Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is the clear front-runner for the Penn State job, per colleague Bruce Feldman, and the Commodores are ready to compete for a coveted coach who's also received NFL looks.
Vanderbilt athletics director David Williams spoke with Franklin twice on Monday and a potential offer from Penn State was not part of the conversation. A primary topic was the mid-year recruits coming to the school.
When asked about Franklin re-upping contractually to stay at Vanderbilt -- which has revised Franklin's deal in each of his first two offseasons there -- Williams said he's expecting as much.
"I expect James to be our football coach. I'm planning on it," Williams said. "We're looking at facilities. We're working on some stuff. I have all thoughts that he's going to be our football coach. I'll do everything I can to make sure that he is."
Franklin, who was in Pasadena on Monday as part of ESPN's national championship game coverage, has posted back-to-back 9-4 seasons, including a 16-4 mark in the school's last 20 games.
Another twist in the story is the lure of Penn State. A source close to Franklin says the Vandy coach is very intrigued by chance to chase titles at a storied program and the job would be difficult to pass up.
Still, it's clear Vandy is putting on a full-court press.
Franklin already makes $3-plus-million per year at Vanderbilt and has worked with Williams to usher in facility upgrades. Fan support has been an issue but it's noteworthy the Commodores sold nearly 13,000 tickets from its BBVA Compass Bowl allotment by late December.
Meanwhile, Penn State said in a statement today it could have a hire in a matter of days and has conducted a 'robust' search. Former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak is also considered a candidate.