Vanderbilt's James Franklin
was glad to be the only James Franklin at SEC Media Days this year. (AP)
HOOVER, Ala. -- James Franklin wore his new fame well Tuesday, opening his SEC Media Days segment by fondly reminiscing about entering the conference center unnoticed last year -- until he had to walk around with Nick Saban. "People were throwing babies at him." (No word on whether the babies connected with their intended receiver.) Franklin doesn't envy the attention paid to his rock-star colleagues: "When you take the Vanderbilt job, you have to understand it's going to be about so much more than the X's and O's and the fundamentals. It's about marketing your program." This year, despite Vanderbilt's increased profile, the coach will be confused all season with a new conference-mate, Missouri quarterback James Franklin. "I was very appreciative to Coach Pinkel for not bringing him this year."
Vandy's Franklin made headlines last season merely by taking the Commodores
to a bowl, but got off on the wrong foot with coaches at Tennessee and Georgia. And any hopes that he'd speak to either of those spicy postgame incidents were quickly dashed by clipped words. On Tennessee: "Our focus is not on any certain game or rivalry." That said, "I don't really consider it a rivalry. It has to be a lot more competitive." Pressed for an answer regarding his feelings on Georgia DC Todd Grantham, Franklin threw up some more coachspeak bricks: "We have tremendous respect for all the programs in this conference, all the coaches, all the players, and our focus is on [Week 1 opponent] South Carolina. And that's all we're really gonna talk about. Myself as well as our players. But I will say this: You play Vanderbilt, you be ready to play." (And to do a little midfield posturing after the whistle.)