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Penn State notes: Franklin mentioned as candidate for USC job

For the second time in three seasons, James Franklin’s name has been mentioned as a candidate for the football coaching job at USC.

Less than 48 hours after a 42-28 loss to unranked Stanford, USC fired Clay Helton on Monday after seven-plus years and a 46-24 coaching record. Associate head coach Donte Williams was appointed as interim coach.

Franklin was asked Tuesday at his weekly press conference about the reports mentioning him as a candidate for the USC job. No. 10 Penn State faces No. 22 Auburn Saturday night at Beaver Stadium.

“As you know, I can’t stand any form of distraction,” Franklin said. “I’ll discuss this today with the Leadership Council so we can make sure that all of our energy is on our preparation for Auburn. That’s how we’ll handle it.”

Penn State’s Leadership Council is made up of several players from each class.

Two years ago, Franklin’s name was linked in reports to jobs at Florida State and USC before he received a new six-year contract from Penn State through 2025 worth $35,4 in guaranteed money that could rise to $38.2 million in retention bonuses.

Franklin made $5.4 million in guaranteed money in 2020, the first year of the new deal. He’s making $5.5 million this year, $5.75 million in 2022, $6.0 million in 2023, $6.25 million in 2024 and $6.5 million in 2025.

Hired in 2014, he signed a contract extension in August 2017 after he led the Nittany Lions to the 2016 Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl, where they lost to USC and Helton.

Zero turnovers >> Penn State hasn’t committed a turnover in its first two games, which has helped lead to wins over Wisconsin and Ball State.

A year ago, the Lions committed 17 turnovers in nine games, including 13 during the worst start (0-5) in school history.

“We’ve done a pretty good job of protecting the football,” Franklin said. “You have to do that if you want to be successful. We’ve done it at a very high level this season.”

Quarterback Sean Clifford committed 12 of the turnovers last season and has none this year.

“It’s about players going out and executing the plan,” Franklin said, “and executing the fundamentals that are coached on a consistent basis. We’ve got to keep it up.”

White Out visitors >> Franklin said he expects about 300 recruiting visitors to attend Saturday’s night game, which includes high school players, parents, siblings and teammates.

“We’re usually full,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have a 107,000-seat stadium. Our student section is bigger than most. Our allotment of recruiting tickets is bigger than most.

“This is a game where we typically turn some recruits away. You have to turn high school coaches away because the demand far outweighs the supply.”

Several of Penn State’s best players during Franklin’s era said they committed to the Lions because of their experiences at the White Out game.

“The White Out game year in and year out goes a long way towards shaping our future,” he said. “Getting as many of the top players here nationally and getting all of the regional players here on campus is really important.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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