LB Francis Following in Father's Footsteps

"We are very good on the outside, we have six very solid linebackers on the outside with Wade Koehl, Brenden Pahulu, Scott Lee, Chris Pilot and Kenny Atkins. As for our roles and keeping us fresh, Wade and Scott are the biggest and will be out there to stuff the running games. I am pretty much the go-to guy on pass rushing. I can also drop back in coverage and be on the field..." - James Francis

RS - Where are you from and where did you play high school football at?
JF - I grew up in LaMarque and played ball at LaMarque high school.

RS - What is you current height/weight and have you tested in speed and strength drills?
JF - 6'0, 215 lbs and I ran a 4.41 last time I tested.

RS - Before transferring from Baylor did you see any time as a freshman and if so in what capacity?
JF - I played on the 2nd team as a true freshman. They ran a 4-2-5 defense then so I played a cross between a strong safety and outside linebacker.

RS - Did you also see anytime on special teams, where at and will you be playing any special teams this season?
JF - Yes, I did, I played on punt and kickoff returns. I made a few tackles but blocked a punt versus Texas State.

RS - Having a father who was so successful at the college and professional levels do you do a lot of discussing and getting advice from him following practices and games?
JF - Somewhat, he does try to give me a lot, but I pretty much just go with what I know.

RS - Most insiders, including myself, are calling the OLBs the deepest and most talented position on the team, what can you tell us about the other OLBs and how much it will benefit the defense as a whole to have so much depth to keep everyone fresh?
JF - We are very good on the outside, we have six very solid linebackers on the outside with Wade Koehl, Brendan Pahulu, Scott Lee, Chris Pilot and Kenny Atkins. As for our roles and keeping us fresh, Wade and Scott are the biggest and will be out there to stuff the running games. I am pretty much the go-to guy on pass rushing. I can also drop back in coverage and be on the field in nickel/dime situations.

RS - There is a lot of excitement and talk about the return of the "Maddog Defense" that once made Houston some of the most feared defenses in the nation to face on Saturdays. With Coach Allan Weddell now in charge of the defense, a LBs dream, how do you see this defense and how will it be different from last years?
JF - It is going to be real different and not just because of Coach Weddell, but because of our new strength and conditioning Coach Larry Jackson. He is pretty good at what he does and has gotten us in much better shape. As for bringing back the "Maddog" Defense, we may be something even better.

RS - Talk has been rampant all throughout the athletic department since the hire of Coach Jackson as the new strength and conditioning coordinator, what impact has he had on you and how would you compare the routine now to what you have been accustomed to at Baylor?
JF - We also had a pretty good one at Baylor, and was similar, but I just feel a lot more comfortable here at Houston.

RS - After playing with Baylor and against Big 12 competition and how do you compare the level of play and talent here to before?
JF - There really is not much difference. The Big 12 as a whole is a little tougher but there is talent here as well.

RS - What are your expectations and goals this season both individually and as a team?
JF - I just want to do everything I can to help Houston win the conference championship.

RS - How do you prepare for an offense like Rice who will be implementing a brand new system? Will the defense try to give them as much to think about as possible?
JF - Being that they do have a new system we will have to mix things up with zones and blitzes and keep them thinking until we figure out what they are doing.

RS - Please tell us what you are, majoring in and what your ambitions are following school?
JF - I am majoring in Sociology. Hopefully I will be able to take my game to the next level, but if not I would like to go back home (LaMarque) and coach football.

RS - Do you ever read CoogFans.com and what are your thoughts of it as a source of fan interaction?
JF - I am not real big on surfing the net, but when I do get on to check my e-mails I glance at the board every once in a while.

RS - Are there any final words you would like to say to all the Cougar fans out there?
JF - Just come out to support the Cougars in '06 and help us bring home a Conference Championship.



Thanks James for the outstanding interview. We are looking forward to watching all these great OLBs fly all over the filed this season.

RWCoogs


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