09 April 2011

T-minus Franklin

QB spot in hot contention
by MizzMatt - 4/9/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt
James Franklin
Columbia, MO- Sporting Blaine's old #11, James Franklin took the field as the heir-apparent to the starting QB throne.  Everybody thought it was a lock.  Nobody thought that he could be ousted from his perch.  Nobody could touch him after playing second fiddle to Blaine last year, right?  Wrong.

Tyler Gabber
Sources close to the football program say that Blaine Gabbert's younger brother, Tyler, has surpassed the coaches expectations and has slid in front of James Franklin for the starting spot on the Tigers roster.  "T-Gab" has been putting up solid numbers all spring, with Franklin relying on his legs to generate some offense with his arm.  Gabbert, who sat out last year in redshirt status, is looking like a veteran quarterback, while Franklin, who was used primarily out of the Tiger Formation, struggled in the team's first practice.  On his first play from scrimmage, James tossed up what would turn out to be a -40 yard touchdown as OLB Zavier Gooden snatched the ball out of the air and was off to the races. 

So, what does it mean that Tyler looks to be the new #1?

It might be that offensive coordinator David Yost is afraid to revamp the spread-style offense that Missouri ran so well last season.  It might be because Franklin thought he was a shoe-in, and started getting lackadaisical in his training.  Or, just maybe, it might be because Tyler has that much talent.  Remember back to 2005, when Chase Daniel bumped Chase Patton out of his number-2 spot behind Brad Smith.  The rest, as they say, is history.

In his first scrimmage, T-Gab went an impressive 20/27 on passing with 206 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to L'Damian Washington and no interceptions.  Tyler has been bitten by the turnover bug in spring, as he has given up a freebie to defensive lineman Brad Madison.

Despite losing Blaine, Coach Yost has seen a similarity in Tyler to the potential #1 pick in the NFL draft, just in a smaller package.  Tyler, who checks in at just 6' tall, five inches shorter than his older brother, offers a similar dynamic to six-foot-one Chase Daniel- short, yet mobile.  "He's very similar to Blaine in release and arm strength," said Yost, "and he's probably a quicker side-to-side athlete as Blaine is.  Blaine is faster straight ahead."  Yost went on to say, "You normally emulate somebody when you throw the ball.  I'm not sure who Blaine did, but I know who Tyler did, and it's paid off well for him."

Ashton Glaser
We cannot forget that there are technically three guys vying for the QB job this year, but it appears the race is down to just James and Tyler.  Ashton Glaser, the third one in the mix, has had a solid spring as well, but lacks the "WOW!" factor that Franklin and Gabbert bring to the table.  Incoming freshman quarterback Corbin Berkstresser (Lees Summit) will likely sit out his first year in redshirt status.

The final spring scrimmage will provide some insight as to who the better candidate is, but as everybody in and out of the media have learned over the past three weeks, do not believe anything until you see it with your own eyes.  After all, this is the "Show-Me" state.

The final spring scrimmage, the Black & Gold game is set for Saturday, April 16th at 1p.

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