Vanderbilt coach takes question on dismissed players
Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Vanderbilt University head football coach James Franklin spoke to the media Thursday for the first time since four players were kicked off the team amid an ongoing Metro police sex crime investigation.
He told a gathering at the annual SEC media days in Hoover, Alabama, coaches must talk to their players about "making the right choices, constantly, over and over and over."
The coach cautioned that he was limited in what he could say about the four players; Brandon Banks, Corey Batey, Brandon Vandenberg and "Tip" McKenzie.
"I can't get into any discussion, it's an ongoing investigation," he said in his appearance, which was broadcast on ESPNU, adding, "We are focusing on getting ready for the season."
The subject of the players' dismissals did not come up until the sixth question Franklin took from the podium when WKRN.com's Joe Biddle asked about investigation.
In his opening statement, Franklin said, "Our biggest challenge is handling success," but he did not directly address the off-the-field incidents which followed an unprecedented 9-4 season and two straight bowl appearances.
Franklin's appearance drew a small crowd at Sam's, a sports bar barely a football field away from the Vanderbilt campus in Hillsboro Village.
"He's kind of hampered by what he can say because of the investigation," said Jim Witherow, "but I think he handled himself well."
Those words were echoed by Metro Schools teacher Cornelius Hill.
"He was poised, he addressed everything that needed to be addressed properly and appropriately," Hill told Nashville's News 2.
Franklin began his appearance before the SEC media by touting his incoming freshman recruits as having "highest GPA we have ever had."
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