Tony Franklin is in his second season as Cal's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2013. Franklin’s first offense unit at Cal in 2013 set single-season school records for passing yards (3,977), pass completions (368) and total plays (1,046). The passing offense finished the regular-season third in the Pac-12 and 11th in the nation with an average of 331.4 yards per game that was also the best in school history. Cal’s 5,443 yards of total offense was the third-highest total in school history and its average of 453.6 yards per game ranked fourth all-time at Cal.
Franklin’s prize pupil was true freshman quarterback Jared Goff, who started all 12 games and was the first true freshman quarterback in school history to start a season-opener. Goff set school records in passing yards (3,508), most yardage gained (3,508), total offense (3,446) and completions (320) in his first season as the Bears’ signal caller. He also finished the regular season among the nation’s top 25 in completions per game (6th, 26.67 cpg), passing yards per game (12th, 292.3 ypg), passing yards (18th) and total offense (24th, 287.2 ypg).
Goff threw to a prolific group of wide receivers that etched their names in the Cal football record books in 2013. Bryce Treggs (77) and Chris Harper (70) put up reception totals that are fourth and seventh on the school’s all-time list, while Kenny Lawler emerged in the second half of the season including a three-touchdown reception game that equaled the most in a single contest by a Cal player in school history. Richard Rodgers also had his most productive season by far at Cal, picking up career highs of 39 receptions and 608 yards receiving. Rodgers was a third-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2014 NFL Draft.
“Tony and I share a similar vision for what we want our offense to look like,” head coach Sonny Dykes said. “The most important thing is that we both want to figure out a way to move the football, score points and win games. We’ve done it different ways in the past and the great thing about Tony is that he just wants to win. He doesn’t care how we do it. That’s the basis for building a good program is to have unselfish people and he does a great job of doing that.”
“The future for Cal football and this offense has never been brighter,” Franklin said. “I'm excited to see this evolve into a championship program. Year two will see dramatic improvement in offensive production as well as wins. After living in Berkeley for more than a year, and working in the Cal community I'm more convinced than ever that there isn't a better opportunity for young people to receive the world's best academic opportunity, coupled with an exciting championship brand of football and life!”
Franklin will have most of his offensive weapons returning in 2014 with Goff and each of the top four receivers other than Rodgers back, as well as three of the team’s top fours rushers. Cal will also have eight offensive linemen with starting collegiate experience returning.
Franklin served in the same role for Cal head coach Sonny Dykes at Louisiana Tech from 2010-12. In his final campaign with the Bulldogs, Louisiana Tech posted a 9-3 record and led the nation in scoring offense (51.50 points per game) and total offense (577.92 ypg) to make Franklin a nominee for the Broyles Award given annually to the nation's top assistant coach and one of four finalists for the FootballScoop.com Offensive Coordinator of the Year.
In addition to leading the nation in scoring and total offense with an offense that posted the fifth-highest per-game scoring average ever by a team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), Louisiana Tech ranked among the NCAA's top 20 in 2012 in passing offense (3rd, 350.75 ypg), fewest sacks allowed (7th, 0.83 spg), turnover margin (10th, +1.08 per game) and rushing offense (18th, 227.17 ypg). The Bulldogs scored more than 40 points in 11 of 12 games and over 50 points on eight occasions.
Quarterback Colby Cameron was named the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and earned the Sammy Baugh Award presented to college football's top passer by The Touchdown Club of Columbus. Cameron completed 359-of-522 passes (68.8%) for 4,147 yards and 31 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He ranked third nationally in total offense (360.33 ypg), while he was 22nd in the nation in passing efficiency (153.19). Cameron also set a new NCAA record for most consecutive passes without an interception over his first 428 attempts in 2012 and totaled 444 going back to the previous season.
Second-team AP All-American Quinton Patton, now a member of the San Francisco 49ers, was Cameron's top receiver and a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist in 2012 with 104 catches for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdown receptions. Patton led the WAC in both per-game receiving yards (116.00 ypg) and receptions (8.67 rpg), with those numbers ranking fourth and fifth nationally. Myles White added 56 catches for 718 yards and six touchdowns, while ranking fourth and sixth in the WAC in per-game receiving yards (59.83 ypg) and receptions (4.67 rpg).
On the ground, running back Kenneth Dixon was tabbed the WAC Freshman of the Year and earned Freshman All-American honors after breaking Marshall Faulk's NCAA freshman records for rushing touchdowns (27), total touchdowns (28) and points (168). Dixon led the country in scoring with an average of 14.00 points per game while totaling 1,194 yards on 200 carries. He was also second in the WAC and 33rd nationally in rushing with an average of 106.42 yards per game. Capital One Academic All-America® first teamer Ray Holley, a graduate student pursing a degree in counseling with a 3.50 GPA, added 740 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground over 142 rushes.
During Franklin's second season in Ruston in 2011 he orchestrated an offense that was fundamentally sound and continued to improve weekly on a Louisiana Tech team that finished 8-5 overall and won the WAC title with a 6-1 league record before advancing to play TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl. Tech ranked third in the nation with five different scoring drives over 90 yards during the season. That precision guided Tech's offensive explosion at Fresno State when the team scored 34 points and notched over 400 offensive yards in the first half alone. The offense produced more than 40 points on three occasions and averaged 31.71 points per contest during a seven-game win streak to end the regular season. Patton was among both the top receivers in the WAC and across the nation in per-game receiving yards (92.46 ypg, No. 2 WAC, No. 20 NCAA) and receptions (6.08 rpg, No. 4 WAC, No. T28 NCAA), finishing with totals of 79 receptions for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In Franklin's first year on Tech's staff, his spread offense exploded into a high-octane mechanism in the middle of the season resulting with the team scoring 34 points or more in four of the final six contests and 41 or more three times. Running back Lennon Creek was the team's top threat, rushing for 1,181 yards and 10 scores on 212 carries. His average of 98.42 yards rushing per game ranked third in the WAC and 22nd nationally.
