Chase Daniel coming back to Missouri! Outstanding, another year of eligibility? What? Ohhh, KC, Missouri. Well, that's the 2nd best place for him! :D
Missouri’s 2012 football campaign went about as poorly as a debut season in a new conference could go.
The Tigers’ offensive line was decimated by injury from the start of the season to the final whistle of the final game. Dual-threat quarterback James Franklin was in and out of the lineup due to his own injuries and, in one case, his decision not to take a painkilling shot. Franklin’s struggles helped prevent all-everything receiver prospect Dorial Green-Beckham from living up to the hype that surrounded him.
Mizzou’s first two SEC games — Georgia at home, South Carolina on the road — resulted in 21-point losses. There was a home loss to Vanderbilt. There were blowout losses to Alabama and Texas A&M.
About the only positives were victories over Kentucky and Tennessee, but those teams combined for just one league win last year and that was the Vols’ victory over the Wildcats. So topping UT and UK was hardly worth celebrating.
With spring practice opening up in Columbia, Gary Pinkel finds himself in a different position… on a bit of a hot seat. But as badly as 2012 went, the longtime Tiger coach says he wasn’t surprised by anything the SEC had to offer:
“The league was no different at all than what I expected. It was no different. They have a lot of really, really good teams and last year probably had as many as they’ve ever had. But that wasn’t a surprise. We knew that going in. I don’t think that’s in any way affected us. I still think it’s a great move for us. I think it’s a great move for the University of Missouri,”
While the longtime coach maintains his confidence about his program’s place in the SEC, he doesn’t sound quite so sure of Franklin, his returning starter at quarterback:
“Our program, how we handle quarterbacks is this: If you have a returning veteran starter like James a year ago, he was healthy going into the spring, and he came off a year with 22 touchdown passes, 15 rushing, MVP of the bowl game, he comes in and he’s going to be with the ones. … Whoever’s No. 2 can certainly beat him out. It doesn’t mean he keeps his job, but he comes in with that status.
In this situation, without what I’d call the term ‘an established quarterback,’ we pretty much will, with those top three guys, go even reps with ones, twos, threes and keep rolling them right through. That’s how we’ve always handled that…
Well, what happens is, when you don’t play well, you don’t practice or your practice isn’t very good. You’re hurt. There’s a lot of things that goes with, ‘Well, he’s back for a game. He should be 100 percent, be perfect.’ There were certainly a lot of carryover things. There’s things about not transferring his weight in practice, so he goes down to Florida and the ball just sails on him, just gets away from him because he is compensating for it in practice, throwing off his back foot, not transferring his weight.
There’s a lot of things you look at, but I’ve coached the position for a long time, and I’ve never had a quarterback get beat up like he did. Tears his labrum, comes back, reinjures his shoulder in that joint, has strained ligaments in his knee and can’t play a couple weeks, has a concussion that keeps him out. I’ve never seen anything like it. In 34 or 35 years coaching college football, never even came close to seeing anything like it. To say you can evaluate his performance, we’re not going to evaluate his performance as a player. He didn’t play as well, but he was also hurt and missed half the season.”
According to at least one Tiger insider we’ve spoken to, Franklin isn’t exactly Pinkel’s favorite player on the team. The coach wrongly called Franklin out last year for not taking a pre-game painkiller shot and both player and coach took heat over the incident. Now Pinkel is making it clear his QB was injured, but we hear the coach still worries about the toughness of his team leader.
And if Missouri and Pinkel can’t find someone to run their offense more effectively in 2013, a repeat of 2012 remains a possibility.