Missouri senior quarterback James Franklin is off to a very good start for 2013. His team is 5-0 heading into a big game at Georgia this Saturday, and Franklin is putting up numbers that compare with the best seasons by a QB in school history.
Franklin entered his senior season ranked second on Missouri’s career list with his 62% completion rate and 134.0 passer efficiency rating.
This season, Franklin is putting together one of the best seasons by a QB in school history. Through five games, Franklin is completing 68% of his passes (114-168-3) for 1407 yards and 13 TDs. That’s good for a 160.17 passer efficiency rating, which is on pace to rank as the highest single-season passer efficiency rating in school history. Franklin will likely finish his Missouri career trailing only Chase Daniel and Brad Smith in career passing yards.
In addition, Franklin has rushed for 278 yards and 2 TDs on 53 carries (5.2 yards/carry). He enters this weekend ranked 2nd in the SEC, and 10th nationally, in total offense (337.0 yards/game). Again, Franklin will likely leave Missouri ranking third all-time in total offense for the Tigers, trailing only Chase Daniel, and four-year starter Brad Smith.
Earlier this week, ShowMeMizzou.com listened in to what a few people had to say about Franklin.
“James (Franklin) is healthy, and he’s more confident,” said Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt. “He’s running well. They run the option. They run the read option, and if nothing is there, he’ll take off running with confidence. He’s standing in the pocket with a lot of confidence, and he’s very accurate. He’s on target, and he looks like he’s in his element.”
Earlier, James Franklin told me that the work that he did over spring break with George Whitfield has really helped him. He cited the improvement in his footwork that he made working with Whitfield as a major factor in his improved accuracy and velocity.
Of course, Franklin is a very experienced QB, and he and his head coach have both pointed out how much better he’s seeing the field and reading defenses. “James is playing pretty well,” said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel. “This will be another test for him. He’s been playing outstanding! It doesn’t surprise me at all. His leadership’s been great! And, he’s kind of what I thought he’d be. You know, if you’d asked me three years ago, this doesn’t surprise me at all.……………………………………………… My expectation level for him was that he could be a great player………………………………………… I’m very happy for him, and I’m very pleased with him, and his play and his leadership.”
Franklin’s new position coach likes his senior QB. “(James Franklin) really prepares very well,” explained Coach Hill. “He spends a lot of time during the week, not just in this building, but outside the building, trying to know what the game plan’s going to be and watching extra film. So he has an idea of what he wants to do and I think that really helps him.”
Of course, Franklin’s quality of character is evident. He’s the kind of guy who will run over you, then extend his hand to help you up. Of course, his head coach, as well as Mizzou Nation, would prefer that he avoid those big collisions.
“(James Franklin) is just a great young man,” continued Coach Hill. “It’s easy to coach him. And, he wants to be coached. That makes it pretty easy for any position coach, a guy that wants to be coached.”
And, Franklin is a big part of the senior leadership on this year’s Missouri team. He is one of the big reasons that this year’s team has the kind of work ethic, attitude, and team chemistry that lends itself to continual in-season improvement, and that Coach Pinkel spoke about earlier this week.
“There is a chemistry and a determination, a combination of both, with this team and leadership,” explained Coach Pinkel. “And, I think it's, you know, the circle the wagons, you know, we had a tough year last year, you know, we want to win, and we're willing to pay the price to do it type thing. And, I just kind of felt that, that these guys have had that in there. And that they've taken this real personal. I know the seniors have. Most of these guys have been here five years and they went to bowls every year except last year, and they want to get back. And, I really want them to do well too, because I'm around them all the time, and I see this determination, and I see this leadership and excitement that they have.”