Posted: Wednesday, 25 September 2013 1:20PM

James Franklin has Mizzou offense rolling



Springfield, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com)  -- Mizzou’s offense continued to roll in a 45-28 win over Indiana on Saturday, and much of that is thanks to the play of a healthy senior quarterback in James Franklin.

Franklin’s strong start has him sitting at 11th in the NCAA in total offense through three games at 351.7 yards per game, which included a career-best 404 yards of total offense last Saturday.

The fast start may come as a surprise to some after he suffered through an injury-plagued junior season, but this kind of performance is something head coach Gary Pinkel knew Franklin had in him.

"I thought James was going to be a great quarterback. Coming off shoulder surgery, it all changed a little bit, but it does not surprise me at all. I know it (his start) surprises a lot of people out there,” Pinkel said. “He came off a great sophomore year. We are really consistent with the sophomores we have. But I am going to say it again so it is clear. I had more injuries with James in one year than I did in quarterback injuries combined in my 21 years of coaching. It certainly was not a lack of effort on his part."

Getting healthy has been key for Franklin, but the experience that comes with being a senior has helped immensely this season as well.

"It seems like a lot has slowed down. It is like I needed contacts until now. It just seems like your mind works a lot faster, and more thoughts are going through my head,” Franklin said. “For example, different possibilities on a certain throw. I think things like should I back shoulder this, make it a jump ball, etc. Those are the things that go through my head."

Franklin has also been a threat in Tigers’ 17th ranked rushing attack. Russell Hansbrough and Henry Josey lead the way with 239 and 186 rushing yards, respectively, but Franklin is right there with 182 yards on the ground to go with his 873 through the air.

“I like to see him run. He is a playmaker, and a fun kid to watch,” senior wide receiver Marcus Lucas said. “When he is running and scrambling out, it is fun to try to get into scramble drill mode and things like that."

Whether he is scrambling or passing from the pocket, Franklin’s decision-making this season is improved as well.

"James has taken a lot of time this offseason doing a lot of reads, and not centering or predetermining who he is going to throw to,” Lucas said. “He has done a good job of letting it come to him during the game, and I think that is helping him out. He is really relaxed back there and not overdoing anything."

Mizzou returns home with its eight-ranked scoring offense to take on Arkansas State (2-2) this Saturday.

CLICK HERE FOR GAME NOTES AHEAD OF MIZZOU'S GAME WITH ARKANSAS STATE

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Ava 9, Mt. Grove 8


Ava won the battle of SCA unbeatens with a walk-off sac fly.

Pictures: Southwest 10, Purdy 8


Southwest claims the Ozark 7 championship.

Pictures: Central vs. Glendale tennis


The Falcons and Bulldogs met at Cooper on Wednesday.
Videos
O-Zone Opinion
10 improved and surprise spring sports teams
In honor of giving spring its fair due, we take time out like we did in basketball season to highlight the spring's most improved/surprise/overachieving/under-the-radar/whatever-you-wanna-call-it teams. As a general rule, this list won't include...
Read More
Mohawk Chronicles: Breaking down the new boys basketball districts
It's that time again… Every two years MSHSAA reshuffles classes and districts, unintentionally and yet effectively changing the landscape of the sport and this spring was no different. Here are the changes you will want to note for the boys...
Read More
Making sense of the new girls basketball districts
Who do you have going all the way in your bracket? Your 2014-15 high school district basketball bracket, that is. Last weekend, MSHSAA released classification and district assignments for the next two school years. We saw notable changes in most...
Read More
Most Viewed