- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Vanderbilt coach James Franklin isn't afraid to speak his mind or defend his team.
His energy and enthusiasm have made the Commodores relevant during his successful two years in Nashville, and he has people respecting Vandy's football program like never before. And it's paid off on the football field and in the recruiting world.
But he's received some backlash after sending out a tweet in March that said, "No 1 can offer combination of attributes we can,no 1,best of both worlds,if u want 2 settle in life this probably isn't place 4 u anyway!" hours before highly sought after running back prospect Jalen Hurd publicly committed to Tennessee.
It wasn't the perceived bitterness that stirred people up as much as his "if u want 2 settle in life this probably isn't place 4 u anyway!" ending.
Well, Franklin was asked about the tweet during an appearance on the Midday 180 show on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville earlier this week and things got a little testy between Franklin and one of the hosts.
Host: "Do you believe if a player you are recruiting decides to go elsewhere that they are settling in life by not going to play for Vanderbilt?"
Franklin with a laugh: "You're a beauty. What I found funny about that whole thing is that's really been a consistent theme with us about having the ability to come to Vanderbilt and chase all your dreams at the highest level. If you look at the graduation rate, I think they speak for themselves. People can try to create this into a story. The graduation rates speak volumes when you look at what these schools are doing, other schools."
Franklin sidestepped the question pretty well, so the host asked him again, and this was Franklin's response:
"You're real interesting (Franklin laughing). What I'm telling you is Vanderbilt is an unbelievable opportunity and if you look at graduation rates -- people should be ashamed of themselves when they look at graduation rates what's going on in this country. And Vanderbilt can give you an opportunity like very few places can. That's what I'm saying. You can put words -- you can say whatever you want. That's what I'm saying."
The subject was brought up again and Franklin got defensive again and asked the host to "relax" before saying that he "didn't realize I was coming on this show to get jumped and try to create problems."
But when you make a comment like that, you have to expect to receive a question like that.
The whole thing was a little uncomfortable, but Franklin made it a point to say that he was just standing up for Vanderbilt, something he's always done. And he added that it sounds like there are people who are offended by a coach who will "fight and stand up for Vanderbilt."
It's not the standing up for Vandy that upset people, though, it was that one little word: settling.
Franklin is a fiery guy. He's passionate about his school and his players. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but he has to be prepared for these kinds of questions when he spits out comments like he did.
And he did dodge the question about "settling." He could have explained or defended his tweet in a better way. He said his tweet didn't have to do with a specific recruit and that he was only standing up for Vandy, but he didn't say one way or the other if players who didn't commit to Vandy were settling, and people are going to hold that against him.
Franklin's passion is refreshing, but it sometimes comes with controversy, which is fine. But as long as Franklin says things like this, he'll have to deal with questions like the one that turned him off.
4dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf