Missouri Football: QB James Franklin's Injury Gives Backups Valuable Experience

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMarch 20, 2012

Missouri QB James Franklin
Missouri QB James FranklinChristian Petersen/Getty Images

The Missouri football program got some scary news on Monday, when it was revealed that star quarterback James Franklin will undergo surgery on his right shoulder, which he injured while diving into a pile after a loose ball last week in spring practice.  

Franklin is expected to be fine when the season rolls around, which means that his backups—redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser in particular—will receive valuable snaps with the first team for the rest of the spring.

Berkstresser didn't exactly shine in Missouri's scrimmage last weekend, where he completed 10-of-25 passes for 105 yards and was sacked three times.  The coaches were pleased with his ability to lead touchdown drives but stressed that it was important for Berkstresser to avoid sacks and make smart decisions.

That's what the rest of the spring will be all about.

Franklin will be fine.  If healthy, he will emerge as one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC—an SEC that includes Aaron Murray, Tyler Bray, Tyler Wilson and Connor Shaw.  Now is the time for Berkstresser to get comfortable with the first team if and when he's called upon this fall.

Just how important is this time?  Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson can probably answer that.  

Wilson got first team snaps in place of injured starter Ryan Mallett in the spring of 2010.  When Mallett was knocked out late in the first half of the 2010 Auburn game, Wilson stepped right in and completed 25-of-34 passes for 332 yards and four touchdowns—against the eventual national champions.

You never want to see any player get injured, but this is football and it happens.  Despite the injury, there's no doubt that Franklin is the guy for Missouri.  Berkstresser can take huge steps towards becoming his successor with a solid performance the rest of the spring.