With spring football right around the corner many people will assume that the signal calling role for the Missouri offense is all but decided with James Franklin. Although, as recently as December bowl practice there have been reports that Blaine Gabbert's little brother Tyler has been making a strong push towards the starting role.
Last season, everybody saw glimpses of potential greatness in true freshman James Franklin. Being highly regarded out of high school in Dallas, Franklin was recruited by Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska among others.
James made his debut in the second game of the season against McNeese State. In limited playing time he ran for a touchdown and threw for 25 yards. In the Colorado game he busted off a 34 yard run off of a zone read that showed his play making ability. The run everybody will remember from last year was the 3 yard TD run against Oklahoma that put the tigers up for good.
Tyler Gabbert is a sleeper to get the starting job going into this spring camp. He does not get the same kind of notoriety that Franklin does simply because he did not get the playing time, and that he is just known as "little Gabbert" and never got any respect.
Gabbert was a fairly hot recruit, he originally committed to Nebraska before ultimately committing to Mizzou (just like his brother). He was the 17th best Pro Style QB coming out of Parkway West in Saint Louis. I have not seen him much in a game time situation, but if what the media has been saying about him recently is true than he could possibly be in position for a starting job.
What is going to be interesting to watch is that the two quarterbacks would run completely different offenses. Franklin would run a spread run look that would focus on the zone read circa Brad Smith while Gabbert would run a similar system to what was in place the past few years.
I think that James Franklin is on the inside track to become the starting quarterback of the 2011 Missouri Tigers, but any slip ups in spring practice and a solid performance by Gabbert could throw Tyler right into the spot light next year.