As spring football approaches for Missouri, ShowMeMizzou.com takes a look at the Tigers. In this installment, we look at the QB position, where the Mizzou returns a junior starter with a season of experience under his belt.
In his first season as Missouri's starting QB, James Franklin 6'2" 225 was very impressive, and he posted one of the top seasons by a QB in Missouri history. On the season, Franklin completed 63.3% of his pass attempts (238-376-11) for 2865 passing yards, and 21 TDs through the air. He also carried the football 217 times for 981 yards (4.5 yards/carry) and 15 TDs on the ground. His completion percentage and his passer efficiency rating of 139.88 have Franklin well-positioned behind only Chase Daniel to become the second-most accurate and efficient passer in the school's history.
Franklin finished the year with 3846 yards of total offense, which ranked 15th nationally, including first nationally among freshmen and sophomores, and which placed his 2011 season fourth on Missouri's all-time list, behind each of Chase Daniel's three seasons at Missouri. Franklin fell just 60 yards short of the total offensive output Daniel had during his sophomore year, which was also his first year as a starter at Missouri.
Those of us who watched closely saw Franklin improve throughout a season in which Missouri finished at 8-5, the same record that Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert posted as sophomores and first-year starters.
The numbers, including the statistics and the won-loss record, suggest that Franklin performed very well in 2011, and it's clear that his performance measures up to the standards established by those who preceded him at the position. Franklin's Tigers faced a tougher schedule in 2011 than did either of Daniel or Gabbert during their time at Missouri. And, Franklin didn't have the benefit of an All-American receiver such as Rucker, Coffman, Maclin, or Alexander.
Franklin would be the first one to say that he should have played better in 2011. There's every reason to believe that he will play better in 2012.
Coach Pinkel and Coach Yost have each said that he continued to get better from the beginning of the season until the end of the season, and they've both said that he will be a lot better in 2012.
Red-shirt freshman QB Corbin Berkstresser 6'4" 220 spent his first season at Missouri as an understudy. By his own admission, Berkstresser wasn't ready to play in 2011. He learned the Missouri offense, and got into the best physical condition of his young life. He'll be the number two QB heading into the spring, and he should be ready to play when called upon next fall.
In the spring, the third-string QB will be junior Ashton Glaser 6'0" 205, who is capable in that role, and who has shown himself to be a team-oriented guy.
The outlook at the QB position for Missouri in 2012 is great! There will be two areas of emphasis this spring as I watch the QBs: the extent of Franklin's continued development, and the strides that Berkstresser will have made. If he is needed to step in and take over this year, will the red-shirt freshman be ready?