Even as one SEC school hopes to end its quarterback competition by early next week, another has officially wrapped its up.
Following the second scrimmage of summer camp Thursday, head coach Gary Pinkel announced that, as expected, James Franklin has been named as Missouri’s starting quarterback. The starter the past two seasons, Franklin had been in a “competition” with Maty Mauck throughout spring practice and into summer camp, although the former took the vast majority of reps with the first-team offense this month.
Pinkel had stated exiting spring and again in mid-July that Franklin was atop the depth chart, although he added that the competition would resume in August. At least for now, though, that battle has wound down to its expected conclusion.
“James has shown that he’s very capable of leading this team at a high level, and we fully expect him to do that,” said Pinkel in quotes distributed by the team. “He’s really developed as a leader of this offense, and of this team, and we feel he’s ready to be the difference maker he was before all of the health challenges he dealt with last season.”
Pinkel did, however, state that he and the coaching staff are considering giving Mauck some planned series each game to give the redshirt freshman some on-field experience.
“We have a history with that, and it’s something that has worked very well for us,” said Pinkel. “When Brad Smith was a senior, we had Chase Daniel as a freshman show that he earned a series or two per game, and that was tremendous for his growth. When Blaine Gabbert was in his last year here, James Franklin was a freshman, and we got him some work on a fairly regular basis, and we feel that was instrumental in what he was able to do the next year as a starter.”
Franklin missed four starts last season due to knee and shoulder issues, mainly the latter. He took some heat in some corners last year for essentially taking himself out of an early-season game against Arizona State because of a lingering shoulder injury for which he refused to take painkillers. He started every game in 2011.