DESTIN, Fla. - James Franklin was a fairly anonymous first-year coach at last year's SEC meetings. Thanks to his mouth and his record, that has changed.
The Vanderbilt head coach led his tradition-lacking team to a bowl, and also generated plenty of headlines outside his state.
Especially in Georgia.
Everyone has probably seen the video of Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham following the game. And during a recent fan event, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said he expected this year's game against Vanderbilt to have "a little vinegar."
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So at Tuesday's SEC meetings, I put the question to Franklin this way: When you play Georgia this year, when you run across Todd Grantham, what are you gonna say?
"Well actually, I think our coaches have run across each other in Georgia a bunch and had some good conversations," Franklin said. "But to me, again, I'm a very emotional, passionate guy. This is personal to me. But on the same hand I'm a guy who once things happen I move on. I have tremendous respect for coach Richt and that program. I have respect for coach Grantham as well and what he's trying to do. I think coach Grantham was trying to do everything he could to support his players and show them that he had his back. And I was doing the same. And those things happen from time to time."
It was pointed out to Franklin that the brouhaha could have benefited both parties: Recruits and their parents saw two coaches who were vociferously defending their players.
"Yeah I don't know, I can't speak for them," Franklin said, before adding: "I think it has been a little bit of a positive for Vanderbilt, in terms of just watching us compete and fight every week. Someone mentioned to me earlier, it wasn't just the wins we had, it was how competitive we were, week in and week out in each game. And that's people noticed. When you take Georgia to the wire, when you play very competitive against Florida, and you take Arkansas to the wire, I think that's what really had an impact for us, more than anything."
Vanderbilt is more in the discussion in general. Franklin didn't come out and say that was by design, but it clearly doesn't hurt his cause.
"There's a lot more conversations, from what I'm told, about Vanderbilt, than maybe there ever was in the past. Or in the recent past," he said.