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Franks hot for Vandals

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

Stanley Franks got somewhat of a rude awakening when he met new coach Robb Akey for the first time last winter.

Simply put, Akey wanted Franks to play hard every down. On film, Akey noticed that Franks didn’t do much when the play was on the opposite side of the field. That wasn’t acceptable to the Vandals’ first-year coach.

“The first thing he told me is if I want to be a complete player, then I can’t take plays off,” Franks said. “I have to run to the ball no matter what.”

The message appeared to have gotten through, and sometimes new coaches feel the need to send messages, even to star players like Franks, who led the nation in interceptions last year with nine. According to reports, Franks played much harder and was more consistent during the spring.

Franks and San Jose State’s Dwight Lowery both finished with nine picks, but Franks played in one less game, thus he had a better average-per-game stat. It was a tremendous season, and it earned Franks a spot on the Bronco Nagurski Award watch list.

Franks said that he didn’t notice teams trying to shy away from him as the season went on unlike in Lowery’s instance where the opposite cornerback had four interceptions in the latter part of the season.

Franks had interceptions in eight straight games last season, including two against Idaho State. The biggest came against Utah State when he picked off a Leon Jackson pass and returned it 98 yards for the go-ahead score, leading to one of Idaho’s four wins last season.

“Fresno State and San Jose State are more run teams,” Franks said. “Sometimes when teams get ahead, they don’t throw as much.”

No doubt Franks wants the passes to keep on coming; the more action the better. He enjoys the challenge of taking on the other team’s best receiver. He wants to be a Champ Bailey-type cornerback, a guy that is considered a shut-down cornerback.

“Stanley had a tremendous amount of success last year,” Akey said. “He’s a good player who worked hard during the spring to improve. We expect great play-making and leadership from him this year.

“His feet. He closes ground really well. He plays with confidence.”

There is talk that Franks may be used at wide receiver at times this year, a la Deion Sanders. As a sophomore at Long Beach City College, Franks caught 62 passes for 778 yards and eight scores.

Franks was just running routes and generally having fun when approached by the coaches. The Idaho senior is all for it. In fact, he thinks it would be fun.

“I played wide receiver in junior college,” Franks said. “I’ll do whatever I can to help the team. I’ve been running routes and stuff.”

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281

THE FRANKS FILE

Hometown: Long Beach, Ca.

Position: Cornerback

Height/weight: 5-11/167

Major: Business