Senior focus:Seymour LB embraces switch to 3-4 scheme

For The Tribune

In his freshman year at Seymour, Alex Franklin played running back and outside linebacker.

As he gained size and strength prior to his junior year, Franklin moved to inside linebacker — and that’s where he stayed.

“Over the years I’ve gained size and mass,” Franklin said. “They moved me back inside last year, and that is where I got my first varsity start.

“It’s always fun getting to hit people, make tackles and all that fun stuff.”

Franklin said he weighs 215 pounds this fall, 25 pounds heavier than 2015.

“Gaining weight and getting stronger in the weight room, the biggest part is eating right and checking all that protein in so I can build more muscle mass and being the best athlete I can be for the coming season,” Franklin said.

The coaches changed the Owls’ basic defense this fall to a 3-4.

“Mainly I play on the right side,” Franklin said. “I’m head up on the guard, depending what front we’re in. Normally I key the guard right in front of me because the kind of block he does gives me a read on what kind of a run it will be. I’m just free to go where the play is.

“My primary focus is inside, and I’m supposed to force them into my help. If the play is going outside, I’ll stay in pursuit and cut back. We send inside backers on blitzes occasionally.”

When on the field, the Owls converge on the ball while tackling.

“We emphasize team big time on defense and call ourselves ‘the swarm’ because we’re 11 people swarming to that ball every time they snap it,” Franklin said. “Gang-tackling is important, especially when you get tough runners like Jacob Garrett of Silver Creek and (Jordan) Barnett of Jeffersonville. Those guys were hard to take down one-on-one.”

Franklin said he has changed his tackling technique in recent seasons.

“I go more with my shoulder now, more than anything,” he said. “You never want to go head down. You want to use good form to take them down.”

While the Owls are 0-2 on the season, Franklin trusts in the coaching staff.

“I think our process is going to work,” Franklin said. “We’ve just got to keep at it and stay together as a whole team and keep going on the same page, in the same direction and I think it will start translating into wins.”

The senior considers himself a leader of the defense.

“I like to get the defense behind me, and I really like to get us all going on the same page and make sure we’re all focused on the task at hand,” Franklin said. “I try to communicate with all my guys and make sure everybody knows what their job is.”

Franklin said it is important to go into every game with a good mental outlook.

“The mental part is a huge part, actually,” he said. “I believe sports are mainly mental and partially physical because that’s why you practice and prepare so much for every game and every meet. You have to be confident in your own ability and in your teams’ ability to do the best you possibly can.”

Franklin has taken advantage of the opportunities at Seymour.

“I’ve loved being a student here,” Franklin said. “I think the school gives us a lot of great opportunities to get different credits for college and stuff with all the AP and dual-credit courses that we have available here.”

He said he looks forward to going to his internship at the sixth grade center.

“What I want to do in the future is be a match teacher and help coach football,” Franklin said.

He said his most memorable wins came against Brownstown Central and Silver Creek in the sectional — both from last fall.

At a glance

Name: Alex Franklin

Parents: Cory and Jami

Siblings: Kennedy, Luke

Sports: football 4 years

Awards: Scout player of the year in 2014

Plans after high school: attend college, study education

Favorite food: steak

Favorite TV show: NFL Now

Favorite movie: When the Game Stands Tall

Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts

Catch the Owls

What: Seymour (0-2) at Columbus East (1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Stafford Field

Radio: 92.7 Nash Icon

Last outing: Jeffersonville def. Seymour 29-15, Columbus North def. Columbus East 30-13.

Most recent meeting: Columbus East won 69-12 on Sept. 4, 2015.

Series past 30 years: Columbus East 20-14.