Pinkel names James Franklin MU starting QB

COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel named senior James Franklin the team's starting quarterback Thursday.

"James has shown that he's very capable of leading this team at a high level, and we fully expect him to do that," Pinkel said in a statement. "He's really developed as a leader of this offense, and of this team, and we feel he's ready to be the difference maker he was before all of the health challenges he dealt with last season."

The 13-year head coach made the announcement following a scrimmage earlier in the day.

Despite Pinkel naming Franklin the starter, the veteran head coach has plans to play his back-up redshirt freshman Maty Mauk for at least a series during every game.

"We have a history with that, and it's something that has worked very well for us," Pinkel said in a statement through the MU Athletic Department.

"When Brad Smith was a senior, we had Chase Daniel as a freshman show that he earned a series or two per game, and that was tremendous for his growth. When Blaine Gabbert was in his last year here, James Franklin was a freshman, and we got him some work on a fairly regular basis, and we feel that was instrumental in what he was able to do the next year as a starter," Pinkel said.

Last year, Franklin suffered an injury and only played in nine games. He threw for just 1,562 yards and 10 touchdowns. MU opens the season August 31 against Murray State at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.

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