In Missouri's 2011 season opener, sophomore QB James Franklin made his first career start in guiding the Tigers to a 17-6 victory over the visiting Miami (OH) Redhawks. On the day, he completed 17 of 26 passes for 129 yards, and 1 TD. In the third quarter, he threw an interception, on what Coach Pinkel called a "bad decision", that gave Miami (OH) a short field, and set up their only score. Franklin also ran the football for 72 yards, and 1 TD, on 14 carries. For his performance, he was selected by the team as the Offensive Player of the Week. Earlier this week, Franklin visited with ShowMeMizzou.com, and talked about his game one performance, and about getting ready for game two.
"After the first few series, I was thinking that the coaches know what they're talking about when they say that they make practice harder than the game," explained Franklin. "I kept thinking (the game) was going to get harder. So, I was overthinking it, and worrying about things that weren't even there, instead of just applying (my thoughts) to the game. Like when the corner was peaking, obviously, instead of throwing the out route, I've should have thrown the vertical. Things like that. So, I think the best thing I saw from (the first game), is that the coaches do their best to make sure that practice is harder than the game."
Franklin was pretty hard on himself following his game one performance. But later, he intimated that the grade that he received from the staff was higher than what he thought his performance warranted.
"There were things in the running game that I thought were alright," said Franklin, as he began to critique his game one performance. "It was the passing game where I was really disappointed. My mechanics were off. I wasn't stepping into it. I was falling away. That was more, I think, of a mental error for me. Because, going back there, I saw everything, and I knew what I needed to do. But, I just didn't do it, because I was rushing. I saw it there, and I was trying to hurry up and get it there, rather than just stay in rhythm, and trust what we've been doing all summer, all spring, and starting this fall. Also, in the film room, when I was watching it, I was seeing the exact same thing. It was just the mechanics. The decision-making was good, besides the interception. It was just a matter of making the throws."
I asked Franklin if he recognized the problems he was having with his throwing mechanics during the game?
"Yes sir! I knew it. I could feel it," replied Franklin. "When I came off to the sideline, I was thinking, why am I doing this? The coaches do a good job of making practice harder than the game. After the first few series, I was thinking, this really is easier than practice. Then, I was thinking, it's bound to get harder. It's going to get harder. And, I kept thinking, when is it going to come? I was overthinking it, making everything a lot harder than it actually was."
"It's just a matter of not overthinking, and just doing what we do in practice," said Franklin, offering his solution. "It's just a matter of doing what I do in practice. In practice today, I was consciously thinking of making sure that I'm not drifting, make sure I step into it, and stay in rhythm. That felt a lot more comfortable."
Franklin said that he's making adjustments in how he's going to throw the short out routes, so that he can get the ball to the receiver more quickly.
"That's something that I started working on today," explained Franklin. "I'll continue to work on that during the week; on the quick game, the short stuff, just getting the ball into the receiver's hands as quick as I can."
Franklin said that it felt good to hook up with Marcus Lucas for the TD pass.
"Pre-snap, it was supposed to go to the right," explained Franklin. "But, then the safety flew down to the right, so I started to look left. The defensive backs were in man, but they actually switched, instead of staying with their man……………………………. When I saw Marcus come in, he knew I was going to go to him. It felt pretty good."
Franklin talked about Arizona State.
"They're a solid team," said Franklin. "They have some key players. They run a lot of cover four, and some cover three……………………………… We have our game plan, and we're getting ready for them."