As the Missouri Tigers head into fall camp 2013, ShowMeMizzou.com takes a pre-camp look at Missouri’s QB position.
After a spring that began as a three-way competition at QB, the Tigers enter fall camp with their incumbent two-year starter, James Franklin, atop the depth chart. This spring, Franklin threw the football as well and as accurately as I’ve seen him. That bodes well for Missouri, since Franklin is entering his senior season second on Missouri’s career list, trailing only Chase Daniel, in career completion percentage (62.2%) and career passer efficiency rating (134.03). Coming out of the spring, Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel talked about his senior QB.
“I think James Franklin had a real good spring, probably the best one he’s had since he’s been here,” said Coach Pinkel.
Physically, Franklin is fully recovered from the injuries that derailed his junior season, and he appears to be in the best physical condition of his career. From all indications, it looks like Franklin is primed to have his best season.
Maty Mauk enters fall camp as Franklin’s back-up, after having moved ahead of Corbin Berkstresser this spring. During his first year at Missouri, Mauk has impressed with his ability to scramble out of the pocket and extend pass plays or to pick up first downs with his feet. The red-shirt freshman has displayed very good quickness and athleticism. He has a strong arm and he’s pretty accurate when he has an open passing lane with a clear line of sight to the receiver, which he’s very effective at using his scrambling ability to create.
Mauk’s improvisational ability and his ability to make plays outside of the pocket are exciting dimensions. And for sure, he has made significant improvement during his first year at Missouri. But, he still has to improve upon his ability to consistently make plays from within the pocket, where his throwing motion and relatively low release point limit his accuracy, especially when he has to throw over the defense.
As Coach Pinkel says, sophomore QB Corbin Berkstresser has been in the arena. The story of Berkstresser’s red-shirt freshman season is one of inconsistency. Berkstresser was particularly inconsistent throwing the football. He has a strong arm and when he’s in rhythm and he can set his feet, he displays the ability to accurately rifle the football into any area of the field. But, he’s been inconsistent in his decision-making and with his footwork, and as a result, his overall passing numbers have been disappointing.
Heading into fall camp, Berkstresser is legitimately in the middle of the competition for the number two QB spot behind Franklin, but that competition is quickly becoming crowded.
During the spring, although the two early-arriving true freshmen QBs, Eddie Printz and Trent Hosick, weren’t really included in the QB competition, they both performed very well in their limited reps. They are both very capable of challenging the two-deep, and that will make for an interesting fall camp, as the competition for the back-up job becomes more crowded.
Hosick is a gifted athlete who is physically ready to play and could be used in certain packages as a true freshman, which will be something to watch closely in fall camp. His passing skills might have surprised some in the spring, but we have been reporting on his ability to throw the ball for some time now. His running ability and knowledge of option football could help him see the field in 2013. Especially in light of his strength in short yardage, goal line and 10 yards and in red zone skills.
RSF Eric Laurent is the most promising of Missouri’s walk-on QBs.
1 James Franklin 6’2” 230 (S)
7 Maty Mauk 6’1” 200 (RSF)
13 Corbin Berkstresser 6’3” 225 (So) 9 Eddie Printz 6’3” 210 (F)
11 Trent Hosick 6’1” 230 (F)
16 Eric Laurent 6’3” 205 (RSF)
17 Alex Demczak 6’0” 200 (J)
12 Colby Carpenter 6’2” 220 (F)
Since his promotion to Offensive Coordinator, Josh Henson has played his cards close to the vest. There have been suggestions of “tweaks” in Missouri’s spread offense. It won't be long before everyone has the chance to see the Missouri offense under Coach Henson.
Final Analysis: Senior QB James Franklin is poised to have a strong final season as the Tigers QB as long as he stays healthy. However, the likelihood is strong that we will see at least one or more other QB's see the field during 2013, either in an attempt to prepare the eventual successor to Franklin, or in certain designed packages or plays that fit their individual strengths which will help the team. As talented as this group may be, it will only be as good as the offensive line it has to protect it.