COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — James Franklin opens fall camp as Missouri's starting quarterback and one of the captains, too.
Coach Gary Pinkel approves of the choices teammates made for all four captains. He emphasized after the first fall practice that the honor is no guarantee Franklin will be making the calls when the season begins.
"It has absolutely nothing to do with him or anybody else being captain and keeping their jobs," Pinkel said Thursday night. "I think he's learned a lot and I think he's tougher mentally."
During the disclaimer, Pinkel also said that all his years of coaching he could think of only a handful of players who were coaches and couldn't hold the starting spot.
The return of running back Henry Josey, coming off a serious left knee injury that sidelined him all last season, will be a plus no matter who's taking the snaps. Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk and Corbin Berkstresser, who made four starts when Franklin was injured last season, are also in the mix.
Franklin's setbacks were among the disappointments in a 5-7 season that ended a string of eight bowl appearances. Soft-spoken by nature, Franklin decided in the offseason he'd try to be a vocal leader on a team trying to prove it belongs in the SEC after stumbling last year.
"It feels really good knowing the guys picked me to lead them in good times and bad times," Franklin said. "Hopefully, we'll have a lot more good times."
Wide receiver L'Damian Washington, also named a captain on offense, said Franklin was "transformed" during the summer.
"He's got a great approach to the game, he's not scared to get in a guy's face anymore," Washington said. "Now he'll grill a guy and get in a guy's face, so it's pretty good to have that."