Franklin Green was an offensive juggernaut in the 2006 season. The Jenkins Warriors' running back carried the ball 175 times and picked up 1,920 yards. That's an amazing 11 yards a carry and helped him take home the WTOC Offensive Player of the Year trophy.
He did all that while also playing defense. So what does he do for an encore. "I believe making it to the playoffs is bigger than my stats. I'd love to make it to the playoffs," says Green. "And if I get more than 1800 yards, I'll be pleased."
It's that kind of production and team-first attitude that compelled the University of Florida to offer scholarships to Green and teammate Chaz Sutton. "Me and Chaz thought that was the best place we could probably play together," says Green. "The coaching staff has a very close bond with players. I like the coaching style, also. They say they pass the ball a lot, but he said why run the ball and the reason why they don't run the ball."
That family type atmosphere at Florida is especially intriguing to Green who is growing up in foster care.
Green is a game changer who strikes fear in the hearts of all opposing defenses every time he touches the ball. "Franklin is a playmaker," says Coach Tim Adams. "He has been blessed with physical ability most of us don't have. He's fast, he has good balance, he‘s got power and he‘s got good vision. He's a phenomenal athlete and when the game is on the line, he's a competitor."
But, early last season, Green was plagued by fumbles, putting the ball on the ground so often that it was almost nullifying his yardage. But, in the second half of the season, that all changed. "We worked real hard with him," says Adams. "He refuses to go down and a couple of those times, he fumbled when he was trying to get more and more. He settled down after those few games and did well after that."
"I don't like giving up when I get touched," says Green. "So I like to break that tackle and get the extra yards. I'm learning to go down and just hold on to the ball."
The improvement should continue this season, "I went to a few camps and the coaches were telling me how to carry the ball," says Green. "I now have a new carrying style. I give it (the ball) a lot of protection, hold it on my chest. Now, I don't swing the ball around like I used to. I learned how to hold on to it tighter."
Most offensive minded players don't like to play defense, but Green is not like that. He relishes the time he spends on defense. "I keep asking my coach to play defense," says Green. "I love playing defense for some reason. It's a fun thing to do once in a while, I love to play offense. I just like to go out there and help my defense if I can. If I can get out there and help them by stopping the quarterback, or getting in the way, then I'll do that. I just love to rush off the end and get to the quarterback."
Green and Sutton team up on the defensive side of the ball to cause havoc among opposing offenses. Do Green and Sutton ever have a little friendly competition to see who gets the most sacks. "Oh, we'll have a lot of that this year," says Green, who thinks he'll win those battles.
A year ago the Warriors were a surprising 5-5, just missing the playoffs, losing close Region 3-AAAAA games to Bradwell Institute (20-13), Windsor Forest (14-7) and Groves (20-14). Will that experience help them this season, "It will help us a lot," says Green. "Now we have our passion, we love to go out there and play, we don't just go out there and run around. We go out there to play football."
That may serve as notice to the rest of Region 3-AAAAA that Jenkins will be on the war path in 2007.
Reported by: Rick Snow, firstname.lastname@example.org