions a lot of people had about the move was just how willing Friedgen would be to give up control of his offense.
And deep down, Franklin initially had similar concerns.
“In all of our discussions, I felt really good about it but Ralph’s been very successful as an offensive coach his whole career, so to hand that over to someone else and allow them to do it, I thought was going to be very difficult,” Franklin said. “Since I’ve been back, he’s been better than I thought. He’s bene great in meetings, been a tremendous resource for me.”