Tony DeMeo

Questions and Answers with James Franklin

James Franklin is the current Offensive Coordinator and “Head Coach in waiting at the University of Maryland. James has worked his way up the coaching ranks after being a record setting Quarterback at East Stroudsburg University under Denny Douds. Franklin made stops at numerous schools (he could probably be a good travel agent) before becoming the Receiver Coach at The University of Maryland. From there he moved to Green Bay to coach the wide receivers. His 1st OC position came at Kansas State under Ron Prince. After two years he moved back to Ralph Friedgen’s OC at Maryland.

Tony: Who were the three biggest influences in your coaching career?

James: Denny Douds at ESU was my coach and 1st big influence, then Ralph Friedgen, and Mike Sherman at Green Bay.

Tony: What is your offensive philosophy?

James: It’s The West Coast Offense organizationally but it has pieces of Don Coryell and Ralph Friedgen in it. I believe in the Power Run Game from one back or two back formations. My two favorite run are the Power O play & the Zone play with a lead blocker. My favorite passes are Four Verticals and the Flanker Drive Pass which features the Z doing a shallow cross.

Tony: What are the trends you see developing in college football.

James: I see the end of “pure systems”. Teams are combining parts of different systems to come up with hybrid systems. For a while everyone was in love with the Spread but as defenses saw more of it they started to defend it much more effectively. Now with the success of Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech you’ll see a lot more teams returning to the option or at least having it as part of their package. Things are very cyclical.

Tony: How do you see the role of an “athletic quarterback in college football today?

James: There is no doubt that having a QB that can make plays is a tremendous asset to an offense. Even if he’s not a great runner if he is mobile he can extend plays & buy the receivers time to get open. It also really helps the offensive line with their pass protection.

Tony: What if you don’t have an athletic quarterback?

James: Then you have to surround him with guys who can make plays. You have to surround him with playmakers and coach him up to make good decisions.

Tony: How did playing quarterback help you as a receiver coach and how did coaching receivers help you as a quarterback coach?

James: Playing QB helped me in decision making. And coaching receivers helped me learn the game from their perspective. I learned how to get open against various coverages. Then I learned how it all fits together. How the pattern and the protection must all fit. Timing & precision are keys to the pass game.

Tony: How will the “coach in waiting” status affect you?

James: It makes me see the big picture. Sometimes OCs are so interested in gaining yards & scoring points to further their career that they are too aggressive and actually hurt the team. As a head coach you have to take the approach of how can we win not how many points can we score or how many yards can we gain.

Tony: Any advice to young coaches?

James: #1Have a great work ethic – you are in control of how hard you work. #2Always have a positive mental attitude no one likes being around a complainer. #3Be competitive – compete in everything you do. #4 Sacrifice now for things you want later in life. The position & the experience are more important than the pay.

Tony: James thanks for the interview & best of luck this season.

James: Thanks for having me on your website.