COLUMBIA, Mo. - Long after the last snap, Missouri's "Tank" shares a light moment in the end zone. He stands before a group of reporters at Memorial Stadium, grading his play from the Tigers' third preseason scrimmage. He looks ahead with a grin, his program's first Southeastern Conference campaign another day closer.
James Franklin appears calm. This is a common sight with the junior quarterback after practices. He's asked about his 28-yard touchdown run earlier in the afternoon, one in which he raced downfield untouched. He begins to laugh.
"Thankfully, everyone was tired," Franklin says, cracking up. "So that made it a little bit better."
Franklin's composure will be studied all fall. In moments like this, he seems to have a healthy balance of confidence and drive - a competitive streak that fits his nickname, "The Tank," that has stuck since his time at Lake Dallas (Texas) High.
Missouri will need Franklin to show both traits. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound Corinth, Texas, nativ...