While the departure of Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin to Vanderbilt leaves the Terps’ future leadership in limbo, it’s not a bad thing.
In fact, it’s refreshing.
Maryland is no longer stuck with a messy coach-in-waiting plan. Franklin is no longer stuck waiting for a coach who doesn’t want to leave. And first-year athletic director Kevin Anderson didn’t have to pay $1 million for it all to happen.
Maryland fans should be thanking Franklin.
Yes, his decision will have a significant impact on recruiting. Franklin has earned a reputation as a tireless recruiter, and his return to College Park coincided with a rejuvenated effort to lure better athletes from within the state and the surrounding areas. Recruiting had been at the heart of Maryland’s struggles, but Franklin had started to help reverse that trend. It’s going to be difficult to continue that because nobody on the staff can promise anyone anything beyond 2011.
Coach Ralph Friedgen earned himself at least one more year at Maryland with his Coach of the Year performance this season, but beyond that, Anderson has a refrigerator-sized decision to make. Franklin just helped make it a little bit easier. Friedgen now becomes the focus moving forward, and Anderson brings a fresh perspective as to whether or not Friedgen is the right man to continue leading Maryland. The Washington Post reported that Anderson could pay Friedgen $2 million to retire now. He could also further extend Friedgen’s contract to help give the program some stability in recruiting. Or, he could use 2011 to figure it all out and start over in 2012.
Franklin's departure closed one door but opened several others. He left College Park before anyone had a chance to figure out if he was the right choice as Maryland’s head coach.
The question for Anderson now becomes, is Friedgen?