Aug. 1, 2013
Franklin Interview | Russell's Photos | 'Dores Preview Start of Practice
NASHVILLE - James Franklin has been promising an intense and highly competitive preseason camp for the Commodores. On Thursday, the head coach delivered on his promise.
Continually demanding more from the squad, Franklin guided the Commodores through a fast-paced two-hour, 30-minute session at the John Rich Practice Facility. The team's first practice focused on improved fundamentals, position drills and instruction, and overall conditioning from start to finish.
While Franklin appreciated his squad's effort and enthusiasm Thursday, he plans to expect more from every player when the Commodores return to practice Friday afternoon. He's also going to lean on Commodore veterans to show newcomers how he expects the squad to practice.
"I want to see better leadership from our veterans," Franklin said. "We have some talented freshmen, but they really have no idea how to practice yet. The vets have to show them how to practice, and lead by example."
Working in limited gear due to NCAA acclimation restrictions, the Commodores concentrated early in the workout on drills aimed at improved fundamentals. Later in the day, the squad devoted extended periods to special teams, scheme introduction, and various position drills. The team capped their workout with a lengthy team passing segment and additional conditioning drills.
Defensive Front Impresses Coach
After talking about across-the-board improvement in the team's athleticism entering camp, Franklin left the field impressed with the potential of the Commodore defensive line. "They just look completely different. Overall, the D-line jumped out to me as much as anybody," the coach said.
Franklin Receives 2013 Coach of the Year Award from Tennessee Sports Writers
Earlier in the day as Franklin ended his press conference to open preseason drills, the coach was officially recognized as 2013 Tennessee's College Football Coach of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association. Associated Press writer Teresa Walker made the presentation to Franklin on behalf of the sportswriters' membership.
The TSWA honored Franklin for leading the Commodores to a 9-4 record and Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl victory in 2012. The squad matched a school record for wins, concluding its season with an SEC-best seven-game win streak.