August 8, 2007

Franklin working on improving offense

Kansas State offensive coordinator James Franklin knows much of the Wildcats' success this season hinges on his unit's ability to put an inconstant 2006 behind it. When Franklin's offense looked to be in synch last season the Wildcats won. When freshman quarterback Josh Freeman and the players around him showed their inexperience, the result was not a desirable one.

"(We need to be more) consistent," Franklin said of this year's goals. "I think that really revolves around three primary issues. No. 1 is protecting the football. No. 2 is eliminating any procedural type penalties, and No. 3 is protecting the quarterback. If we can do those three things, we'll have a chance to create some explosive plays. If we can be more consistent, especially on first and second down, I think we have a chance."

For Franklin and the offense protecting the ball more effectively starts with Freeman, who saw his share of shining and not-so-shining moments in 2006. In the four Wildcat victories that Freeman orchestrated last year, he threw just two combined interceptions. He tossed a whopping 12 in games K-State lost.

"You were talking about a true freshman quarterback and one who had extremely strong beliefs in his ability," Franklin said of Freeman. "You also had to factor in who he was surrounded by and the protection factor. The skill level around him, all those things are important. We're striving to increase the talent pool."

The most important increase in the talent pool around Freeman this season will need to be along an offensive line that struggled to protect him at times during his freshman season. They will need to come together as a unit this season if the Wildcats hope to improve on last year's 7-6 finish.

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