Through two games, Missouri sophomore quarterback, James Franklin, has shown considerable promise. Against Arizona State, Franklin led his team to a fourteen-point fourth quarter comeback, to tie the game at 30-30. And then, in the waning seconds, Franklin got his team into position for a potential game-winning field goal attempt. After Arizona State won the game in overtime, the Sun Devils' head coach, Dennis Erickson met Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel at mid-field.
"That guy (Franklin) is going to be really good," said Coach Erickson.
A few minutes later, in talking about Franklin, Coach Pinkel told reporters, "I would suggest that we've got a guy that has a chance to be pretty special."
Very special. Perhaps the most exciting observation that I've made regarding Franklin is that he has has demonstrated that he is just going to get better, and better. He is genuinely humble, and receives coaching very well. He's smart, his work ethic is exemplary, and he places his teammates above himself. On Monday, Coach Pinkel talked about Franklin.
"He's a very talented guy, very poised," said Coach Pinkel. "He's got his personality as a quarterback. He can do what he does, the escapability, and being able to extend plays. Those kind of things, you can coach a little bit, but it has a lot to do just with the type of athlete your dealing with. And, I expect him to continue to get better."
On Monday, Franklin said that he was feeling a lot better, after being pretty banged up following Friday night's game. He critiqued his own performance against Arizona State.
"A few times on Friday, I got stuck on one target," explained Franklin. "And, I didn't go through my progressions. I ended up having to throw it away, or scramble, or force it in, or something like that. So, I just need to get through my progressions a little bit better. That's something, that I just need to work on it……………………………. For the most part, I don't think I had too many that I tried to force. I think there were about two or three. I didn't want to put us in a situation where it could hurt us. In a way, I was being smart with the ball. But, at the same time, I need to complete more passes."
Franklin said that of the 27 carries with which he was credited, that about 10 were scrambles. Those started out as pass plays, but then he decided to pull it down and run. Of the 17 called running plays, Franklin said that Coach Yost told him that there were 2 or 3 that he should have handed off, instead of keeping it.
He said that Arizona State's defensive ends did a good job of playing the zone read play, making it difficult to read, and of getting an early jump on the snap, which placed them deep in the back field.
I asked Franklin what he's done to try to take his practice play into the game?
"I was more focused on it going into the game," said Franklin, who explained that he tries to kind of go through the play in his head before each play. "I was just trying to stay in rhythm. Telling myself that there's no need to rush. I think I did a better job, but I still didn't do as well as I would like to………………………………… I just need to apply my practice to the game. I know what to do. I think it's more about trusting what I see in the game."