The Missouri Tigers had a disappointing season in 2012. The move to the Southeastern Conference didn’t go as well as Gary Pinkel and his team had hoped. And, in the process of losing games (a 5-7 overall record), the Tigers also mounted a number of injuries.
The injuries that had the biggest impact on last season’s Mizzou team were those suffered by starting quarterback James Franklin. During his junior season last year, Franklin missed all of three games and parts of others, struggling with a troublesome shoulder, among other injuries.
Franklin passed for only 1,562 yards last season, with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Compare that to his sophomore season in 2011, when he passed for 2,865 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 picks.
The rushing numbers that Franklin amassed also took a big hit. In 2011, he was a big threat on the ground, rushing for 981 yards and 15 scores. Last year, Franklin only gained 122 yards on the ground and did not rush for a touchdown.
If Missouri is to rebound this season, Franklin must be the man that makes it happen. The return of Henry Josey in the backfield will be helpful, and the emergence of Dorial Green-Beckham would be a huge boost to the Tigers. But if there is a single player that must make things happen in 2013, it’s Franklin.
Pinkel and the staff will do their best to put Franklin and the team in a position to make plays, but ultimately it comes down to the players. And that puts a lot of pressure on Franklin to perform in 2013.