Blaine Gabbert never was in danger of being benched during his rough performance against Texas Tech. (Photo by JJ Stankevitz)
The easiest thing for a fan to do when his or her team’s quarterback is struggling is to yell at the TV, “take him out!”
If Saturday’s loss to Texas Tech was any indication, James Franklin became the most popular player on Mizzou’s football team in the matter of a few hours.
“Everybody’s favorite player is the backup quarterback,” said Gary Pinkel earlier in the week. But Pinkel has perspective, and he hinted at the serious ramifications for pulling a struggling player during his press conference Monday:
Pinkel has the interests of the program at heart when considering whether to yank a player or not. If Pinkel did pull Gabbert Saturday in favor of Franklin, that could have lasting consequences on the program. Maybe Gabbert loses confidence and is never the same. Maybe Franklin struggles. Maybe Pinkel isn’t viewed as trustworthy a coach. Maybe Mizzou still loses the game.
It goes without saying, but Pinkel’s not managing a video game. He’s dealing with real people, people he knows better than anyone outside the Mizzou family. That doesn’t mean his decisions are always right, but it does mean he and his coaching staff have the best pulse of anyone on when and when not to make a change.