Is the John Franklin Wildcat Experiment Over in Tampa?

Is the John Franklin Wildcat Experiment Over in Tampa?

After an electric come from behind victory over the Houston Gamblers in Week Three, the Tampa Bay Bandits offense looked punch-less in a 16-10 loss this past Saturday against the Birmingham Stallions.

A footnote in the loss was that it was John Franklin’s first game without a carry since week one. The Bandits’ dabbled with Franklin III in the Wildcat formation in Weeks Two and Three. In Week Two against the New Orleans Breakers, Franklin totaled four carries for 18 yards with a run of 13 yards highlighting the day.

The following week against the Gamblers, Franklin III had three carries for 11 yards, with ten of those yards coming on his longest rush. However, this weekend, Franklin III was nowhere to be found in the running game, as the Bandits amassed only 53 yards on 20 carries in the loss to Birmingham.

In all, Franklin III has seven carries for 29 yards on the year. Franklin has the potential to be an explosive runner as in college he ran for 659 yards on 62 carries, for an average of 10.6 yards per carry. In his senior year at FAU, Franklin averaged a staggering 14 yards per carry. Franklin III also proved to be adept as a passer, completing 15 of his 28 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown at FAU and Auburn.

Arguably, the reason the Bandits’ Wildcat formation has lacked spark is because it is one-dimensional as Franklin has yet to attempt a pass this season. This Saturday, De’ Andre Jordan’s electric passing performance for the New Jersey Generals proved that a Wildcat formation works with balance and creativity. De’Andre Johnson went completed nine of his ten artillery strikes for 98 yards and a 62-yard touchdown in the Generals’ 21-13 victory over the Maulers.

Perhaps the Bandits need to mix in pass every now and then before they abandon the “John Franklin III Wildcat Experiment completely. Until then, it will remain a one-dimensional afterthought in their offense worth abandoning. If the Bandits once again shelve the Wildcat on Friday night, we may have seen the last of the Wildcat from them.