MOBILE, Ala. — It’s been a who’s who of the NFL at Ladd Peebles Stadium this week for the Senior Bowl, as over a 100 scouts, coaches, general managers, and even owners observe practices featuring the top seniors in the country.
Though it could be considered a daunting crowd to perform in front of, UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin says he doesn’t feel any pressure.
“I’m playing for an audience of one and that’s God,” Franklin explained after practice. “All I can do is work as hard as I can and coaches are going to make their decisions regardless.”
Franklin, an All-American his final season at UCLA, is crediting his late career success to the latest Bruin coaching staff led by Jim Mora.
“He totally changed the culture,” Franklin said. “He placed the emphasis on toughness and discipline and with the offense giving a hit instead of taking a hit.”
Mora, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, brought his NFL experience to UCLA giving Franklin an advantage when he stepped on the field Senior Bowl. Franklin’s North team is coached by the Oakland Raiders staff.
“Our (UCLA) practice was so similar to this,” Franklin, who officially weighed in at 5-foot-10 201-pounds, said. “It’s about finishing, blocking, and going to the next level. (Mora) has done a great job and he’s always available when I need to talk to him.”
Though the coaching changes during Franklin’s run as a Bruin proved challenging at times, it also provided experience playing in different systems which in turn is preparing him for the next step.
“I’ve played in every offense,” he said. “Hopefully it works in my advantage.”
Franklin is currently projected as a third-round draft pick.