BOCA RATON – An Owl for less than two weeks, Auburn transfer John Franklin believes he’s picked up the offense quickly enough to play a significant role in Friday’s FAU season-opener against Navy.
“I expect to play a lot,” Franklin said. “When (offensive coordinator Kendal) Briles talked to me, he expected me to play a lot. I know what I’m doing so I’m able to play fast now.”
Franklin is a redshirt senior who brings the kind of speed rarely – if ever – seen on Howard Schnellenberger Field, having run a 4.25 40-yard dash at Auburn during the spring.
The transition to FAU, Franklin says, was aided by Briles’ offense being easy to learn and the assertion that Franklin, a former quarterback, is almost as fast at picking up offenses as he is at racing down the sideline.
“I’ve got a pretty good grasp of it,” Franklin said of the playbook. “The whole game plan I know, and I’ve only been here a week.”
Confident as Franklin is – he added that he’s still trying to pick up certain aspects of the offense, but not as much as he expected – FAU coach Lane Kiffin doesn’t seem to share the same level of enthusiasm.
Franklin switched to wide receiver during the spring after losing Auburn’s QB battle, so he’s new to the position overall. And by kick-off Franklin will only have practiced for two weeks with the Owls’ quarterbacks.
Following Friday’s final scrimmage Kiffin lumped Franklin in with the group of players who have been members of the team for a month or less, cautioning the media against expecting to see them on the field for too many plays against Navy.
“It does take time,” Kiffin said.
The Owls’ three-way quarterback battle has also limited Franklin’s ability to build the necessary timing with any one signal caller. Like the rest of the Owls, Franklin headed into Wednesday’s walk-through without knowing which quarterback will start or how many quarterbacks will play on Friday.
Of course, Franklin, having been involved in multiple college quarterback battles, can offer advice to Jason Driskel, Daniel Parr and De’Ande Johnson.
“It’s tough, but you’ve got to just be able to control what you can control,” Franklin said. “You can’t really get caught up in all that stuff because it will cause you to play bad. You’re not the one making decisions, so why stress over it?”