On Monday, ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Missouri senior QB and captain James Franklin about his return to the line-up at Ole Miss, as he critiqued his performance in his first game back after a four-game lay-off due to a shoulder injury. He also talked about what lies ahead.
At Ole Miss, Franklin led the Tigers to a 24-10 win as he finished 12-19-1 for 142 yards passing and he rushed for another 42 yards on 8 carries. While Franklin’s numbers were solid but not spectacular, he made critical plays when it mattered, as he guided Missouri to a workman-like conference road win.
“I thought he did great!” said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel, speaking of Franklin’s performance at Ole Miss.
Heading into Franklin’s final game at Faurot Field this Saturday, the senior ranks second on Missouri’s career list for completion percentage (63%) and passer efficiency rating (138.78). He’ll also finish his career at Missouri third on Missouri’s career total yardage list, behind passing leader Chase Daniel, and Brad Smith.
One of the things I’ve learned about James Franklin is that he’s not like the other guys who have played QB here at Missouri in recent years. For one thing, he’s very conscientious with respect to his performance and he exhibits great courage in openly assessing his play, including his shortcomings. Another thing about Franklin is that no one is more critical of his play than he is.
So when I asked him to critique his performance at Mississippi, he was as honest and transparent as always.
“I wasn’t really happy with my performance,” explained Franklin. “I was thinking too much……………………………………….. Instead of just going out there and playing. It was definitely something that I’m not going to take into this (week's) game.”
Regarding the interception, Franklin said, “I just rushed it. It was play action, and I saw the (safety) bite down, and I just rushed it.”
Franklin went on to explain that he was “thinking too much” about doing good, and ended up letting it affect him a little bit, like rushing the throw when he saw the opportunity for a long TD pass to Dorial Green-Beckham. He appeared confident that he would not carry that anxiety into this week’s game.
“I just want to make sure that I don’t have that going into this week,” said Franklin.
Franklin shared his perspective on all of the adversity that he has gone through during his time at Missouri.
“I’m just really thankful for everything that I’ve been through, especially with all of the adverse things I’ve been through, because it’s helped me become who I am, and it’s taught me a lot of life lessons that I can apply later on in life, other than just enjoying the game” explained Franklin. “I’ve taken away a lot from it, and I’m really appreciative of my experiences here at Mizzou.”
"I think it has really helped me out with learning how to dealing with adversity," continued Franklin, referring to the injuries, the failures, and the unfair criticism. "Also, I'd rather me take the blame than somebody else, rather than having that put on somebody. Just going through it and everything, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But as for my teammates, I'd rather it be me than them. It was definitely tough, but it did help me be stronger, especially after this year............................................... It's really helped me out, just not focusing on that, and going out there and playing my game. It's been pretty exciting so far this year! I'm really thankful for it, though, not for the bad season, the bad performance last year, but the experience that came from it. I'm really thankful for that."
Franklin was asked about this being his last game at Faurot Field?
“I think it’s going to be a lot more than I expect,” replied Franklin. “Because right now, I don’t see it as being too emotional. But I’m pretty sure, once it comes around, it will be. It’ll be exciting! It’ll be sad that it’s my last home game at Mizzou, but I think it’ll be exciting, too!”
“I think it’s going to be crazy (at the ZOU on Saturday),” continued Franklin. “Not just because it’s Senior Night, but also because of how we’ve been doing so far this year, and the fans wanting to come for what’s on the line and everything. I think it’s going to be really exciting! Everyone wants to see a good football game. Two good football teams are going to be playing on Saturday.”
With the stakes admittedly high, Franklin said, “I’ll try to think about that stuff more so after the fact, because I don’t want to let it affect me going into the game………………………………………….. Sometimes we’ll talk to each other about how we have a lot of opportunities, and it’s good to think about those things. But then, we’re really trying to focus in on, okay, well to get to that, we have to take it one game at a time. It’s hard not to think about those things, but at the same time, that’s what we have to make sure that we can do, so we can succeed this week.”