NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams says James Franklin remains the Commodores' football coach as of Thursday afternoon and that Franklin has informed him that he has not accepted another job offer.
Several media outlets have reported that Franklin has an offer from Penn State that he is expected to accept it within 48 hours, or as early as Thursday afternoon.
Williams told The Associated Press that he has heard all of the reports and knows that Penn State officials have been talking with Franklin.
The Vanderbilt athletic director says Franklin called him earlier Thursday to tell him reports the coach had accepted another job were "inaccurate." Williams says that as of 2:45 p.m. EST that Franklin "is Vanderbilt's football coach."
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is expected to take the Penn State job, according to CBSSports.com and ESPN.
Vanderbilt athletics director David Williams said that he had not talked to Franklin today and that Franklin was still Vanderbilt's football coach.
Williams said he last talked to Franklin on Wednesday night.
Franklin did not return calls seeking comment.
Vanderbilt defensive end Kyle Woestmann said the players had been told nothing regarding Franklin as of 11:50 a.m.
"Yeah, it's all still up in the air," he said.
But there was already some reaction from the Vanderbilt football team on Twitter.
Lineman Andrew Jelks tweeted: "I've never seen a coach make a tackle, block, or catch a pass.. We gonna be just fine Vandy Nation.. Believe that #ANCHORDOWN"
Running back Brian Kimbrow tweeted: "Time to gather the troops and go to work! It's simple we know what success feels like and it's well appreciated....We know how to win!!!"
Woestmann tweeted: "Football is a business. James Franklin is a good man. If you can't be positive, don't be a part of #Vandynation. Thanks."
Penn State defensive end Brad Bars, a Montgomery Bell Academy graduate, said that Penn State players have been informed in a football group text that "nothing is official yet" regarding a new coach. The text noted that the players would be the first to know, Bars said.
The Scranton (Pa.) Times Tribune reported there was an hours-long meeting Wednesday between Franklin and the search committee in Destin, Fla.
Dozens of reporters gathered at University Park Airport in State College, Pa., before 10 p.m. to see Penn State President Rodney Erickson and athletics director Dave Joyner exit a flight from Destin, Fla., according to media reports, including The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa. Franklin was not on the plane.
Franklin has a house in Destin, according to Williams.
Williams confirmed Wednesday that Franklin is out of town with his family taking a couple of days off that were planned in advance.
Williams said he did not know Franklin's exact whereabouts.
"I don't know about any planes," Williams said. "We have texted, short texts, so I've been in touch with him (Wednesday). I don't know exactly where he is. They do have a place in Destin. They could be there. It's possible they could be going to visit relatives.
"We haven't talked about anything (regarding interviews). The way I see this, until I know something different or am told something different, James is our football coach. I'm clearly proceeding with that approach."
Franklin did not return several messages on Wednesday but posted a message at 8:43 p.m. on Twitter:
"Just got done my most important job, putting our 2 girls to bed & making sure they know how much their dad loves them! Family first!"
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday night that while the Washington Redskins reached out to Franklin, he does not have an interview scheduled with them and his decision will come down to Vanderbilt or Penn State. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported earlier in the day that Franklin was set to interview with the Redskins today in Virginia.
Left waiting for some form of resolution with his coach, Williams spoke on local radio stations Wednesday, praising Franklin and offering Vanderbilt's case to keep him.
He even declared he would be willing to shave his head if it would help Franklin remain in Nashville.
Williams said that Vanderbilt could and would be competitive in what it offers Franklin to stay. He said that the plans for more facility and stadium upgrades are still on track -- although changing timelines for those projects is difficult due to the design and construction process.
"I don't think any of this has to do with what you do and what they (other schools) do," Williams said.
"James is fully aware of what Vanderbilt can and is willing to do. What is a top 25 program? Well, I think we're now a top 25 program. You (Franklin) made us a top 25 program. You don't have to go anywhere to be at a top 25 program."
Vanderbilt alumnus and PGA golfer Brandt Snedeker offered his services, via Twitter, in a light-hearted effort to entice Franklin to remain on West End: "Sweetening the offer to keep @jamesfranklinvu here.. Free golf lessons for life if he stays.. Impossible to turn down!! #bestcoachanywhere"
If Franklin is going to leave, it would help Vanderbilt for things to move along quickly with national signing day on Feb. 5 and a recruiting class in limbo.
"If there's going to be a change, then yeah, that needs to happen pretty quickly," Williams said. "But that's like trying to figure out who you're going to marry if your wife goes away.
"We're reacting to things that you guys have heard. I haven't heard them. I'm going about my business at Vanderbilt. If and when I find out something different, I'll know. I don't think the ball is in (Franklin's) court. But maybe it is. Maybe it is if something is going to happen."
Franklin, 41, has led the Commodores to a 24-15 record and three consecutive bowl games.
No other Vanderbilt coach has guided the program to more than one bowl.
Vanderbilt has won nine games in back-to-back seasons and consecutive bowl games for the first time.
This season also was the first time the Commodores beat Georgia, Florida and Tennessee in the same year.
Franklin's roots are in Pennsylvania, where he quarterbacked East Stroudsburg in the early 1990s and later served as an assistant coach there.
Reach Jeff Lockridge at 615-259-8023 or email@example.com.