It doesn’t seem possible, but spring football starts tomorrow for the Missouri Tigers. Over the next couple weeks, I will be examining each position and will be giving you a heads up on what position battles to keep an eye on.
Today we will start with the most important position, Quarterback. For the first time since the 2001 season, the Tigers really struggled at quarterback last year. We’ve been spoiled with Brad Smith, Chase Daniel, and Blaine Gabbert, and almost forgot what it’s like to not have one of the elite signal callers in the conference.
Entering the 2012 season, the quarterback position appeared to be in good hands, and most fans weren’t concerned about it. James Franklin was the guaranteed starter after having a very solid Sophomore season in 2011, where he threw for 2,865 yards and 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Fast forward to now and we have a completely different situation.
Franklin ended up having a dismal 2012 season. He missed three games due to injuries, and he threw for only 1,562 yards with 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Franklin also appeared to have his toughness questioned by head coach Gary Pinkel after missing the Arizona State game due to an injury. Pinkel revealed the fact that Franklin refused to take a pain-killing shot before the Arizona State game and the decision not to play was his.
Franklin struggled for the remainder of the season, and backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser wasn’t any better. Berkstresser only completed 49.7% of his passes, and he threw 5 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. This leaves us with a wide open battle for starting QB in 2013.
“In this situation, without what I call … (an) `established’ quarterback, we’ll pretty much” have even reps w/Franklin, Berk and Mauk.
— Vahe Gregorian (@vgregorian) March 11, 2013
Franklin, Berkstresser, and RS Freshman Maty Mauk appear to have an equal chance of being named the starter in 2013. Pinkel told Vahe Gregorian today that all three quarterbacks will pretty much have even reps this Spring.
Mauk is an athletic quarterback, who earned the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year Award twice. Mauk also set national records for career passing yards (18,932), touchdown passes (219), pass completions (1,353), and total offense (22,681). Mauk took a red shirt in 2012. Below is a YouTube video highlighting Mauk.
The Tigers also have two incoming freshman that will try to earn more reps this Spring. Trent Hosick from Staley High School in Kansas City, MO and Eddie Printz from Marietta, GA enrolled early at Mizzou and will be on the practice field tomorrow. At this point, I expect both of these quarterbacks to red shirt in 2013, but I do believe this is a wide open position battle and it’s not out of the question that one of these two could earn solid playing time in 2013.
My Pick: James Franklin
Hopefully you didn’t break your computer screen after throwing stuff at it, but I just have a feeling he’s going to bounce back this spring and will probably be the front runner entering the fall. I hope that Mauk is the real deal and will steal the starting role from the others, but without seeing him in action, it’s hard to predict how much he has improved entering spring practice. Pinkel has brought up Brad Smith several times when commenting on Mauk, and this is very encouraging. I can’t wait for spring practice to kick off tomorrow and to see which QB separates from the pack.
I think it’s revealing that Pinkel – when talking about Mauk – again referred to Brad Smith, who beat out a three-year starter as a freshman
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) March 11, 2013