Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin looks to the stands while walking around Beaver Stadium prior to the game Illinois Fighting Illini. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tale of two coaching rumor responses on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was the subject of rumors related to the USC and LSU head coaching jobs. In response, Tomlin was about as emphatic as possible, making it clear that he is offended by the very idea.

Meanwhile, Penn State head coach James Franklin has also been the subject of the same coaching rumors. While Franklin has bristled at questions about his interest in coaching elsewhere, a report that he’s changed his representation to a high-powered agent who represents most of the coaches in the SEC seems to have ignited speculation that he’s angling for the LSU job.

Tuesday, when he had the chance to clear the air, Franklin gave a very generic, coachspeak-y rebuttal to the rumors, to the point where he didn’t even get the name of his next opponent right.

“My focus is completely on Illinois, and this team, and this program,” Franklin said. “I think I’ve shown over my 8 years my commitment to this university and this community. And that’s kind of my statement.”

That non-answer answer is what we have come to expect from head coaches before they leave their current job for a new one, so Franklin didn’t really do himself any favors. And the fact that he did it on the same day Mike Tomlin showed us how it’s done only made the spotlight shine brighter on him.

Penn State fans are wary of Franklin and they have every right to be, especially as the Nittany Lions continue to falter following a solid run earlier in his tenure. If things keep trending in the current direction, Franklin might not have much of a choice but to look elsewhere for new employment anyway.

[David Jones]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.