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With Franklin Injured, Run D Will Need to Fill Big Hole
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Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hurt.
However, the Chargers also lost a key cog to their elite run defense as starting nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin suffered a deep bone bruise in the second quarter. According to head coach Norv Turner, he is expected to miss a couple of weeks.
The injury caught Franklin by surprised, as he didn’t immediately realize he had hurt himself when making a tackle.
“It was kind of funny,” he said. “I made the tackle and got up and I felt weak. I thought maybe it had gotten banged up or something, but then it seemed like it was more than that. I’ve never (experienced) something like this before. I’m going to leave it in the hands of my training staff. These guys are great at doing (what they do) so I’ll follow the procedures and we’ll see what happens.”
Franklin’s 10-years of intelligence and experience have been invaluable to the entire defensive line. Every member of the unit expressed how much the 6-foot-1, 317-pound nose tackles means to the group and how it will be difficult to replace him while he is out recovering.
“We’re going to miss the big fella a lot,” said Corey Liuget. “We wish him a speedy recovery and want him back out on this field as soon as possible. He helps us out so much it’s almost like having another coach next to me. He communicates and tells me tilts. He pretty much knows what’s going on before the ball is snapped. He knows the percentages, when they like to run the ball or throw it. So he’s been a big help to me and the entire defensive line up front.”
One player who will be relied upon to step up in Franklin’s absence is Antonio Garay, who has only been active for the past two games this season. The 6-foot-4, 320-pounder is a more than capable fill in who has had a strong four-year career here in San Diego.
“I just take everything day by day,” he said. “I’ve got two games under my belt and I feel like I’m back in the swing of things. We have a great defensive line in my opinion, and we’ll be up to the challenge. Without question, the entire unit has to step up now. All I can do is go out there and have good practices throughout the week and do what I can when it’s game time.”
Even though he’s sidelined, Franklin doesn’t plan on taking a back seat when it comes to game preparations. He’ll still be there in the classroom to help diagnose the offense and do what he can to get his teammates ready for Sunday.
“I’m going to continue in the same way as I always prepare every week,” he said. “It will be like it’s any other week. We do a lot together as a D-Line unit as far as studying film and tendencies in our opponent every week. I want to be able to help these young guys like I’ve done throughout the season.” Read