Fighting for control

With starting quarterback James Franklin out with a strained knee, Missouri redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser will run the Tigers' no-huddle offense against the nation's No. 1 defense.

Ready or not, Corbin Berkstresser is Missouri's starting back against No. 1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) this week.

The Tigers' redshirt freshman quarterback came in for an injured James Franklin in the first quarter last week when the Tigers (3-3, 0-3 SEC) lost their third SEC game, this one 19-15 Vanderbilt at home. Berkstresser completed just 9 of 30 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown.

Not exactly thrilling numbers.

Earlier this week Berkstresser admitted to Missouri reporters that he was frazzled out there, which was clear in his performance, even though he can usually keep his cool. But even so, the young quarterback has shown glimpses of what he can do. In Mizzou's 24-20 win over Arizona State, he went 21 of 41 for 198 yards. Not too shabby.

Crimson Tide defensive end Damion Square said that the Tigers offense hasn't changed with Berkstresser in for Franklin.

"They run the same plays with both guys," he said. "Those guys are exceptional athletes and they run their offense well. They do what they do fast and they want to get a lot of plays out on the field real fast, get the defense on their toes and try to control the tempo of the game."

Like Ole Miss, Missouri runs a no-huddle, uptempo offense. The Rebels were effective with this style and put the Tide in uncomfortable situations, especially on long drives.

"You've just got to adapt," Square said. "You've got to come out there and set the tone. If you can do that, then you control the outcome of the game no matter what the offense is trying to put out on the field.

"When they sub, we sub. The offensive lineman has to get back to the ball, so can I. So whatever tempo they want to run, we can adapt to it. That's why we play for The University of Alabama."


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