Franklin looking to bounce back from 4-INT loss

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — James Franklin could hardly muster a smile following Missouri's loss at Florida, his normally jovial personality subdued by the feeling he had cost his team a chance to knock off the seventh-ranked Gators.

Days later, the junior quarterback still struggled to put the game, and his four interceptions, behind him. Franklin completed 24 of 51 passes, citing bad footwork and rushed passes for overthrowing several receivers.

Franklin says he needs to build up confidence after missing most of the Tigers' previous three games recovering from a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He dealt with similar issues after sitting out a game earlier this season with an inflamed bursa sac in his throwing shoulder.

"He takes a lot on himself," Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said. "That's just the way he is, the way his personality is. He's like a football coach. There's enough people beating you up out there without beating yourself up."

What's perhaps most frustrating for Franklin is that the offense had one of its best overall performances this season, running 86 plays and gaining 23 first downs against the nation's fifth-stingiest defense. Missouri (4-5, 1-5) was the first Southeastern Conference opponent to reach the end zone at Florida in 2012 and held the ball for nearly 34 minutes.

But despite their final six drives ending in Gators territory, the Tigers couldn't score and lost 14-7. Franklin led the team 59 yards down the field with less than two minutes remaining to set up a game-tying score, but overthrew receivers near the goal line on consecutive plays to end the threat.

"In the game, I feel like I have less time than I actually do, and so that's why I think I end up rushing at the end," Franklin said.

Several players consoled him afterward, telling him to keep his head up and that football's a team game — no one player can be fully responsible.

"Anytime you prepare for something so hard, and you go out there and you spend all the time that we do, in the offseason, in conditioning, in lifting, in practicing, in the hours that we put in here, you go out there and you lose a game and you feel like maybe you let the team down," offensive lineman Elvis Fisher said. "If it doesn't hurt, there might be something wrong with you."

Coaches fully believe in Franklin after watching him throw for 2,865 yards and run for another 981 during the 2011 season. Expectations rose this season as Missouri entered the SEC, but Franklin didn't start throwing until August after having surgery in the spring to repair a torn labrum.

"I don't care if people are tired of hearing it, but the guy's been through an awful lot," Pinkel said.

Franklin looks to recover against Tennessee, which gives up the most yards per game (483) and has recorded the fewest sacks (12) in the SEC. The defense has been vulnerable against mobile quarterbacks, and coordinator Sal Sunseri thinks Franklin brings the same threat.

"If you go with this kid's history and what he's done, he's a very, very good football player," he said. "He's got great legs. He can deliver the ball. They've got a great system. He just had a bad day."

Missouri needs to win two of its final three games to become bowl-eligible for the eighth consecutive season. But at least one of those must come on the road, where the Tigers have yet to win a conference game this season.

Franklin will likely start the rest of the way provided he remains healthy, as backup redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser has struggled to gain any traction in relief appearances and third-stringer Maty Mauk is redshirting.

"The best way to kind of get your confidence back is to get out there and play football and throw the ball and throw completions," offensive coordinator Dave Yost said.

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Comments » 22

Bigger_Al writes:

Help is on the way, Mr. Franklin.

We are in a downward spiral. We have busts and communication issues, partly because our players don't understand the system. Then we replace guys with less experienced players, and they understand the system even less. And so on... and so on...

cgbtn writes:

I have confidence he will have a career best performance. Every QB we play has a career best. All day to throw and no coverage. He'll love it.

pcorange writes:

No doubt he will have a breakout game against us. Several QBs have had career games against us this season. Maybe CDD will be able to help this week and get our D ready to play, but I'm not holding my breath.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to cgbtn:

I have confidence he will have a career best performance. Every QB we play has a career best. All day to throw and no coverage. He'll love it.

Not all of them. Ask Mike Glennon.

Anyway, I know our pass defense ranks 14th in the conferenc, but that's based on yards/game. If you take into consideration the fact that our defense has had more pass attempts against them than any other team in the conference, that kinda makes sense. Vandy's pass defense ranks #1 in the SEC in yards/game, but they had to defend almost 100 fewer attempts too.

I think a better measure is Opponents' QB rating or completion percentage. In QB rating deffense, we rank 10th (Mizzou is 9th), and in completion percentage we rank 8th.

volaholic45 writes:

Had a comment - but it looks like three before me already made the obvious observation. It kinda writes itself.

