Mizzou QB race remains shrouded

2013-04-11T08:00:00Z 2013-04-12T10:37:57Z Mizzou QB race remains shroudedBy Vahe Gregorian vgregorian@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8199 stltoday.com

COLUMBIA, Mo. • Those expecting Mizzou’s followup evaluation of its first spring scrimmage to yield any clarity in the three-man quarterback derby had their hopes dashed Tuesday when MU coach Gary Pinkel took a cryptic stance on the race.

Asked if anything stood out in the competition among senior-to-be and incumbent James Franklin, sophomore-in-waiting Corbin Berkstresser and redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, Pinkel said, “Yeah – we’ve got to keep getting better.

“All three of them did a lot of good things, and it’s very competitive and it’s also very, very positive, so I’m excited about it.”

As for whether anyone is starting to claim an advantage, Pinkel said, “I don’t discuss evaluation in the spring in what we do. We’ll just see where it goes and keep competing.”

It’s not entirely clear why Pinkel prefers to keep the competition standings so private, but it may simply be to avoid making a circus of every perceived up-and-down development along the way.

“I just think that’s our business right now; it’s nobody else’s business,” he said. “And I don’t think I have to be concerned about what anybody else thinks, either. I’ve handled it like that ever since I’ve ever done this. …

“That’s why we don’t release depth (charts) or anything at (this) particular time. I don’t know how it’s going to end up, and that’s OK. … I’m in no rush to make a decision, and generally it takes care of itself.”

Franklin has started 21 games at MU, but after a strong sophomore season he struggled in 2012 amid a series of injuries, leaving Pinkel to declare he was no longer the established quarterback entering the spring.

In the scrimmage, Mauk completed 11 of 19 for 140 yards with a touchdown and an interception, Franklin hit 13 of 22 for 115 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and Berkstresser went eight of 22 for 52 yards.

Mauk also ran eight times for 81 yards.

The Tigers scrimmage again at 9 a.m. Saturday, then complete spring practice with the Black and Gold game a week later, but the starter may or may not be firmly established even then.



First-year offensive coordinator Josh Henson, promoted from offensive line coach after David Yost resigned following the 2012 season, acknowledged, “My world has changed a lot” as he goes from saying this is what he would do in that position … to now actually doing it.

“I’m really excited about the season, anxious for the season,” he said last week. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to prove what we are. So that part about me, to tell you the truth, it’s kind of got me like (angry).”

Southern Mississippi went after Henson after the season, so much so that he recalled being at a Columbia gas station and seeing a report he had taken the job.

“I was like, ‘Really?’ ” he said, laughing.

He added, “I was never looking to leave Missouri, but sometimes opportunities come along and it’s like, ‘If I’m going to change who I am, if I want to change the perception of who I am as a coach, I’ve got to do this.’ ”

Vahe Gregorian covers Mizzou and the Olympics for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @vgregorian

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