It has been said in the past that if you play two quarterbacks, it means you don’t have one, meaning that neither of the two that are playing are good enough to separate themselves from the other. And while, in most cases, this is not a good thing, a two quarterback setup might be just the thing for the Missouri Tigers this weekend.
James Franklin, who won the starting job in fall camp, appears ready to come back from a shoulder injury that he suffered against the Georgia Bulldogs on October 12. Franklin has played very well this season, after an injury-riddled 2012 season. Franklin is once again making plays with his arms and his legs this season, and he has gone back to the dual threat that he was as a sophomore.
However, in Franklin’s absence, Maty Mauk has served as the quarterback, and he has played well. Mauk led the Tigers to wins over the Florida Gators and the Tennessee Volunteers, with a loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks in between. Mauk is clearly the quarterback of the future for Gary Pinkel and his program, so getting him as many snaps as possible would benefit the long-term outlook.
The other factor that would allow both quarterbacks to play is the opponent. The Kentucky Wildcats are just 2-6 on the season, and have not won a Southeastern Conference game in nearly two years. If Pinkel is going to experiment with playing two signal callers, this is the week to do it.
Pinkel could make sure to put Franklin in positions where he will not get hit (running plays to the running backs, quick passes), while using Mauk in situations that could call on the quarterback to be knocked down. This would allow Franklin to get rid of any rust that he might have, without getting hit, so that he can be ready for the season’s final two games. And it will also keep Mauk sharp, in case he is needed down the stretch.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.