The SEC Media Days are happening right now in Alabama, and they’ve resulted in some severe quotes from a Vanderbilt player about James Franklin’s final days at Vanderbilt and his personality.
Sophomore defensive lineman Adam Butler said he was glad Franklin left his program. Here’s the full quote, from CBS Sports:
“I don’t want to say I’m glad Coach Franklin is gone but then again I am,” Butler told CBSSports.com during SEC media days.
Butler said he thought Franklin was disingenuous in telling the Commodores at one point that he was committed, then leaving for Penn State.
“It was a little shady in a way,” he said. “Repeatedly he told us he wasn’t going anywhere. He really stressed it. He was in tears talking about he wasn’t going to leave. Then he just up and leaves.
“The bad always weed themselves out and the good always comes.
“You always have a choice whether to take the next job or not to take it. If he said, ‘They paid me this amount of money,’ I would respect him more instead of saying he’s not going and then up and leave.”
That diatribe followed some similar comments Butler made Monday, as reported by the The Tennessean:
Butler, who was recruited to Vanderbilt by Franklin, said many players believed he was being less than genuine in his final weeks as the Commodores coach.
“He repeatedly told us, ‘I’m not leaving, no matter what. You guys don’t have to worry,’ ” Butler said. “He even took it as far as breaking down in tears like he always does.
“He was saying ‘I’m not leaving,’ and then right after the ball game (BBVA Compass Bowl), I mean no warning, no nothing, he just disappeared.”
Butler said the next time the players heard from Franklin was when he returned to campus to tell the team he was taking the Penn State job.
“He came back and said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m leaving’ and cried again.”
Butler also questioned the sincerity of the emotional displays from the former coach.
“He was a big camera guy. He loved the camera, absolutely,” Butler said. “Coach Franklin was true, no doubt, but I feel like some of it was a little bit more than what it had to be. There was a little bit of acting going on.”
Harsh. Perhaps a result of a player miffed that Vanderbilt is probably going to be the worst team in the SEC this year, but harsh.
Comments from a former player are not enough to seriously damage Franklin’s reputation, I think, especially considering: What the heck else is he supposed to tell players if he doesn’t want them all to jump ship? Remember, Bill O’Brien also told since-decommitted prospect Thomas Holley that he was staying at Penn State during that saga over last winter break. Regardless, Franklin has really stirred the pot, if comments from people outside of this program are any indication. Besides this, there was Pitt coach Paul Chryst saying he’d have to see Franklin #dominatethestate to believe it. Then, Maryland coach Randy Edsall inexplicably said “talk is cheap” about Franklin’s state domination. And let’s not forget that the SEC itself was salty that Franklin was attending football camps in their territory.