(Missouri Football App) – With kickoff less than a week away, it is time to evaluate the question marks facing the Tigers in 2013.
Will James Franklin bounce back and have a strong 2013?
The answer to this question is essential to the Tigers’ success. Franklin was plagued by injuries and inconsistent play in 2012 and had to face some of the nation’s top defenses for the very first time. A healthy Franklin is a great asset to have, but can a healthy Franklin be effective against the top defenses in the SEC?
Will DGB play a bigger role?
Dorial Green-Beckham did not play as large of a role in the offense as many would have liked in 2012. Beckham is a big target who needs to play a bigger role in 2013 if the offense is to improve. If the coaching staff utilizes Beckham properly, it will open things up for other receivers such as Marcus Lucas and L'Damian Washington, who have already shown off big play ability.
Will Henry Josey return to big play form?
Josey missed all of 2012 with a blown out knee. Josey racked up 1,168 yards in just 10 games in 2011 before suffering an injury against Texas late in the season. A return to 2011 form will keep some of the pressure off Franklin.
Health of offensive line
The line was plagued by injuries in 2012, so it was hard to get a read on how the starters will fare against big SEC defensive lines. Four starters are returning from 2012. If a healthy front can’t handle pass rush in the nation’s best conference, it will be a long season.
Even though many starters are returning, the loss of DT Sheldon Richardson and linebacker Will Ebner leave holes that cannot be easily replaced. E.J. Gaines is still the anchor of what appears to be an experienced secondary that fields three seniors and one junior, but can it cut down on the big plays? In 2012, the defense ranked #74 against the pass and gave up 44 plays of 20 yards or more.
Gary Pinkel’s job security
If 2013 is a down season is Gary Pinkel in trouble? I think Pinkel’s job is safer than many believe, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming season. However, the pressure on Mike Alden will mount if 2013 is disappointing.