First call: Coaches rank Penn State’s James Franklin as most-overrated | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz
Penn State head coach James Franklin yells during an NCAA college football practice, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in State College, Pa. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP)

In Monday’s “First Call,” Penn State’s James Franklin was deemed overrated as a coach, the Bengals release George Iloka and a legend could make a comeback.


James Franklin overrated?

Penn State’s James Franklin has been deemed one of two the most overrated coaches in college football.

He and Florida State’s Willie Taggart were tagged with that designation in an anonymous poll of coaches across the country by CBS Sports.

Writer Chip Patterson says they talked to “one-fifth of the 129 Division 1 coaches.” So that’s roughly 25 or 26 coaches. So based on those results, about five or six each said Franklin or Taggart.

Here are a few comments: “James Franklin. His coaching peers know he is full of it.”

“When (Franklin) got the Penn State job, I thought, ‘Man, he’s a good marketer.’ He did a nice job with that. It’ll be interesting without Saquon (Barkley). He’s underrated. He turns a lot of no(-gain) plays into 60-yard touchdowns.”

So Franklin is overrated and Barkley is underrated? Who ever underrated Barkley?!

Under Franklin, the Nittany Lions just finished back-to-back 11-win seasons. In his first two years, they went 7-6 after going 7-5 in Bill O’Brien’s last year.

I get why Franklin rubs his peers the wrong way. As suggested in those comments, he can be an annoying self-promoter. But to say overrated would be a stretch given where Penn State is now as opposed to where the program was after the coaching change while still emerging from the sanctions.

Furthermore, it’s not like Penn State automatically recruits itself anymore.


Landry’s ‘dirty’ block

Here’s where the NFL players get themselves in trouble. As many players are calling for the league to loosen restrictions on tackling, many in Buffalo are complaining about this block from Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry on their teammate Lorenzo Alexander.

The officials, who call everything a penalty these days, didn’t throw a flag there. They either didn’t see it, or the crew didn’t deem it to be a crack back because it was along the line of scrimmage. It wasn’t like the classic crack back Hines Ward hit on Keith Rivers that helped inspire the rule change.

The point being, we can’t complain about eliminating physicality from the game … until it happens to our own team, then say it’s time to take big hits like that out of the game.


Remember him?

One of the many Bengals who Steelers fans love to hate is a free agent now.

Cincinnati released safety George Iloka. He is the safety who laid out Antonio Brown with this memorable hit in the end zone.

The move is being viewed as a surprise by many. Apparently, Cincy is high on rookie Jessie Bates. He is a second-round pick out of Wake Forrest who some thought the Steelers might be interested in taking.


Return of AP?

During this preseason, no team has been hit harder by injury at one position than the Redskins have been at running back.

They lost rookie Derrius Guice to an ACL injury. Then Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall got ankle injuries.

Now running back legend Adrian Peterson may be trying to make a comeback in Washington. The former Vikings All-Pro most recently played with the Cardinals.

He averaged just 3.4 yards per carry last year. One-time Kansas City star Jamaal Charles is also getting a look in D.C.


Big Al with big stars

No doubt that “Big Al” Delia has become the big star of the Little League World Series. Now baseball celebrities are lining up to be seen with him on social media.

The latest is Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins.

Just like Big Al, Hoskins is a fan of “hitting dingers” too. He leads the Phillies with 25 this year.

Hoskins and his Philly teammates were in Williamsport for the LLWS game. The Pirates will be in it for a second time next year. They’ll play the Cubs. Last year, the Pirates beat the Cardinals, 6-3.

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