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

He's confidence will be sky high after he plays against this defense.

oldster writes:

Agree with everyone before me. Mizzou only lost to the Gators because of the 4 ints. UT's pass defense never gets close enough to intercept. Therefore, Mizzou will score at least 50. Well, unless Sunseri's strategy works. You know, that strategy to leave so many receivers open that the QB hesitates so long to consider to which he will throw that the turtles that UT calls a pass rush can get to him. It is a brilliant plan.

Classof72 writes:

Welcome to the Land of NOD (NODefense).

Sir_Spanky writes:

Not only will this young man have his confidence back, he'll probably find himself in the running for the Heisman.

pcorange writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Not all of them. Ask Mike Glennon.

Anyway, I know our pass defense ranks 14th in the conferenc, but that's based on yards/game. If you take into consideration the fact that our defense has had more pass attempts against them than any other team in the conference, that kinda makes sense. Vandy's pass defense ranks #1 in the SEC in yards/game, but they had to defend almost 100 fewer attempts too.

I think a better measure is Opponents' QB rating or completion percentage. In QB rating deffense, we rank 10th (Mizzou is 9th), and in completion percentage we rank 8th.

Reckon maybe our opponents are making so many attempts because they don't respect our ability to defend the pass?

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to pcorange:

Reckon maybe our opponents are making so many attempts because they don't respect our ability to defend the pass?

Naa, it's just a statistical coincidence, ya know, like our other irrelevant stats such as wins in the SEC and yards given up per game, wins vs ranked teams or any teams with winning records, etc.

Mo is 4-5 (1-5 in SEC) but we'll probably "show them" why we are 4-5 (0-5 in SEC) and we'll be 0-6 about 4:30 Saturday.

And then the ifs, buts, shouldas, couldas and wouldas will keep rollin in.

underthehill writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Makes no sense to say..I know..but if Bray plays the whole game like he has the last 2..don't quit or panic when pressured ..UT has a very good chance to beat Mizzu..

tulelakevol writes:

Heart tells me our defense will step up and play a good game. Facts and recent history strongly suggest otherwise. Go Vols!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

The stage is set for a complete confidence rebuilder.

Maybe his arm will get tired and I know their WR's will get winded.

Somewhere, somehow this has got to stop.

And on we go...

GBO

FearTheVols1252 writes:

Franklin will exit Saturday's game a Heisman Trophy candidate. Our defense makes opposing QB's look THAT good!

Rookie2 writes:

We need him to throw just like he did againat Florida. All 4 of his INT's missed the target by about 10 yards, which plays well to our defense...

VOLS34 writes:

We will make Franklin look like an All-American this weekend.

JDX47 writes:

Clearly, you guys aren't fully grasping the really awesome news that Dooley is focusing on the defense now, so the defense is good to go now!!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Iam more afraid of Franklin or anybody else running up the middle of our defense..One thing I've noticed is teams lining up 4 WR's which occupies no less than 4 defenders and takes them deep in coverage or to the sideline..Now the middle of the field is wide open..Against Akron it looked like AJ was the only player in the middle with zero help behind him.. I kept looking at the pre snap formation and wondered what happen to the other LBs and why is there never any safety help within 25+ yards from the line of scrimmage..Iam no defensive guru but that formation just seemed insane to me..Does anybody know why we did that

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Iam more afraid of Franklin or anybody else running up the middle of our defense..One thing I've noticed is teams lining up 4 WR's which occupies no less than 4 defenders and takes them deep in coverage or to the sideline..Now the middle of the field is wide open..Against Akron it looked like AJ was the only player in the middle with zero help behind him.. I kept looking at the pre snap formation and wondered what happen to the other LBs and why is there never any safety help within 25+ yards from the line of scrimmage..Iam no defensive guru but that formation just seemed insane to me..Does anybody know why we did that

Since our DB's are so bad, we might as well blitz all our DB's every play... results certainly couldn't be much worse.

VolFanInMO writes:

in response to underthehill:

Makes no sense to say..I know..but if Bray plays the whole game like he has the last 2..don't quit or panic when pressured ..UT has a very good chance to beat Mizzu..

Thanks for your post. At least one in here should say we're gonna win. Go Vols.

shipperman#280095 writes:

Young man, in about 2 days, you are going to have the game of your life

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