In an attempt to win over his teammates, Franks has gone the physical route in practice, sometimes trying to run over defenders with his 6-foot-6, 240-pound body. But he’s taken on the wrong players a few times, running back Jordan Scarlett said.
“He tried to run a couple of people over that he shouldn’t,” Scarlett said. “Jachai Polite, and he tried to run over Jabari (Zuniga). I’m like, ‘Dude, those dudes are not the guys you want to run into. Maybe somebody in the secondary, but not those guys.’ But he has the attitude, so, I like it.”
Scarlett said Franks has been aggressive in other ways, too, and his teammates have noticed his effort.
“I’ve seen him make some grown-man plays, just making the extra-effort plays, like diving across the pylon and diving over people and stuff,” Scarlett said. “He’s showing the quarterback has that kind of effort. In a game, he’s going to make that same execution for a first down or a touchdown.”
New center starter
The competition at center will continue in the upcoming weeks, but the guy getting the first start is going to be former guard Nick Buchanan, who has been battling last year’s starter, T.J. McCoy, throughout camp.
“Nick Buchanan will take the first snap (Saturday night),” co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach John Hevesy said. “He has taken great ownership in the position and the leadership role of the communication factor that they need to do. He is one that probably has done the best out of them, but they all have their positive and negatives. We are just going to keep the competition going every day.
“How we do in that position is going to make or break us because that’s the center of everything that we do. They control everything and where we go, so that has to be the dominating position.”
Brett Heggie, a starter at guard last season before undergoing knee surgery for a torn ACL, also will be involved in the competition at center, but he’s missed most of camp with a turf toe. He returned to practice late last week with the hope of playing in the opener.
“Yeah, I think I’ll be ready,” he said. “I really just have to
focus on my fundamentals and start creating good habits again with my play. You stay out of the game for 10 months, or whatever it was for me, things get a little rusty, but I’m trying to get better every day.”
Heggie is working with the second-team line at both center and guard.
Cornerback Trey Dean III hasn’t been performing like a true freshman. Or acting like one.
Freshmen are usually fairly quiet. But not Dean. He’s been the biggest trash-talker in the secondary, according to wide receiver Van Jefferson.
“Yeah, he’s a trash talker,” Jefferson said. “But he’s a great corner. I love going against him. He tries to get in your head.
“I think everybody’s gotten hit by his trash talk. That’s who he is and that’s his personality. He’s a great player, so that is a good characteristic to his game. You’ve just got to take (the trash talking) with a grain of salt.”