Don't be so quick to pencil in James Franklin as Missouri's starting quarterback. Well, actually, pencil may be the proper writing instrument.
Head coach Gary Pinkel has Franklin as the starter, but that decision is not final, per Dave Matter of St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Pinkel: Franklin is starting QB going into camp. Final decision could happen middle of month— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) July 16, 2013
This must be coach-speak. Pinkel doesn't want anybody to get too comfortable at their position, so he makes players feel like there is no guaranteed playing time.
That philosophy is shared among most head coaches and usually is applied to everyone, from the backups to the starting quarterback.
You may be the most talented player on the team, but don't go thinking you don't have to work for your starting job.
Yeah, OK coach.
Before Missouri fans begin protesting on Franklin's behalf, consider that this is simply a precaution with the senior quarterback. Pinkel must see how he responds in fall camp before writing his name in marker, according to Ben Kercheval of College Football Talk.
“We’re leaving quarterback competition open until August,” Pinkel said, citing Franklin’s injury-filled 2012 campaign as a reason for the competition. "He [Franklin] probably had more injuries last year than all my other quarterbacks combined."
Will James Franklin be the starting quarterback?
He also sprained his knee in the 19-15 loss to Vanderbilt, and he missed the matchup against Alabama due to the same injury. Franklin needs a clean bill of health before officially becoming the starter.
Missouri has a couple options if Franklin can't go for whatever reason.
Corbin Berkstresser was decent at times last season when filling in for Franklin. He threw for 1,059 yards on 177 pass attempts and threw five touchdown passes.
The Tigers can also turn to Maty Mauk, who was a 4-star recruit in the 2012 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
But make no mistake about it, if Franklin is healthy, he will be the starting quarterback for the season opener.