PowerMizzou.com will get Tiger fans ready for fall camp like no one else. Camp opens on Thursday, August 4th. Between now and then, we will provide an in-depth preview at every position on the roster. Today, we start with the quarterback.
James Franklin entered spring as the starter, held on to the job after the spring game and enters fall camp as a no-doubt starter following the transfer of Tyler Gabbert. National skepticism about Mizzou centers primarily around Franklin, who completed 11-of-14 passes for 106 yards and ran 23 times for 116 more in spot duty as a true freshman. Franklin seems able to provide a wrinkle Missouri's quarterback run game has been missing the last couple of years, but he is unproven to this point in time. Just how well he succeeds Blaine Gabbert is without a doubt the number one question as the Tigers enter fall camp.
While Ashton Glaser enters fall camp in now-or-never mode to secure the No. 2 job, he won't win it without a fight. Jimmy Costello has returned to the roster for a fifth and final year of eligibility. While Costello has never started, he has seen game action, which is something no quarterback besides Franklin can say. Freshman Corbin Berkstresser will be on campus as well, but a redshirt seems almost certain for the promising prospect from Lee's Summit.
What to Like
Franklin was highly touted and may be the most true "dual threat" the Tigers have had at the position in quite some time. He had moments of brilliance in his freshman season and finished spring ball strong. Costello's experience ought to help guide the freshman through the early part of his first season as a starter, but make no mistake, this is Franklin's team without a doubt.
What to Wonder About
Honestly, Franklin has never been "the guy." He has to now. Missouri's defense is strong, but the Tigers have won very few games in which their quarterback didn't play well over the last decade. Missouri doesn't need Franklin to be a superstar, but it does need him to be solid and to avoid mistakes. If Franklin goes down, there has to be doubt whether Costello or Glaser is capable of leading the team as the top guy. Had Berkstresser gotten to campus for spring ball, he'd have a shot at some playing time, but that now seems unlikely.
Both Gabbert and Chase Daniel were 8-and-5 in their first seasons as starters. But Franklin has a far superior defense to either of those two as well as a much more experienced supporting cast. Eight wins is the absolute baseline for a solid season. The stats don't much matter. Quarterbacks are judged on wins and losses.
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