I’ve seen Tony Franklin’s name pop up a bit on VT forums as a candidate for the OC position should there be an opening after the season. No doubt, Franklin’s got a lot going for him: he’s an innovator, he’s had success, and there might even be a personal connection between him and Bud Foster (“might” being a key word there.) Given the right support, he’d probably have success just about anywhere. What I’m not seeing as much, though, are a few reasons why Franklin doesn’t seem like a VT hire.
- Franklin’s part of the Hal Mumme “Air Raid” coaching tree. Out of all the different spread offenses in heavy use right now, the Air Raid is the most pass-first of the bunch. Franklin’s been doing some things in the running game that are exciting, but he’s still got the reputation of a gun-slinger. The early iterations had their roots in ball-control-by-passing Walsh roots, but it’s long gone these days.
- Franklin isn’t the only spread coordinator or QB coach out there. He’s not even the only hot Air Raid guy out there, assuming that’s where Beamer wants to look. Mumme’s line is huge: the guys who’ve coached under him include Mike Leach, Chris Hatcher, and Sonny Dykes, and the guys they’ve coached include Dana Holgorsen and Art Briles. If Beamer wants an Air Raid guy he’s got his choice, and it goes without saying that if he wants a Rodriguez, Meyer, Sumlin, Kelly, Gundy, etc. guy, there’s plenty of them out there.
- I think anyone reading this would agree that Frank Beamer values loyalty, and that he expects his coaches to have the same trait. Franklin almost ruined his chances at coaching major programs by writing a warts-and-all account of his days coaching at Kentucky.
- There’s also his later coaching experience at Auburn, where he clashed with HC Tommy Tuberville, and was fired only a few weeks into the season. The general consensus is that Franklin got shafted by a head coach who only partially embraced the offense on the field, and didn’t provide Franklin with the players or staff needed to run it. I think Hokie fans can see why this is something to consider.
- I can’t say I’ve ever heard it confirmed, but my impression is that Coach Beamer prefers his coaches stay out of the public eye and keep a low profile even in football circles. Beamer himself does most VT clinics and presentations, and even articles featuring other VT coaches are pretty simple and pretty sparse. Franklin, on the other hand, has made a mint off of selling his services to schools all over the country.
- The biggest thing, in my mind at least, is that there are probably a lot of employment opportunities for Franklin, assuming he even wants to leave what seems to be a fulfilling and stable gig with Louisiana Tech. If VT considers him safe enough to take a serious look at, no doubt many other schools are doing the same thing.
I’ve got no clue at all what’s going on in Beamer’s head. With all this in mind, though, I have to think that any changes we see will follow what’s come before, with any new coaches having close ties to Frank himself, either through direct experience at Tech, or through regional or collegial connections.