James Franklin was perched above the Beaver Stadium press room, watching his newly hired assistant coaches address the Penn State media for the first time. The new leader of the Nittany Lions wanted in on the action. "How many points are we going to score this year?" Franklin inquired abruptly from above to his offensive coordinator, John Donovan. "As many as it takes to win," Donovan quickly replied. The camaraderie among Franklin and his staff was evident yesterday, as 10 new assistant football coaches were introduced. Nine of the coaches worked under Franklin during his 3-year tenure at Vanderbilt: Donovan (who will be the offensive coordinator/tight ends coach), Bob Shoop (defensive coordinator/safeties), Charles Huff (special-teams coordinator/running backs), Brent Pry (assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator/linebackers), Josh Gattis (wide receivers), Herb Hand (offensive line), Ricky Rahne (quarterbacks), Sean Spencer (defensive line) and Dwight Galt (strength and conditioning). "What I was looking for is really familiarity - guys that I've worked with or known for a very, very long time," Franklin said. "Guys that I trust, guys that I know how they're going to interact with the players and these young men that we're working with. How these guys are going to be in the community, and also have a connection with Penn State from a lot of different perspectives." Former Penn State wide receiver Terry Smith will join Franklin's staff as the cornerbacks coach and defensive recruiting coordinator. He most recently was Temple's wide-receivers coach. Gattis will also be the offensive recruiting coordinator, and securing prospective players has been one of Franklin's top priorities since he was hired on Jan. 11. Penn State has locked up five early enrollees in the 2014 class, and has 16 more verbal commitments from players expected to officially commit to play in Happy Valley on Feb. 5, National Signing Day. Five of those recruits had committed to Vanderbilt under Franklin, but switched to Penn State. With the coaches Franklin has assembled, he said, the Lions will have "the most aggressive recruiting staff in America." "It's been a scramble. We have not gotten much sleep," Franklin said about the last 2 weeks. "We've been ripping and running all over the country, not only in trying to get to see the kids that were previously committed, but being able to try to close this class out the right way." One of the most memorable lines from Franklin's introductory news conference was that Penn State was going to "dominate the state" in terms of recruiting - a phrase that has found its way to T-shirts in downtown shops. Franklin was born in Langhorne, and brought three fellow Pennsylvania natives to his staff in Shoop, Pry and Smith. Though the assistants weren't officially introduced until yesterday, they already made recruiting stops in the state, including in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. From an on-field standpoint, Franklin noted Donovan called plays at Vanderbilt for the past three seasons, and hinted that would continue at Penn State. This would be a change, as former head coach Bill O'Brien also was offensive coordinator during his 2-year stint. Another difference is that Penn State now has a special-teams coordinator in Huff, who has previous coaching stops at Maryland and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills. In remarks seldom uttered in the world of special teams, Huff said the Nittany Lions would run "the first fast-paced, no-huddle special teams you've seen." "You're out there for 6 seconds, come off the ball and make it happen," Huff said. "Flying around, trying to keep it as simple as possible to let these guys run around and have fun with being fundamentally sound."
Penn State introduces assistant football coaches
Philly.com | Jan 28