Quck Slant: OL/DL TJ Franklin

Quck Slant: OL/DL TJ Franklin

The Knox Catholic Fightin Irish (TN) are on a mission. That mission includes a Region 2 title and nothing less than a TSSAA 3A state title. Their off to a good start too, out scoring their first three opponents 104-31 and securing their first regional win of '06 last week vs. Austin East.

TN Prep Sports sat down with one of the Catholic team leaders to see what, if anything, Catholic can improve on.

Most ballgames are won and lost in the trenches, and Irish senior OL/DL T.J. Franklin can speak to where Catholic is going into Week 3 vs. region foe Livingston Academy. You might remember, LA was the team that sent Catholic home from the playoffs in 2005....

TPS: What were the keys to Catholics win vs. regional rival Austin East?

TJ: Running the football. We as a line knew if we could open the holes are backs could run through them.

TPS: How did Catholic shut down AE's difference makers and their often times high powered offense?

TJ: We played by our rules. We knew what we had to do and what it took to win.

TPS: Is the team about where you'd expected it to be at this point in the season?

TJ: Yes, but we can still improve. And we will need to get to achieve our goal.

TPS: You have Livingston Academy next. They sent the Irish home for the season last year, with a very close win. Does this game hold special meaning given how the season ended last year?

TJ: Yep, it holds special meaning for us, but it means more to us to win because it is a region game. So a win would be nice to redeem ourselves and to start out in the region 2-0.

TPS: Have you been in contact with any colleges since the season started? Who are you talking with or getting correspondence from the most?

TJ: Yes, Ole Miss, The Citadel, and MTSU are the big three. They are all equal in the time they have talked to me.

TPS: You'd mentioned to us previously that you are into more than just football at Catholic and even have a little of the acting bug in you. Who do you pattern your stage persona after?

TJ: My on stage persona, well I believe I am a cross between Frank Sinatra and Clint Eastwood. And lets just say I'm better at football than I am at acting.

TPS: This group of seniors seems to be focus and pretty tight knit. How has this year been different from last season from a team chemistry standpoint?

TJ: Well, so far there are seniors in every starting role. Those seniors are teaching the younger players what to do. It is just been great to play with them. They know what they have to do so we, senior linemen, get it done.

TPS: You drive a pickup truck. Is the truck kind of a metaphor for your physical, rugged play on the football field, or do you just prefer trucks over cars?

TJ: Well my dad says it is a privilege to drive the truck. I have seen the other car would let me drive; it is a 1980 Plymouth Volarie. So if I have the choice it would be the truck!

TPS: You've started the run to a regional championship off on the right foot with the win against AE. Talk a lil bit about what it will take to run the table and finish on top in Region 2, knowing you still face LA this week, Fulton and Dennis Rogan, an improved Kingston Yellow Jacket squad and an always tough Anderson Co Maverick team….

TJ: It is going to take commitment. All of those teams are very good. When we play those teams there can be no let downs anywhere. We must be committed as a team to play and win 15 ball games this year.

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