Penn State is coming off an incredible year where they captured a Big Ten title and went down to the wire with USC in one of the most memorable Rose Bowl games in recent memory.
The challenge for James Franklin and his staff started as soon as the 2016-17 season ended - how to re-motivate his players and keep them hungry and focused on a new season with new teammates.
Out on the off season speaking circuit around Pennsylvania, James Franklin gave a brief look into how he approaches that monumental task with his team to reporters.
"I talk about this to the team all the time: I don't believe in setting goals. Because once you reach that goal, it's human nature to take a deep breath and say, 'I've arrived,'" James Franklin explained according to Penn Live.
"But there's no time for that. It's just not how I'm wired. It's not how I came up in this profession. It's not how I was raised, either by my family as well as coaches I've had."
"We have taken one step in a very long journey. For the programs we want to compete with - academically, socially, spiritually - we've still got a long ways to go. We took a really nice step. But it's gonna be scratching and clawing and fighting to get where we wanna go."
The legacy of many great coaches across all sports is built on how they get their team to respond after successful seasons. Elite coaches and leaders find a way to get their guys successfully block out the noise and put in the work to be even better than last year's team. While many other coaches out there fall short of that vision and underachieve in the years that follow great seasons.
Nick Saban has been able to maintain a spot near the top of college football year in and year out for well over a decade now by focusing on "the process," and getting his players to buy into the same. Once they mastered that mindset, they re-focused on that process after a successful year to fight the complacency that often accompanies teams at the top of the proverbial food chain. In the years that have followed other coaches have found a way to follow a similar blueprint by being true to themselves and putting their own spin on it. Saban wasn't the first to do it, but he's certainly one that most remember, and no one forgets about the phrase "the process" that can be heard at nearly every one of his pressers.
Yet still, many other coaches out there believe in the value of goal setting and giving their players in their program a goal to strive to achieve. There's not a right or wrong answer to this, but it's intriguing to see coaches have success with each approach, and I have questions for guys on both sides of the fence (like how do goal setting programs manage moments where a goal becomes impossible to reach?).
Personally? I'm in the Franklin and Saban camp and choose to focus on the ROOT before the FRUIT, as Jon Gordon says. Where do you and your program fall on goal setting? Would love to hear from you via Twitter @CoachSamz or via email at email@example.com.