Gary Pinkel, Missouri Tigers Should Name James Franklin Starting QB

By Terry Johnson
Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Based on what’s happened during the Missouri Tigers’ spring practices, Gary Pinkel should go ahead and name James Franklin the starter and end the three-man quarterback competition.

Pinkel said at the conclusion of yesterday’s Black and Gold game that he and his staff would finalize the August depth chart by Monday, but he stopped short of naming a starter. As my distinguished colleague Tim Letcher points out, this means the spirited battle will continue well into fall camp.

To be completely honest, I’m shocked that this duel isn’t over. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the Mizzou coaching staff wants to create an environment where players have to compete every day for the right to get on the gridiron. However, quarterback is a completely different animal because it requires someone to play with confidence at all times rather than worrying about what’s going to happen to him when things go wrong. As long as one player is better than the others, he should remain under center regardless of the circumstances.

That’s why Franklin should be the starter. He clearly separated himself from other signal callers during the spring.

A closer look at yesterday’s scrimmage will show the gap between Franklin and the other top triggermen.

Make no mistake about it, Franklin didn’t post any eye-popping statistics. However, he did guide the first-team offense to two scores in four drives, and he didn’t turn the ball over. By comparison, fellow contenders Maty Mauk and Corbin Berkstresser combined to throw four picks and failed to lead the Tigers in the endzone.

Yesterday’s scrimmage was a continuation of what’s happened all spring. Sure, Mauk and Berkstresser had more of a “wow factor” during Mizzou’s scrimmages, but Franklin was always the most consistent performer of the group. If the Tigers are going to compete in the SEC East, it’s imperative that they take care of the football. Otherwise, opportunistic defenses like Georgia, Florida and South Carolina will make them pay.

Let’s be honest: based on his performance this spring—which included a week-long session with QB guru George Whitfield—Franklin gives Missouri the best chance to win this fall. While Pinkel and his staff should create some packages for Mauk and Berkstresser to keep opposing defenses off-balance, it’s time to designate him as the starter and starting preparing the offense for the 2013 campaign.

Terry Johnson is a college football writer for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TPJCollFootball, like him on Facebook and/or add him to your network on 

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