The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

January 9, 2014

College football: Penn State hire still in limbo

(Continued)

Earlier, Williams told the Nashville sports-radio station WNSR, "When we open up (Aug. 28) against Temple, I expect James Franklin to be on the sidelines for that game, and not coaching Temple. He's our football coach and we'll treat him like our football coach until we know something different."

Williams also denied a report that Franklin had made any demands of the Vanderbilt athletic department.

Commodores defensive end Caleb Azubike confirmed in a post on Twitter that he had spoken Thursday afternoon to Franklin and wrote, "He hasn't made a decision yet. And he's still pondering."

Franklin just finished his third season as Vanderbilt's head coach and led the team to a second straight bowl win for the first time ever. He has Pennsylvania roots. In addition to growing up in Langhorne, he graduated from Neshaminy High School and East Stroudsburg University, and his first job in coaching came at Kutztown.

Meanwhile, one of the sons of interim head coach Larry Johnson left a message Thursday on Facebook that suggested the longtime Penn State assistant would be leaving the Nittany Lions if he did not get the job.

"It's been a great 18-year run at Penn State," son Tony Johnson wrote. "Thank you to everybody for all the support, texts, emails and phone calls."

Larry Johnson, the Lions' defensive line coach for the last 14 years and one of the nation's best recruiters, could not be reached for comment by The Inquirer. He told the Associated Press: "I'm still the interim coach until a new coach is named. As of right now, I'm continuing to do my part."

Franklin reportedly also was a candidate for the Washington Redskins' coaching job, but the NFL team hired Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

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