Golden Nuggets: Tony Franklin "We Want to Be the Fastest Team in America"

Bob Levey

Cal OC Tony Franklin talks to Bear Insider about his philosophy on offense and on the recruiting trail.

Jim McGill of BearInsider recently spoke with Cal's offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. He echoed a handful of statements Sonny Dykes made during his introductory press conference and gave some more insight into how the offense worked.

Dykes' and Franklin's prolific offense has often been mistaken for Washington State head coach Mike Leach's "Air Raid" offense, particularly since Dykes worked with Leach for seven years at Texas Tech -his last two as offensive coordinator. But if you ask Dykes or Franklin, there's not a lot of similarity.

"It doesn't resemble Leach's offense at all," said Franklin. "Basically, what we try to do is play fast and play with great tempo. That's the number one thing we try to do. We want to be the fastest team in America and we want to constantly attack. So we do multiple things out there.

"We don't go into a season thinking we're going to throw more or run more. We try to be good at both and whichever one is working, that's the one we emphasize at any given point in time.

"We'll use power sets with three backs. Sometimes we'll have seven offensive linemen in a game. Sometimes there will be no running backs in a game and five receivers.

"It's just kind of a deal where you get your best players on the field and the more guys that play, the more camaraderie you have. That's the way we do things."

What that adds up to is not endlessly working to try and out-scheme their opponent but rather determining how they can impose their will on an opponent instead.

"Our offense is geared towards our talent and how we can best utilize them," said Franklin. "I couldn't care less what team or defense we're playing. We always tell our guys that it's always about us. Everything we do is about us, not our opponent. If we do our job right, we'll get it done.

He also spoke about recruiting and how the staff plugs players into its offense.

An impressive element in Louisiana Tech's ability to win consistently and put up big numbers was that they were doing it with largely unheralded players, showing both the ability to coach up the players they inherited and an eye for diamonds in the rough they could quickly develop in their program.

"You know, we had good football players out there this season but we also had a lot of guys that were walk-ons. We had four starters that were walk-ons. One of our linemen was one of the best linemen in the country and he walked on. Our starting outside receiver, our X was a walk-on. Our starting Y was a walk-on. And we had guys we recruited that were unheralded and not recruited by a lot of teams that played key roles.

"The situation you have today is that with the internet, everyone thinks if this guy's a 4 star and this guy's a 3 star, the 4 star must be better. But people should go back and look at Boise and see how many 4 star guys they have (none to-date this class and two in the last four full recruiting classes) and you'd have to say they're pretty good.

"It's just a matter of getting good football players and building a good team. Obviously being here, we'll be able to recruit a better caliber of football player. There's not doubt about that. Cal has a lot to sell.

"It's a matter of getting the right type of guys and building camaraderie and how they care about each other.

"How fast do they buy in? We move fast. I tell them, 'We can be great tomorrow if you guys buy in tomorrow. If you take a year before you buy in, it's going to take longer and we're not going to wait on you.


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