It was never a question of who would be the starting Missouri quarterback, it was a question of when the decision would be announced. Everybody and their brother knew James Franklin was going to start, and only an apocalypse would have prevented it from happening.
The world has not come to an end and Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel has officially announced Franklin as the starter, according to Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
James has shown that he’s very capable of leading this team at a high level, and we fully expect him to do that, Pinkel said in a news release issued about 10 hours after the conclusion of Franklin’s second strong scrimmage. He’s really developed as a leader of this offense, and of this team, and we feel he’s ready to be the difference maker he was before all of the health challenges he dealt with last season.
Pinkel remained hesitant on naming a starter due to Franklin's injury-plagued season. He had shoulder surgery before the 2012 season and the effects lingered throughout the year. Franklin missed three games and was consistently being removed from others due to the nagging pain and inconsistent play.
These injury concerns gave backup quarterbacks Corbin Berkstresser and Maty Mauk a glimmer of hope to win the starting job. And while both will spend of lot of this season on the bench, they should remain ready to step in for a series or two, per the Matter report.
We have a history with that, and it’s something that has worked very well for us, Pinkel said. When Brad Smith was a senior, we had Chase Daniel as a freshman show that he earned a series or two per game, and that was tremendous for his growth. When Blaine Gabbert was in his last year here, James Franklin was a freshman, and we got him some work on a fairly regular basis, and we feel that was instrumental in what he was able to do the next year as a starter.
When healthy, Franklin is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. He passed for 2,865 yards, rushed for 981 yards and scored 36 touchdowns as a sophomore.
He is a game-changer and a tough quarterback who doesn't mind lowering his shoulder in order to move the chains. Given his history with injuries, he will want to be less aggressive in his playing style.
Franklin gives the Tigers hope to return to the postseason after coming up just short last season with a 5-7 record. He is tough to defend and can ignite the entire team to perform better with his will to make plays and win.
No surprise here, but it should make Missouri fans happy that Franklin is back.