Monday, July 18, 2011

James Franklin's not trying to be a standup comedian, but he is looking for playmakers

Just listened to a recording of James Franklin's interview last week with 104.5 in Nashville, from which we can learn a few things:

1. His goal is NOT to become a media darling this week in Birmingham. Remember the star of SEC Media Days last year? Yes, everybody fell in love with the homespun turkey inseminator, Robbie Caldwell, who was apparently thought he was on an episode of "Hee Haw."

2. The quarterback job is Larry Smith's to lose. Sure, everybody's excited about Jordan Rodgers and the workout video he made with his Super Bowl champion brother. But Franklin was quick to point out last week that he still hasn't seen Rodgers play, and until he does, he can't really compare him to Larry. He did say that he feels he has two QBs in Larry and Jordan who can compete in the SEC. Expect him to repeat this over and over again this week in Birmingham. He also said he's looking forward to developing the young quarterbacks.

3. Expect to see Josh Grady and Lafonte Thourogood play as true freshmen, but not necessarily as quarterbacks. Franklin didn't say this. But he did say that (1) the team has a shortage of offensive playmakers and (2) that the young quarterbacks need development. Jordan Matthews can be a big-time SEC receiver, he said, and he's working on ways to get the ball to Brandon Barden, whom he recruited while a Maryland assistant, but he still needs playmakers. While true freshman Jacquese Kirk is listed as a receiver and could be an immediate upgrade over John Cole and Udom Umoh, Thourogood is likely the best receiver prospect on the team, and Grady by all accounts is an electrifying ball carrier with a knack for getting himself out of jams. Both have apparently been promised a shot at QB, but in the meantime expect them to get their hands on the ball as receivers or in the wildcat.

4. Expect to see some defenders get a shot to play offense. Kirk's best position, at least in high school, was cornerback but his first stop on the Vandy practice field will be at wide receiver. Likewise, Dillon van der Wal was a sackmaster at defensive end in high school, but he's listed at tight end. Sure, we've already got Brandon Barden, but who can resist the idea of a 6-foot-7 kid jumping for the ball in the red zone? And while Darien Bryant is a long athlete capable of packing on pounds and playing all over the field, it appears he'll get his first shot at playing time either as a pass-catching tight end, H-back or wide receiver. Also, don't be surprised if defensive backs Derek King or Jahmel McIntosh gets some touches in practice. At 195 pounds, King is an SEC-ready cornerback who could be starting by season's end, but at the least he'll get some reps as a return man.


Anonymous said...

Dimon, I wonder how many true freshman actually started at least 3 games in the SEC in 2010? My guess is more at the "skill positions" than the OL or front 7 on defense.


Yes, it always takes longer to develop linemen. None of our top RBs (Stacy, Norman), WRs (Tate, Matthews) or DBs (Hayward, Richardson, Foster, Samuels, Wilson, Hal, Clarke, Simmons, Ladler, Butler) ever redshirted.

Last year, injuries forced us to play Stewart, Kittredge and Morse as true freshmen.

Anonymous said...

Dimon, I notice that nothing was mention about Krause. As a freshman, I think he did well too and brought some excitement to the receiving core... What's your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous regarding Krause. I think he (Krause)looks very solid and I would not be surprised to see both Krause and Boyb do very well the 1st 2-4 games as defense focus on Mathews since he appears to be getting most of the early hype out of the wr's. I think our skill guys at WR and RB will be really good this season. The key will be no major injuries on the offensive line and LS having a good season. I think that LS being an experienced senior will really help this offense early in the season. It's really impossible to evaluate Jordan Rogers as a playmaking QB since he has not thrown an sec pass. No doubt that CJF has a very talented group of young playmakers on offense and defense.


As you can see by my latest post, Krause is mentioned in the new media guide as an explosive playmaker. While he's not listed in ink yet as a starter, he'll almost certainly be a go-to guy in our offense this year. He's also added nearly 15 pounds since coming to Vandy last year.