Penn State head coach James Franklin had a press conference Sunday Night to address Penn State’s Outback Bowl announcement and other questions about the program. The Nittany Lions are scheduled to face Arkansas Jan. 1.
FINDING A NEW DC
Almost a week after defensive coordinator Brent Pry left to become the head coach at Virginia Tech, Franklin is still searching for Pry’s replacement and is doing so at the same time that recruiting is going on.
“I’d like to try to get it done as soon as possible, but I want to make sure that we get the right person. That takes time, and then the other challenge is with as many jobs that are open right now, a lot of people are fighting for the same guys.”
If co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter is to get the head coaching job at Virginia, it could increase the likelihood of Penn State hiring from the outside. Should Poindexter stay at Penn State, it seems that he’d be the favorite to handle defensive playcalling duties against Arkansas.
In 2019, Arkansas went 2-10. Then, Sam Pittman took over as head coach. After a bumpy 3-7 season in 2020, the Razorbacks are formidable again, and Franklin, who has a relationship with Pittman, is happy to see his success.
“I have a ton of respect for Sam. I’ve known him for a long time, and obv. Obviously on his staff at the university as well. So I’ve been able to catch a few games and scores on TV and things like that, but haven’t really been able to dive in for them. I have a ton of respect for that conference, obviously I know it well, and have a ton of respect for what Sam has been able to do in a short period of time.”
There are only three SEC schools that Penn State has never played before; Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Arkansas will be crossed off the list on New Year’s Day.
“I think it’s really cool,” Franklin said. “Obviously, for as long as Penn State and Arkansas have been playing football, there’s not too man things that you can say ‘that’s never happened before.’ So I think that’s cool.
Franklin is also excited about going to Florida and for his players that are from there.
“I know our players are really excited about it. I know our coaches and staff are really excited about it. I know my daughters were really excited about it when they found out this afternoon. So we’re looking forward to getting down there.