It’s not like ASU has never faced a running quarterback before. But even knowing a quarterback’s strength is his legs more than his arm ahead of time still makes for a tough assignment.
“It makes our job a little bit harder,” said Sun Devils senior linebacker Colin Parker, who was the team’s second leading tackler in the season opening win over UC Davis. “It just really makes you be more gap sound when you play teams like this.”
A team like Missouri.
The 19th-ranked Tigers are led offensively by sophomore quarterback James Franklin, who in his first career start rushed for 72 yards against Miami of Ohio. He carried the ball 14 times.
“You’ve got to account for him all the time,” explained head coach Dennis Erickson. “He’s a guy that’s going to keep the football on the option. They’ll probably run more plays with him as a runner than they did before.”
Of course before Missouri had Blaine Gabbert, who threw 40 touchdowns in his last two years before becoming the first round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It slows your pursuit down a little bit as opposed to just running to that back that’s getting the football,” Erickson continued. “Now all of a sudden it slows you down because obviously he’s reading things or they have a call run. They do a lot of call ins with the quarterback.”
ASU blitzed UC Davis quite often, especially early in the game. Can the Sun Devils afford to do that with Franklin being more of a threat running the ball than passing it? Erickson isn’t saying one way or the other.
“We’re going to do what we do. Some people blitz when there is nobody in the backfield because they can’t protect you. You can bring one more. Others don’t because they’re afraid once he gets in that secondary there’s nobody there. You’ve got to change it up. Will we blitz as much? Probably…I don’t know.”
Brock Osweiler’s scouting report on Missouri
“Their D-line stands out to me. They’ve got some big guys up front, athletic guys. They play with a lot of intensity. They’ve got a few linebackers that have played for a couple years now and are very talented. And then their secondary doesn’t seem to make very many mistakes.”
Osweiler after reviewing the UC Davis film
“There were a few throws or plays I wish I could maybe have back where maybe I missed a read. But overall I think I ended the game at 73-percent completion percentage and anytime I’m over 70, I feel like I’ve done my job and got the ball to the playmakers so they can move the chains and score points for us.”