War Eagle Extra

John Franklin III unhappy with critics questioning his throwing ability

Auburn quarterback John Franklin III (5) drops back to pass against Alabama Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Auburn quarterback John Franklin III (5) drops back to pass against Alabama Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. AP

TUSCULOOSA, Ala. Auburn quarterback John Franklin III would like to have a word with anyone questioning his ability to throw the football.

Franklin fired back at critics questioning his arm following a 30-12 loss to Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

“I don’t know where everybody get this thing that I can’t throw in the first place,” Franklin said. “I just run what’s called. I could always throw. It’s just getting my opportunities; that’s really it. I don’t know where it came from or where it started.”

The junior college transfer, who also addressed his future Saturday night, played in all 12 of Auburn’s regular season games this season, but only attempted passes in half of them.

On Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Franklin threw the ball four times completing a pair of deep throws to freshman Eli Stove.

Franklin prefers to take a glass half full view of his limited number of passing attempts, 19 in all, this season.

“That’s my strength,” Franklin said. “It’s not like I can’t throw. It’s just my strength running the ball. Why not go with my strength?”

Franklin carried the ball 41 times for 414 yards this fall with more than a third of his runs going for 10 yards or more.

While coaches have appeared reluctant to let Franklin throw the ball at times, the Florida native doesn’t think it’s a confidence issue.

“They see it everyday in practice,” Franklin said of his arm.

Coach Gus Malzahn credited Franklin with giving the Auburn offense a spark in the second half. He was under center for the team’s two longest drives — seven plays, 40 yards; 10 plays 64 yards — of the game in the second half.

“Towards the end of the game we just felt we needed a spark, and John did a good job of that,” Malzahn said. “John moved us down the field a couple times, as he got a first down with his legs on third and 10. He also aired the ball down field to get some pace and tempo going for us.”

Franklin wasn’t looking for any credit after the game.

“As a man you go to look yourself in the mirror, and we just didn’t get the job done on offense,” Franklin said. “That’s point blank, period.”

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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