When the Missouri Tigers went into the 2012 college football season by beginning play in the SEC, they had high aspirations. James Franklin was returning at quarterback, and the offense was expected to be explosive. But after a 2-2 start that includes two early conference losses to the Georgia Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks, the winds of change are beginning to swirl in Columbia.
Franklin does not have horrible numbers in his time this season. But after suffering an injury that led to his teammates questioning his toughness, the Tigers did very well with Corbin Berkstresser under center. The Tigers came out in defense of Berkstresser and said how he was a great leader, and those were all underhanded jabs against Franklin.
In Saturday’s blowout loss to the Gamecocks, Franklin struggled so much that head coach Gary Pinkel replaced him with Berkstresser late in the game. That is leading many to wonder whether or not there is a quarterback controversy brewing in Missouri after just four games.
“In history of program, normally [second] year quarterbacks have remarkable years,” said Pinkel. “I’m not giving up on him [Franklin].”
While he may not be ready to give up on Franklin, that does not mean that Berkstresser should not stay ready on the sidelines to enter the game at a moments’ notice.
In Franklin’s defense, it should be noted that the Tigers’ two losses to the Bulldogs and Gamecocks cannot exactly come as much surprise. They are both ranked in the top 10 in the AP Top 25 and both fully intend to compete for an SEC Championship this season. Losing to them was no surprise.
But with that being said, things do need to improve for Franklin and the Tigers, or we may very well be in store for a more permanent change to Berkstresser. The Tigers take on the Central Florida Golden Knights on the road on Saturday, and it will not be an easy game for Missouri’s offense.
Then again, it will pale in comparison to the Tigers’ next game on the road against the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide.