Missouri Tigers, James Franklin Hope for Better 2013

By Tim Letcher

When the Missouri Tigers entered the Southeastern Conference in 2012, it was thought that Tigers’ quarterback James Franklin would be among the elite players in a stacked conference.

Turns out that Franklin didn’t live up to the hype in 2012. He suffered through injuries to his head, knee and shoulder, while taking a beating behind an injured offensive line. Franklin was only able to manage 1,562 yards passing and 10 touchdowns in 2012. He also threw seven interceptions while his rushing yardage was limited to 122 total yards. These were not the numbers expected from a player that nearly missed a 3,000-yard passing and 1,000-yard rushing season in 2011.

If Missouri is to take a step forward in the SEC in 2013, Franklin must step up his game. After all, this is a quarterback who passed for 2,865 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore. He also added 981 yards rushing and 15 scores during his sophomore season.

Franklin will also face competition for his starting job in 2013. Corbin Berkstresser played in 10 games last season, passing for 1.059 yards and five touchdowns, with seven interceptions. Berkstresser also rushed for 56 yards and three scores.

Also on the Missouri roster is Maty Mauk, a former four-star recruit and Mr. Football from the state of Ohio. Mauk’s brother Ben was a starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bearcats during his career.

The job will be Franklin’s to lose. Coach Gary Pinkel, who is on somewhat of a hot seat after last season’s 5-7 finish, must decide if Franklin is the best option as the Tigers begin their second season in the SEC. That decision will be crucial, as the Tigers face a demanding schedule that includes games at  the Vanderbilt Commodores, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels, as well as home games against the Florida Gators, the South Carolina Gamecocks, the Tennessee Volunteers and the Texas A&M Aggies.

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