Five questions heading into Mizzou's fall football camp
There is no turning back now.
The Southeastern Conference football media days have come and gone, and that means college football is now.
The Tigers start camp August 1 in Columbia. Only thirty-nine days remain until game No. 1.
Five questions await the start of camp, and that first kickoff.
1. Will Franklin go out with a bang?
it or not, James Franklin is Mizzou's starting quarterback. The
position is his to lose in camp. Holding off Corbin Berkstresser and
Maty Mauk won't be his only challenge. Franklin, a senior, will have to
rewrite his legacy this season if he wants to be remembered in a
favorable light for his on-field performance. Last season injuries
shuffled him in and out of games and caused questions, fair or not,
about his willingness to play through pain. Will 2013 be more of the
same? Or can it be a better version of Franklin's sophomore season, when
he totaled 3,846 yards of offense and accounted for 36 touchdowns?
2. Is this Josey story as good as advertised?
coach Gary Pinkel called it a "storybook story." And that odd
explanation actually kind of fits the return of Henry Josey. The running
back is atop the depth chart this season after a devastating left knee
injury in 2011 cut a 1,168-yard season short. The redshirt junior missed
the rest of that year and all of 2012. Now, knee reconstructed, he and
his team swear he's ready to go -- so much so that he's not even wearing
a brace. Tiger fans are hoping this story has a happy ending, not only
for Josey, but for their chance at a successful season.
3. Will this be the year of Green-Beckham?
is causing confusion when it comes to star receiver Dorial
Green-Beckham, the former No. 1 recruit who now enters his sophomore
season. Green-Beckham caught on late last year, grabbing four of his
five touchdowns in the Tigers' final three games. It's that playmaking
ability that made Pinkel rave about Green-Beckham at SEC media days. He
told reporters his team has to get the ball to Green-Beckham more.
Sounds great. But wait. Take a look at the team's depth chart and
Green-Beckham isn't listed as a starter. What gives? It's obvious that
Green-Beckham has some things he needs to prove. If he can do that in
fall camp, he should get a chance to show whether he was really worthy
of so much hype.
4. Who, if anyone, fills Richardson's shoes?
Sheldon Richardson, the loquacious defensive tackle now with the New
York Jets, is impossible thanks to the big man's big play and big mouth.
The Tigers would be happy to find a go-to defensive lineman who could
offer the former without the latter. Redshirt junior Kony Ealy is tabbed
to start at defensive end. It's not the same position Richardson
played, but the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Ealy might be a candidate to fill
the playmaking void. Ealy started 10 games last season. He's a physical
specimen who, at his best, is an explosive force. But will he be able to
cause havoc all the time instead of occasionally?
5. Is the secondary a liability?
cornerback E.J. Gaines is a stud, without a doubt. He might the one of
the best defensive backs in the SEC. But there is little proven talent
around him. Free safety Braylon Webb is the only other player in the
Mizzou secondary who was a consistent starter last season. Cornerback
Randy Ponder started just five games. Starting safety Matt White, a
redshirt senior, appeared in all 12 games as a junior, but wasn't a
starter. Gaines can't cover every opponent. If the others struggle, they
will be targeted and the Tigers will suffer.
PHIL PRESSEY PROVES IT
A lot of people should be eating some crow when it comes to Phil Pressey.
I'm included in that group.
wasn't convinced the undersized, undrafted point guard would carve out a
spot in the NBA. I wasn't alone. But last week Pressey signed a
multi-year contract with the Boston Celtics, according to the Boston Globe.
for Phil. Sure, his father -- an NBA assistant with ties to the Celtics
-- might have pulled some strings to get him a look. But that doesn't
mean Pressey didn't earn his contract in summer league. Favors don't
make NBA rosters.
Leading up to the draft, one of the scouts I
talked to about Pressey said "only one team has to like you" in order to
end up in the league.
Turns out that team is Boston.
"I like Phil," Celtics coach Brad Stevens told The Globe.
"There are some things that Phil can certainly get better at. He'll
work hard to do it. Right when I got the job, I sent him a text message
that night and he called me about a minute after I sent the text and I
think he really wants to be good. He's very dynamic with the ball, and I
think if he continues to do that and make shots, he's going to be in
KUDOS TO MACLIN
There's been a lot of talk lately about the trouble NFL players seem to find themselves in. But as Mike Sando of ESPN wrote recently,
we rarely hear about the positive decisions players make off the field.
Former Mizzou and current Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin
held his third annual youth football camp in Kirkwood last weekend. The
event included a backpack giveaway for families needing a little help
heading into the school year. Good for Maclin for coming home to give
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or email him at email@example.com.