Stephanie Pedersen commentary: With all due respect to women out there, I know what Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin was trying to say

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comJune 1, 2012 

How does that football taste, James Franklin?

Taste anything like bacon?

By now, most in the college football world have heard Vanderbilt's football coach say and try to retract that he doesn't hire assistant coaches without seeing their wives.

In case you missed it, this is what he said during a radio interview with 104.5 The Zone's "3HL."

"I've been saying it for a long time: I will not hire an assistant coach until I've seen his wife," Franklin said. "If she looks the part, and she's a D-1 recruit, then you got a chance to get hired. That's part of the deal.

"There's a very strong correlation between having the confidence, going up and talking to a woman, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being fun and articulate, than it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling him."

The apology story can be found on C6 of today's sports section.

With all due respect to the women out there, I know what Franklin was trying to say.

He did a terrible job saying it, but I get it.

He was referencing "Moneyball," a film Brad Pitt stars in as a general manager for the Oakland Athletics baseball club.

At one point, a scout quips, "Ugly girlfriend means no confidence."

Franklin was comparing talking to an attractive woman to talking with a Division I recruit.

Not exactly the same thing for most of us, but, in the college football world, a five-star athlete gives head coaches butterflies over and over.

I'm sure Vanderbilt was embarrassed by his behavior, but it could be worse.

He could have been on the back of a motorcycle with a hot, young thing he recently hired.

One thing it does shine some light on is how important recruiting is for college football assistant coaches. They have to be more than a great coach on and off the field.

They have to be a great coach on thousands of couches across the country. It isn't just about the athlete. They have to win over moms and dads, too.

They offer the world to kids and families just for the chance of getting them on the field.

It's never been more of a business than it is right now.

And while Franklin was talking about the coaches and not necessarily the wives, the coaches' other halves now play a role in recruiting.

Terry Saban, Nick Saban's wife, plays a key part in Alabama's recruiting, no doubt about it.

Recruits' parents come away with stories of Terry's cooking and talks in the "recruiting room." Those aren't spur-of-the-moment dinners. Everything is done for a specific reason.

There's a common goal among college football coaches, and it's simply to win on the field.

And, according to Franklin, if you win on the field, you are probably winning off the field.

A pig is a pig is a pig.

Stephanie Pedersen, spedersen@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8502

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