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Missouri quarterback James Franklin has missed four games since separating his shoulder against Georgia. (Associated Press)Austyn Carta-Samuels came back last week. This week, James Franklin will be back, too. Tyler Murphy doesn't know yet. And who knows what's going on at Mississippi State.
The 2013 season has seen over half the SEC's teams go to backup quarterbacks at some point in the season due to an injury to the starter. Many of those teams are getting healthy at the position, but some still face uncertainty in Week 11.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel proclaimed Franklin, who's been out four weeks with a separated shoulder, 100 percent and ready to go for Saturday's game at Ole Miss.
"James when he went down a few weeks ago was statistically one of the best quarterbacks in the country," Pinkel said of Franklin, who had completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,577 yards, 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions before the injury. "It's really neat to see him back."
Carta-Samuels, who suffered an apparent ankle injury four weeks ago against Georgia, returned last week, throwing for 184 yards in a 22-6 win over Kentucky, but was sacked three times and reportedly did not move as well as he normally does. This week, he told he feels more like his old self.
"I'm healthy. I'm ready to go," he said. "I feel just as good as I did at the start of the season, so I'm excited."
At Florida, coach Will Muschamp said Murphy is questionable for Saturday's game against Georgia Southern with a shoulder injury. Redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg started in Murphy's place in Saturday's loss to South Carolina, throwing for 107 yards and an interception.
"If we had to play today Skyler would start," Muschamp said. "We'll see what Tyler can do Thursday and as we move closer to the weekend, we'll see where it sits. It's all about his discomfort level right now and it's gotten better every day. You look from Sunday to today and it's much, much, much improved. We'll just continue to work through that."
Mississippi State's Damian Williams (14) throws under pressure from Alabama's Adrian Hubbard during the Bulldogs' 20-7 loss on Saturday. (Vasha Huntfirstname.lastname@example.org)The situation is even more muddled at Mississippi State, where any one of three quarterbacks could be called on to start at Arkansas. Dak Prescott missed last week's loss to Alabama with an elbow injury, Tyler Russell suffered a shoulder injury in the second half of Saturday's 20-7 loss and freshman Damian Williams finished the game.
MSU coach Dan Mullen said Wednesday that while "they're all doing much, much better," a decision on a starter won't likely be made until warm-ups on Saturday. "We've got to see who's the healthiest and who's had the best week of practice," he said. "I'll know game-time, after warm-ups on game day."
Mullen said he thinks such uncertainty creates more problems for opposing defenses than his own team.
"We don't change our offense depending on who's in the game," he said. "I think they just kind of execute the offense a little differently and bring a little different flavor to it. For us, we get our plan in and we expect our guys to be able to execute it and I know each one of them probably has a little different strength that we have to highlight and some weaknesses we'll defend against within their abilities."
If the Bulldogs have to turn to Williams, who could not get the Bulldogs into the end zone in two trips inside the Alabama 25 in the fourth quarter Saturday, Mullen said he's comfortable that the freshman can run the full playbook.
"He's comfortable in the whole entire offense, in what he's going to do," Mullen said of Williams. "What we'll do is try to protect him a little bit in how much he has to check or how many different adjustments he has to make and just try to take some of that pressure off him."
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