Franklin stays true in midst of QB competition

Ben Frederickson is an award-winning writer for FOX Sports Midwest. His work has appeared in the Columbia Missourian, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the New York Times, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Casper Star-Tribune.


COLUMBIA, Mo. —

James Franklin is no different.

There

was a thought the always-upbeat and super-polite Missouri quarterback

some labeled as soft last year would find and show an edge this this

offseason as he engaged in a public fight to keep his starting

job.

Surely, a player who was healthy again after a

recurring right shoulder injury limited his junior season would bristle

at the thought of a teammate, most likely redshirt freshman Maty Mauk,

taking his place, right?

Well, not exactly. Like it

or not, Mr. Nice Guy is here to stay. Franklin proved it Saturday when

he was surrounded by reporters following Mizzou’s annual Black and Gold

game.

James,

should you have to win this job

back?

“Yes, sir. Definitely,” he said.

“You can say there were injuries and stuff last year, but even when I

did play, I didn’t always perform very well. I definitely had to earn it

and compete for my spot.”

James, is it hard being around

Mauk?

“No, sir. It’s not something I

really think about much,” he said.”I just kind of go out there and play.

I coach him up when there are things he may not have seen that I saw,

just give him pointers and things like that. I don’t think it’s really

tough.”

James, is it tiring to answer all these

questions about the competition?

“No,

sir. It’s not tiring at all, ” he said. “It’s not too bad. It’s

definitely fun. It’s great for all of us getting better to know that

anyone can win the spot, and that I can lose my job. I think it’s good

for the team.”

Answers like these go against the

grain of the movie-image, take-no-prisoner quarterback. While Franklin

is not one to shy away from contact or collision on the field, he tends

to avoid it in pretty much every other way. And despite this unique

demeanor, he still appears to be Missouri’s best option headed into the

2013 season.

On Saturday, he completed 9-of-15 passes

for 80 yards  — a solid performance that was more sound than

his competitors’.

Mauk completed six-of-17 passes for

72 yards, and threw two interceptions. Redshirt sophomore Corbin

Berkstresser completed nine-of-18 passes for 93 yards, and threw two

picks as well.

Franklin, Mauk and Mizzou offensive

coordinator Josh Henson all said they expect the competition for the

starting spot to last until August.

“They just have

to play better than the other guys consistently, over and over again,”

Henson said. “We’ve graded all the scrimmages and we have an opinion on

each practice … So to stand here and say this guy is better than that

guy, I’m not ready to do that yet.”

If Franklin is in

fact the best, don’t expect to hear it from him.

James, do

you anticipate being No. 1 on the depth chart this

season?

“I hope so,” he said. “Yes,

sir.”

You can follow Ben

Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred) and contact him at frederickson.ben@gmail.com