James Franklin credits 'genius' Ralph Friedgen with success

James Franklin credits 'genius' Ralph Friedgen with success
January 13, 2014, 11:45 am
Share This Post

Franklin introduced as head coach at Penn State

(Associated Press)

Much has been made over the past few days about the potential impact that James Franklin could have had as the head coach at Maryland, had he not slipped away in 2011 under a cloud of administrative uncertainty in College Park.

Tabbed as the coach-in-waiting behind Ralph Friedgen, Franklin took an offer from Vanderbilt when those plans appeared to be falling apart.

But now Franklin is at Penn State, succeeding Bill O’Brien (another former Terrapin coach), and he did not fail to mention his Maryland roots during his introductory press conference on Saturday in Happy Valley.

[RELATED: Franklin jokes about O'Brien during introductory press conference at Penn State]

“Ralph Friedgen had a huge impact on me,” Franklin said, before launching into an anecdote about his former colleague.

“When I worked for Ralph, Ralph was in Sports Illustrated as the No. 1 mind in college football. And I remember saying to him, you know, ‘Ralph, everybody says you’re a genius.’ And he says, ‘I’m not a genius, I just out-prepare people.’ That had a big impact on me.”

Friedgen and Franklin coached together at Maryland from 2001-04 when Franklin was the team’s wide receivers coach, then again from 2008-10 when Franklin returned as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Friedgen won two ACC Coach of the Year awards, in 2001 and 2010. He was fired after the same season in which he won the second award. Over his 10 seasons at Maryland, he amassed an overall record of 75-50.