There's no denying that Missouri quarterback Missouri quarterback James Franklin is tough. But his recent shoulder injury has become more of a problem than he thought it would.
Franklin told reporters this week that the inflamed bursa sac in his shoulder is hurting his confidence and making him more tentative when he's on the field.
"Typically in the game if, in the past, my shoulder's hurt and I throw in the game, I don't feel it," Franklin said. "But this is a little different because I feel it. And I think that's really been killing my confidence because I've been not trusting myself with being able to make throws or put something on it."
While Franklin feels more pain with this injury, he's still expected to start this weekend at Central Florida. But it has to be a concern he's losing a bit of his edge out on the field because this injury is affecting him so much. Defenses will surely key in on that and bring even more pressure his way just to see how much confidence he has remaining.
The good news for Franklin is that while his confidence might be hurting, his coach is supporting him. Gary Pinkel said Franklin is still his starter and he expects him to only get better from here on out.
You could tell something wasn't right with Franklin or that offense in the blowout loss to South Carolina. Franklin completed just 11 of his 18 passes for 92 yards and failed to reach the end zone. He also carried the ball just 15 times for 6 yards with a long of just 7 yards.
That's not how Franklin plays ball. He was one of the Big 12's best dual-threat quarterbacks last season and was expected to challenge SEC defenses a lot more than he has. He was much more effective against Georgia, throwing for 269 yards and two touchdowns, but it's obvious that since Jarvis Jones hit his arm to cause his shoulder injury, he hasn't been the same.
He missed the Arizona State game and had a very lackluster performance against the Gamecocks. Franklin is a better player than what we've seen and it's pretty clear he wants to be out there helping his team as best he can.
He could step aside and let Corbin Berkstresser take some of the load off of his shoulders, but Franklin wants to play through all this pain to make his team better.
And players have to rally around him. This offense has to work harder going forward and it has to take some of the pressure off of Franklin. The quarterback is always the focal point, but he can't make every play or every block. It starts with an offensive line that has to toughen up and it continues with skill players giving extra effort.
This offense has too much talent not to improve, but it starts with helping Franklin out more.