RUSTON, La. - Even though Louisiana Tech's offense finished the year in the top half of FBS teams at number 49, its offensive coordinator, Tony Franklin never seemed satisfied as he felt like his offense could be better. In 2011, Franklin has a much different demeanor heading into the season, confident.
Yesterday following day three of fall camp, head coach Sonny Dykes mentioned that they break the offense into thirds and install one-third of the offense in each of the first three days. Given yesterday was day three, Tech has installed its entire offense and now it is on to perfecting the offense.
Franklin says they are way ahead of where they were at this time last season and credits it to the players being in the system for a year.
"We're miles ahead of where we were [last year]. The guys understand how to practice and compete day in and day out, they understand the offense and the tempo, the flow, and the philosophy and all that," Franklin said.
Franklin says he is pleased over with the installation of his offense but yesterday, the offense as a whole started horribly and that typically offenses finish how they start practice; yesterday was no different in his eyes.
"[The installation is going] good. The normal installation stuff, where you have good days then you have horrible days like we had today. We dropped balls when we were going through our routes on air. Usually you'll practice the way you start and we started horribly and then we didn't catch the ball throughout the day then you look bad, Franklin said. "When you don't have the pads on you can't run the football, it's impossible to block people without pads on. It was an ugly day, but overall I've been pleased. I think we've got good talent in the right places and we're going to be a good football team."
Last season there was a bit of a quarterback carousel during the season. Franklin says they saw all they needed to see in the spring from the guys who did not come out on top like Colby Cameron did so true freshman Nick Isham has come in and been given a chance to win the starting job.
"We went through the other guys [quarterbacks] in the spring and Colby came out. We told those guys, 'the freshman coming in [Isham], we're going to give him a chance when he gets here and if we think he's better than you guys then he'll compete and he'll have a chance to win the job,;" Franklin said.
Overall, Franklin has been pleased with the progression of both Isham and Cameron. He believes Isham has made Cameron a better quarterback.
"I've been pleased with both of them. The thing about Colby is I think Nick made Colby better because Nick's a good football player, [Isham] competes and believes he's going to win the job, he believes he's the best guy and all that. That's what you have to be to be a great quarterback. The great thing is Colby has risen. Colby hasn't gone back Colby has risen. It's been good, it's been a good competition it's been fun to watch," said Franklin.
Franklin says the strength Cameron has coming in is obvious, his experience.
"Well, the biggest strength that [Cameron] has is experience, said Franklin. "He's been here throughout a full season, through two springs, he's played receiver, and he's been in big stadiums and done all that stuff so the fact that he's done that stuff gives him an edge obviously."
Isham is competing, doing a good job and learning Franklin says.
"When Nick comes in he's competing, putting up good numbers everyday, he's doing a good job, he's making mistakes that he won't make hopefully two weeks from now," said Franklin.
The new faces Franklin is most excited about no surprise given the praises both running backs coach Pierre Ingram and Dykes have given the walk-on running backs Hunter Lee and Blake Martin.
"The biggest pleasure I've had is watching the two running backs, the walk-on running backs Blake and Hunter, Franklin said. "Those are two football players that could play for anybody and they've come in here and competed as if they were scholarship guys and I've been very pleased with those guys. So they've stood out more than anybody, I love walk-ons."
Quinton Patton has had a good fall camp thus far and Franklin says Patton has the potential to be a very special player. Andrew Guillot and Myles White Franklin says, while playing the same receiver position, are two completely different players.
"Quinton has a chance to be a special player, Franklin said. "he's got great talent, he loves the game, he competes, he's excited, he has fun every day, he gets after it and has a chance to be a special guy. [White and Guillot] are different, Myles has great skill, he's got great speed, he's got great ball skills, he's just got to learn to be consistent in practice. Guillot on the other hand will scratch your eyes out to win so together they make that position pretty good."
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