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Offseason spotlight: Missouri

2/7/2012

As we welcome Missouri to the league, we're putting the spotlight on new Tigers on the block:

Spotlight: Quarterback James Franklin, 6-2, 225, rising junior

2011 summary: The dual-threat quarterback was one of the more exciting Big 12 quarterbacks to watch last season. He was fifth in the league in passing with 2,865 yards and had 21 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He was also seventh in the Big 12 in rushing with 981 yards and added 15 scores.

The skinny: Missouri's offense ran through Franklin last season. While the Tigers had a successful running game when running Henry Josey was healthy, Franklin really held the offense together. But that was against Big 12 defenses. Scoring in 30s won't be so manageable as the Tigers take their act to the SEC. Missouri might have to tweak some aspects of the offense as it prepares for the speed of the SEC and Franklin will have to get as comfortable as he can with whatever changes are made because 2012 is going to be a grind for this offense. Franklin will have to get used to facing more speed off the edges, so getting that read option perfected to face these SEC ends is a must. It won't help that Missouri loses three seniors to that offensive line. The option is essential for the spread, but it can only work in the SEC if you can combat the outside speed. Franklin has enough weapons returning that he could have a big year in his first season in the SEC, but adapting to some offensive changes and preparing himself for more defensive speed will be his main objectives this offseason.