"He was going to apologize, but we stopped that," Harris said. "We need him and wanted him to know that."
Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said Franklin's actions were out of character.
"He's a quiet guy," Robinson said. "He's a very disciplined player. For him to do what he did is very out of character. I think it just came in the heat of the moment, an emotional flash. He's a good guy.
"He's handled this and is remorseful. He's done what he's had to do. And, I think he understands the importance of what he is to this team."
Franklin was first to the media room after practice Wednesday, ahead of Robinson. He made an opening statement, then took a few questions.
"I'd like to apologize," Franklin said. "I take full responsibility for both of the penalties and for bumping into the official.
"I sent a letter of apology to the Chancellor and to the officiating crew."
Franklin promised it would never happen again.
What was it like watching the final three quarters of the game alone?
"It was heartbreaking," he said, "watching my team battle and knowing I couldn't help. My teammates did tell me they had my back and not to worry about what happened."
Robinson said the team moved quickly to film review and a Sunday practice.
"We came back really strong," Robinson said. "We saw that in a Sunday workout. We watched the film and they didn't like what they saw."
Robinson said there was both "good and bad" in the game despite the big numbers on the scoreboard and on the stat sheet from the Georgia offense.
"We did some bad in some of our two-deep coverages, so maybe I should have shown them that route one or two more times in practice," Robinson said. "We made some mistakes in alignment and technique. You can't lose sight of that against a really good team.
"At the same time, we had some good things. I thought we flew around. I thought we did some good things against the run. We did give up the long run, but we did well on a lot of other running plays."
The long run was against a cornerback blitz scheme, the first play for true freshman linebacker Terrell Williams after Franklin's ejection. Ramon Broadway was blitzing from the outside, Harris stepping to the outside to cover the wide receiver. Williams also stepped to the outside away from the charge of Richard Samuel straight through his gap.
"I took two steps to the outside and didn't recover quick enough," Harris said. "It was right through the area I left, or would have been in normally."
Defensively, there may be some changes in the back end of the defense, possibly with the return of safety Elton Ford. Ford missed the second half of last season because of a broken neck and did not play in the first two games.
"He's starting to get healthy," Robinson said. "We have been bringing him back slowly. It's been a little bit of a confidence issue and timing. We've wanted to be careful with him. But we think he's ready."
Ford sustained an ankle injury in camp, but it could have been that coaches have been waiting for him to get past the mental aspect of hitting after the broken neck.
"It's been unbearable just to watch," Ford said. "But at the same time, you need to be a team player and be supportive of your teammates. I've been practicing and getting ready. I'm excited about this week."
Ford knows what to expect from Alabama.
"They are a very phsycial team," he said. "We know the type of game it's going to be. It will be about which team outhits the other, is the most physical. We expect them to come out and try to establish the run. They have very good players, very good backs and they like to play physical."
Robinson liked what he saw from another safety, junior college transfer Anthony Leon.
"He got over 30 snaps," Robinson said of Leon's playing time against Georgia. "He made two mental errors at the end of the half. But he got more production. He's had a really good week of practice."
The middle of the field will be important with the return of Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. The big sophomore likes to run routes to the middle and use his wide, big body on pass plays.
"I was sure he'd be back," Robinson said. "They are a two dimensional team, but they are still going to lead with the running game. The quarterback is everything people thought about him and they have awfully good running backs.
"We have to win first downs so we can play down and distance with them. I do think they will be more physical than Georgia. They have a very talented offensive line. They do a great job of getting a hat on a hat and that really complements their play-action passing game."
Harris remembers Alabama's players and the tone of last year's game.
"Julio Jones is a great player, but that's what we are going to see every week in the SEC," Harris said. "It's a different star each game. We respect Julio Jones, but we respect their backs, too. They have great backs.
"We saw A. J. Green last week and Julio is a lot like him in that he's going to go up and get the ball high with his hands. Green might be faster, but they both have great bodies. Jones goes across the middle and makes plays.
"What I remember about last year is that they got a short field for a score then they came back with an 80-yard run. I remember it hurt our spirits.
"That's where the Georgia game was different than our first SEC game last year. We gave up plays, but I think we never let up. We kept playing hard."
So what happened against Georgia?
"We made mental mistakes," Harris said. "We didn't play with 11. We had 10 play it right, and one make a mistake. That's what we have to fix. That's why we know we can play better. We can get those mental errors fixed."