Vanderbilt working to keep James Franklin from Penn State, NFL

Stacy Revere

The Commodores are once again fighting to keep their football coach from heading elsewhere.

Vanderbilt managed to ward off potential suitors for James Franklin during his first two seasons as head coach, but with some high-profile openings within college football, plus some interested parties in the NFL, the task is getting tougher. Still, Vandy athletics director David Williams remains optimistic that the school will be able to retain Franklin.

Williams said Monday that he is willing to re-work Franklin's contract, and that he's approaching things as though the coach isn't going anywhere.

"I expect James to be our football coach. I'm planning on it," Williams said. "We're looking at facilities. We're working on some stuff. I have all thoughts that he's going to be our football coach. I'll do everything I can to make sure that he is."

Franklin had reportedly been considered by Texas Longhorns officials for their head coaching job (since filled by Charlie Strong), and the latest from both CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman and Football Scoop indicates that Penn State is zeroing in on him. Penn State athletics director Dave Joyner released this statement about the Nittany Lions' coaching search on Tuesday:

"The search for the new leader of the Penn State football program is progressing very well. We are on schedule and I anticipate having the new head coach in place in a matter of days. The search is robust as we anticipated it would be and we have an excellent pool of candidates. I have heard from many coaches, or their representatives, who have expressed their interest in the position."

In addition to the potential opportunity at Penn State, Franklin has reportedly gotten interview requests from the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. He also reportedly interviewed for the vacant Houston Texans job, which was later given to now-former Penn State coach Bill O'Brien.

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