Miller & Francis a Good Combination

With All-American cornerback Justin Miller locking down one side of the field in 2003, the other cornerback position could become one of the more important cogs in defensive coordinator John Lovett's defense. "Everybody knows that other corner is going to get the action, and I want it," said Columbia native Toure Francis.

For Toure Francis, a former walk-on from Columbia's Richland-Northeast High School, the road back to the football field field has been long and winding.

You see, Toure saw his season come to an unexpected end last year when he tore his ACL in the season opener game against the Georgia Bulldogs.

"It was tough going down last season, no doubt," said Francis. "But right now I'm just happy to be back out there playing football again. It's great being back with my teammates. I've really missed it."

The Columbia native began to emerge in the second half of the 2001 season, when he started 3 games and played in a season high 60 snaps and recorded 6 tackles in the Humanitarian Bowl win over Louisiana Tech.
After a strong showing last fall, he earned a spot on the first team headed into the 2002 regular season before he tore his ACL in Athens.

Since that point in time, his main focus has been in two key areas: getting that knee back to 100%, and getting back that all-important first team status.

"I'm working with the second team right now, but I don't think that's going to be like that for very long. Tye Hill is practicing with the first team and I'm with the second, but hopefully I'm going to be competing for the starting job soon."

As far as the knee goes, his rehabilitation went extremely well, and he's back to 100% headed into the heart of fall practice.

"I've been 100% for most of the summer," said Francis. "I can cut and move around back there with no problem. That's the thing, you don't want to come back out here dragging that leg around, and I definitely don't feel like I'm doing that."

With All-American cornerback Justin Miller locking down one side of the field in 2003, the other cornerback position could become one of the more important cogs in defensive coordinator John Lovett's defense.

Francis understands the challenges that lie ahead, and quite frankly, he fully expects to be out on an island in the secondary.

"Everybody knows that other corner is going to get the action, and I want it. In fact, I need it. I want to go out there and prove that I can do it."

He'll get his opportunity in about 25 days.

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