Tailback Jonathan Franklin is Money, hitting the jackpot in his bid for playing time, as Top Rusher and only Offensive player to hit paydirt in UCLA’s scrimmage
Benjamin Franklin said “A penny saved is a penny earned.” There are some recent investors who may disagree with that sentiment, but UCLA Tailback Jonathan Franklin knows about rising value.
In the Bruins’ Saturday afternoon scrimmage, Franklin was the only skill player to reach the Promised Land, scoring on a 5-yard Touchdown run (pictured above). He also led all rushers with 45 yards on 9 carries.
Rushing in general was tough-going for all the Runners, as the Bruin Defense is still the stronger of the two units. With Reggie Carter, the Bosworths, Reggie Stokes, and Alterraun Verner leading the Defensive charge, it’s no shame to be second best to this unit.
The Offensive Line is making strides as a unit, but still not opening any big holes. Of course, playing against their own teammates cuts down on surprise and misdirection, leaving just smashmouth Football, which may not be their strong suit. The opposing Defenses will need to be confused for the Bruin Offense to succeed.
And leading that Bruin Offense, apparently, will be Kevin Prince. Prince showed some promise on Saturday, but didn’t overly-impress the blue-clad fans in the packed bleachers. Yes, it’s only April, but a lot of passes sailed over heads or landed on the ground way short of the intended targets. But the talent and potential is there, and with Norm Chow tutoring him, Prince should be a healthy upgrade over last year. Speaking of which, Kevin Craft got a chance on Saturday, and he responded with 1 fumble, and 1 bad Interception that gave the crowd an all-too-bitter reminder of why a Freshman needs to step up this season.
If not Kevin Prince, then Richard Brehaut will be the choice. Brehaut was also hit and miss on Saturday, but also seems to have a better upside than Craft. Both newcomers seemed to have the ability to naturally feel and glide away from the pressure, in order to buy more time to find open Receivers. This ability will come in handy, especially if the Offensive Line suffers any injuries.
Meanwhile, the Offense looks like it will still turn to short passes, especially to RB’s out of the backfield, to compensate for the lack of ability of the Backs to run the ball. Also, Terrence Austin will get involved in the running game, but the D will have to be caught off guard for that to work, so it won’t be effective more than maybe a few times a game.
The Bruins will HAVE to stretch Defenses this year, with some sort of deep threat. It may be Austin, or maybe incoming speedster and former sc-commit Randall Carroll, but Prince must go deep, early in the year. And yes, it’s only April, but the deep game was not exactly in evidence on Saturday. Hopefully, that’s the last piece of the Chow Puzzle, as he assembles a winning gameplan between now and September. It looks like the Freshmen have the arm strength, and a couple of the Receivers have the speed, so in 2009, oh say, can you see, a few more bombs burstin’ in air? Either way, it’s going to be a perilous fight.