Franklin spent one season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Middle Tennessee in 2009 prior to his three-year stint at Louisiana Tech. At MTSU, Franklin's offense generated 421.69 total yards of offense and 32.00 points per game, the fourth and seventh highest totals in school history for a team that posted a 10-3 record that was its best since 1992 and had a seven-game win streak to end the season that was the longest at the school since the 1985 squad won its first 11 contests. The Blue Raider offense, which produced three All-Sun Belt Conference players, scored 30 or more points nine times, including each of the last five games, and topped the 400-yard mark on eight occasions. Franklin's 2009 unit set school records in total yards (5,482), passing yards (3,064) and total points (416), with per-game averages that were 23rd nationally in scoring, and 27th in total offense and rushing offense (186.00 ypg).
Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher came of age in Franklin's offensive schemes. The second-team All-Sun Belt Conference performer was the MVP of the 2009 New Orleans Bowl, where he broke Vince Young’s NCAA record for yards rushing in a bowl game by a quarterback with 201 yards (since broken by Johnny Manziel in the 2013 Cotton Bowl). Dasher ranked seventh in the nation in total offense (303.31 ypg), threw for a school-record 23 TD passes and was named the SBC Player of the Week three times that season. Dasher finished the season with totals of 2,789 yards passing and 1,154 yards rushing to become only the eighth player in NCAA history to pass for over 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season, and the first quarterback in Middle Tennessee history to rush for 1,000.
Franklin made his way to Middle Tennessee after a brief stint as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Auburn, where he coached the Tigers to an overtime victory over Clemson in the 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl. He remained in the role six games into the 2008 season, with Auburn adding to his Chick-fil-A Bowl victory in 2007 by sporting a 4-2 record in 2008 before he was released from his duties. The Tigers were 0-5 against Division I teams the remainder of the 2008 campaign following his departure.
Franklin was in the same capacity the previous two seasons at Troy (2006-07) where the Trojans combined to go 16-9 overall and 12-2 in the Sun Belt Conference while collecting two league titles. During that span his offense scored 30 or more points 11 times and on eight occasions in his second season, including games against Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma State. In 2007, his squad led the Sun Belt in scoring offense (34.00 ppg) and total offense (452.83 ypg), with a No. 16 national ranking in the latter.
In addition to helping the Trojans to their first Sun Belt Conference title and a victory in the New Orleans Bowl in his first season at Troy, Franklin helped engineer the second-ranked offensive unit in the Sun Belt just one year after the team ranked last in the league in total offense. The Trojans ranked first in the league in passing offense, again one year after ranking last, despite having faced three of the top-20 ranked passing defense teams in the country during the season, and more than doubled their offensive output in conference action to 25.23 points per game.
Franklin spent four campaigns on the football staff at Kentucky from 1997-2000 following 16 seasons as a high school football coach. During his tenure at Kentucky, the Wildcats enjoyed unprecedented success on the offensive side of the ball, setting several NCAA, SEC and school records. After coaching running backs for the first three seasons, Franklin was named offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for the 2000 campaign and led the Wildcats to success as the nation's second-best passing offense as well as the country's 11th-best team in total offense.
Franklin's two-back combinations at Kentucky outgained any two-back combinations in the SEC in total yards from scrimmage for three straight seasons. Quarterbacks Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner and Jared Lorenzen each led the SEC in passing during their time as Kentucky quarterbacks, and Couch was the first player selected in the 1999 NFL Draft. Several other UK players reached their goals of making NFL teams after their experience in the high-powered offense.
Franklin was also named one of the top 10 recruiters in the South during his four years at Kentucky as he helped lead the Wildcats to their first back-to-back bowl appearances in 15 seasons in 1998 and 1999, including their first New Year's Day Bowl game appearance in 47 years against Penn State in the Outback Bowl following the end of the 1998 campaign.
Franklin also spent one season in 2003 as the general manager and head coach of the Lexington Horsemen of the National Indoor Football League, successfully leading the team to a first-round playoff game and a 9-5 regular-season record as an expansion franchise in its inaugural season. The team paced the Atlantic Division in scoring, averaging 53.1 points per game.
In addition to his coaching career, Franklin is the owner of The Tony Franklin Systems that conducts a series of football seminars for coaches emphasizing winning solutions. USA Today took notice of Franklin's football coaching and teaching abilities in a feature story in 2005 which detailed his consulting successes as a nationally sought-after offensive football coach.
Franklin also received rave reviews for his second book, Victor's Victory, which chronicled the tragic death and spectacular life of 15-year-old Hoover High School football player Victor Dionte Hill, who died from sudden cardiac arrest on the football practice field during one of Franklin's consulting sessions. The book has helped to continue the mission of Cheryl Hill, Victor's mother, to make teachers, coaches, and parents aware of the need for automatic external defibrillators (AED) in every school and youth organization in Alabama.
Franklin received his bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Murray State in 1979 and 1989, where he was a two-year starter as a running back. He is married to Laura Franklin, and they have three daughters: Chelsea, Caroline and Caitlin.
The Franklin File
Collegiate Coaching History
Bowl History (6 Games)
Last Updated: July 28, 2014