It may not seem like there is a quarterback competition going on this spring with the Missouri Tigers. However, to hear head coach Gary Pinkel tell the story, not only is there a quarterback race going on during spring drills, it could actually be a close race.
Most analysts and fans would assume that James Franklin would return to the starting job this year after an injury-riddled 2012 season. Franklin’s numbers last season weren’t close to what Mizzou coaches were expecting from a player that was one of the best signal callers in the Big 12 in 2011.
Last season, Franklin passed for 1,562 yards and 10 touchdowns with seven interceptions. His rushing numbers were also way down as he gained only 122 yards on the ground.
When Franklin was injured during the 2012 campaign, redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser filled in. Berkstresser played in 10 games last season, passing for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns while also rushed for three more. However, he also threw seven interceptions.
Also in the mix this spring is Maty Mauk, a former Parade High School All-American who was redshirted last season. Mauk is a former Mr. Ohio Football and the younger brother of Ben Mauk, a former quarterback for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Like Franklin, Mauk is a dual-threat player, one who could beat opposing defenses with his arm or his legs.
Missouri suffered through a 5-7 season in 2012, which was the school’s first year in the Southeastern Conference. If the Tigers are to improve in 2013, the quarterback play must be much better than it was last season. That starts with making the decision as to who the starter will be and at this point, that remains a decision that has not been made.