Missouri stud running back Henry Josey is officially out for the entire season. It's a good thing the Tigers' quarterback also moonlights as a ball carrier.
That dual threat, of course, goes by the name of James Franklin, an under-the-radar Heisman candidate for 2012.
Replacing Josey won't necessarily be easy, though.
The 5'10" stick of dynamite got just 145 carries as a sophomore last year, but he turned them into 1,168 yards and nine touchdowns. That's a ridiculous 8.1 yards per rush.
But after getting off to a rough start against Texas (11 carries for 19 yards), Josey tore just about every "CL" in his left knee. As a result, he won't be back until 2013.
So, yes, tough to replace and a very unfortunate injury for him, but not impossible. Even in the SEC.
Kendial Lawrence, who apparently is better suited as a linebacker, is hardly chopped liver. The senior got 119 carries last year for 566 yards and five touchdowns. He also added 14 catches out of the backfield.
Lawrence isn't necessarily a ball-carrier who will put the team on his back and he's not a home run-threat like Josey, but considering he got just 26 fewer carries than Josey last year, he's more than capable of starting, as long as he has a little help.
Marcus Murphy and true freshman Russell Hansbrough will help shoulder the load, but, more importantly, help will come via the arm and legs of James Franklin.
For as good as the former top recruit was in 2011, he now has to be that much better. No more Michael Egnew, no more Henry Josey and, in case you were wondering, SEC defenses are a little different than the Big 12.
But while quarterbacks often struggle in the SEC, Franklin has the unique skillset to take the conference by storm.
Franklin can throw. He completed 63 percent of his throws last year for 2,865 yards, 21 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. With the exception of Egnew, he gets most of his main weapons back in the passing game.
Franklin can run. He kept the ball for himself 217 times for 981 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Throw in the added experience and Missouri fans shouldn't be concerned about putting all their eggs in their quarterback's basket.
Again, the loss of Josey hurts, but the Tigers coaching staff has had all spring and summer to prepare for this. They—and most importantly, James Franklin—will be ready.
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