Roundtable: Should Pinkel bench Franklin this week if he struggles?

Roundtable: Should Pinkel bench Franklin this week if he struggles?

Roundtable: Should Pinkel bench Franklin this week if he struggles?


by Missouri Football App staff

Posted on September 27, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 11:58 PM

After Mizzou’s blowout loss against South Carolina last week, a faction of fans are calling for coach Gary Pinkel to bench James Franklin. If Franklin struggles early against Central Florida, should Pinkel put in redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresster?

Doug Vaughn / News 4 Sports

No. Pinkel needs to stick with Franklin. It’s easy to become impatient with a quarterback who’s nursing an injury and not performing well, but Franklin still gives the Tigers their best chance to win. Berkstresser was at the controls when Mizzou beat Arizona State, but didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard. His time will come. For now, Franklin is still the guy, and Gary Pinkel needs to continue to show confidence in his starting quarterback. Too soon to make a switch now.

Brian Feldman / News 4 Sports

Absolutely not.  There is nothing worse than going back and forth between quarterbacks on your team.  It’s one thing to change your right guard or your left cornerback.  But your QB is the heart and sole of your team and it completely destroys the flow and rhythm if you change them in the middle of the game.  There’s an old saying “if you’ve got two quarterbacks then you have none”.  And I believe that to be true.  James Franklin is a terrific athlete who hasn’t played well lately.  When that happens - and a team loses - there’s no one more popular than the backup quarterback.  Stick with Franklin. 

Kyle Tons / Missouri Football App

We all know that the entire Mizzou offense has been a struggle so far in 2012.  James Franklin does deserve some of the offense failures, however not all of them.  I will not support the benching of James Franklin this Saturday because of only one thing: play call.  I think the offensive scheming and play has been predictable and poorly lacking fluidity.  Mizzou has a very conservative play book and I think that reflects on Franklin’s play so far in 2012.  We are playing tougher defenses this year and the conservative-offense style we’ve had this season is not helping.  If Franklin is struggling in terms of easy passes and overall good play, then yes, I will support putting in freshman Corbin Berkstresser.

Brendan Marks / Missouri Football App

I’m not going to sit here and say James Franklin has been great – or even good – this year, but benching the junior quarterback would be a mistake. When offenses struggle in football, everyone wants to blame the quarterback. But the offensive line’s protection of Franklin has been a huge issue so far this year. We all want to see the big plays from the Tigers offense we’re gotten accustomed over the past hand-full of years, but they can’t happen if there’s no time to throw.

Yes, Corbin Berkstresser has looked adequate to good in his one start against Arizona State and handful of (garbage time) plays vs. South Carolina. But Franklin is the guy. Fans just need to be patient.

Justine Ward / Missouri Football App

I think that everyone is quick to lay blame on the quarterback for an uncoordinated and struggling offense. Up until Saturday we were unaware as to whether James Franklin would start for the Tigers due his shoulder issues. He missed the Arizona State game the week before after sustaining a big hit at the Georgia game to the same shoulder he had surgery on in March.  

Franklin also refused a Cortisone shot before Saturday’s game, which Coach Pinkel defended, in an effort to not unknowingly further damage the same shoulder. He admitted to feeling pain on Saturday, which affected his confidence on the field.

Let’s also not forget that while we can point out Franklin’s impressive stats last year, Mizzou’s offense was also not up against SEC defense. I say start Franklin against Central Florida as he has proved himself before and if we are seeing some of the same issues then put in Berkstresster.  Franklin openly admitted that his mental game was off and hopefully he will walk into the Central Florida game ready to win.

Steve Savard / News 4 Sports Director

Gary Pinkel shouldn’t hesitate at all to pull James Franklin and insert Corbin Berksteresser if he thinks it will spark his offense against Central Florida. You don’t worry about bruising egos at that level. As Herm Edwards said, “you play to win the game.”

That said, it’s too early to pull the plug on Franklin as the starter. He hasn’t played to his 2011 level yet but he’s earned the benefit of the doubt, at least for now.

JJ Bailey / Missouri Football App

Mizzou has yet to lose a game they weren’t expected to. That fact alone protects Franklin to some extent. Coaches don’t dump QBs until a team starts coming off the rails, and the Tigers just haven’t done that.

Franklin is struggling, and if it gets really bad, he may sit the second half as Pinkel can’t afford to miss the .500 mark in his first SEC season. But he’s not getting bumped full time. Two-quarterback systems are just sad, and you can’t run a spread with them effectively. Unless Franklin has a complete collapse, he’s going to be the starter going forward.