Just had a chance to listen to (and speak to) new UM defensive line coach Jethro Franklin on a teleconference while he was en route to a small town outside Bakersfield, Calif., to do some recruiting.
Here's what he had to say, with the questions he was asked: "My name is Jethro Franklin. I’m starting my 21st year coaching the defensive line, so I’m awfully fired up. I have a passion for what I do."
How much have you seen of the kids you’re going to have and impressions?
"I was able to observe a couple days during their bowl prep and I was satisfied with what I saw. Guys were really ambitious about wanting to get better and that’s the whole thing. Coach is doing a good job with them and guys were working hard and doing a nice job."
Obviously recruiting is a big part of the job. What are some of the areas you’ve recruited in the past and has coach golden talked about where you might be in charge of as far as a certain area?
"Right now we’re just getting ourselves together. Shoot, I’m on the road right now heading down to a little town right outside of Bakersfield, Calif,. going to look at a kid.
"We are just getting it together. Obviously I’ve recruited the West Coast so I’ve got a lot of ties out here. I recruited Virginia while I was at Temple. I recruited Texas a little bit, a little bit of Dallas, a little bit of Houston. We haven’t gotten into the specifics of who has what area. Right now we’re just going with what we have and know. I know this area so I’m kind of out here looking at guys and doing the best we can to ensure that guys want to come to the University of Miami. But I’m sure that once we get everyone on board that will be all handed out to us."
You’ve worked with Coach Carroll and Coach Golden in past. Can you talk about the way they recruit and their philosophy?
"I’ll talk about it a little bit. I won’t go too much into detail with it. Coach Golden obviously has a reputation of being a great recruiter and that’s evident in how well he’s organized and how well he goes after the target people... Coach Carroll in the same way. There are a lot of similarities there. He does a nice job, the same as Coach Golden, of targeting guys and doing an awesome job, of number one, evaluation. Both Coach Golden and Coach Carroll do an awesome job of evaluating talentfirst, getting as much information as we can on the prospect, digging down as deep as we can to find out anything in their history and all that good stuff. And obviously both guys have an eye for talent, so they’re both very, very similar in that way."
What were your impressions of the Sun Bowl game?
"I don’t want to comment on that a whole heck of a lot. Obviously we’ve got some work to do and that’s why we’re here. The guys played hard and it was just one of those situations. It’s kind of hard on the kids and the coaches as well. It’s kind of an awkward situation. It’s kind of hard to comment on that. We know that we have a job to do and everyone has to improve – offense, defense, special teams. We’re going to roll our sleeves up and we’re going to get to work."
Your personality, coaching style? What do you expect out of your players in practice and preparation?
“It’s kind of hard to talk about yourself. I just like to have fun, and fun comes in winning obviously in our profession. We know that in order for that to happen you have to have a tremendous amount of preparation. And also in order for that to happen, there are going to be some hard lessons learned in the process. So, you know, the whole goal is to win. I like to have fun, and again, fun is in winning. And we’re going to do what we have to do on the field to ensure that that happens. We’re going to practice hard, we’re going to finish things. We’re going to do a lot of little things. We’re going to make sure we cross the Ts and dot the Is and so when they play on game day it’ll hopefully be, uh, the game will be slowed down in a sense because of how fast we practice and how well we did things throughout the week of practice. And that’s kind of our expectations of the guys. As long as they come and give a good day’s work, they work hard, they finish, they take their coaching, they study the game, they study themselves, then what more can we ask for? If they do those things and do everything that we ask them in terms of contributing to winning, because that’s all we’re going to ask them to do, then we’ll have fine."
What is the difference between coaching in college and the NFL?
"Well, I would say it’s a different level from college to the NFL but the teaching is pretty much the same, to be honest with you. You're dealing obviously with a different pool of talent, you’re dealing with guys, obviously, who were elite at the college level and now you have them at the professional level but the teaching is pretty much the same. Getting them to play hard is never going to change. Getting them to finish plays is never going to change. Getting them to use proper techniques is never going to change. A big part is of it is communicating. The biggest difference now is obviously in the NFL you have the elite player as opposed to a guy who is an incoming freshman and doesn’t have it figured out yet or dealing with a walk-on or a player who has a potential of being a scholarship guy and getting him developed. But there’s still developmental stages at both levels.
You’re just dealing with a little different athlete.”
What do you tell kids you're recruiting about the University of Miami and their opportunities at the school?
"First and foremost, the University of Miami speaks for itself. You have a brand that is recognizable anywhere in the world so that in itself is very, very positive. Obviously, with the history and tradition of the university and all the great players that played there, that sells itself. My philosophy about recruiting is that it’s about relationships and trying to get close to people as much as I possibly can, developing a great relationship. Couple that with everything I stated earlier, that’s kind of how I go at it.”
How difficult is it to get started in recruiting this late in the process?
"The difficult part is all the rules we had to adhere to with the one phone call and all that. We’re starting a period with unlimited calls. The main thing is with the brand with the ‘U’ and all the history and tradition. Obviously it’s a marvelous place to be. But again, building those relationships is the biggest challenge. We’re doing everything we can, I’m doing everything we can to do that. I’ve been here before so I feel real confident about getting that done.”
What is your take about the defensive line depth?
"I won’t comment a whole lot on that, either. The main thing is we’re constantly trying to develop [depth], there’s no question about it. We all know we’re only as good as our weakest link. That’s why our job as coaches it to develop players and to develop them to the point where we have to make tough decisions on who is going to be the starters because they’re all that good. Hopefully we get to that point. So our depth is going to be crucial, no doubt about it, as we get going here. Our philosophy at Temple and most places I’ve been as a D-line coach is to play as many guys as you can to keep guys fresh. Obviously, the development of our depth is going to be crucial for us to implement that plan.”
Do you think there’s enough depth at defensive tackle or will you have to address that in recruiting?
"Oh yeah, you’re never [going to] go a year without recruiting defensive linemen. I mean they’re premier guys and you have to make sure you have a nice supply on hand in there and ready to get better. That’s always going to be…You have to make sure you recruit those guys that are difference makers.”