2013 Mizzou Walkthrough: Berkstresser tries to bounce back

Bill Carter

The sophomore struggled in an impossible situation a year ago.

Corbin Berkstresser

#13 | 6'3, 225, So. | Lee's Summit, MO

2012: 88-for-177 passing (50%), 1,059 yards, 5 TD, 7 INT, 9 sacks (5.2/attempt); 44 carries, 143 yards (3.3), 3 TD

Bill C.: I think it was the footwork that gave him away. In 2012, Corbin Berkstresser showed immense physical potential as both a strong-armed passer and a burly short-yardage runner. He was thrown into an impossible situation -- high-pressure season, ridiculously tough schedule, sketchy offensive line -- and while he survived physically, his work left something to be desired. Of course it did. There's a reason why impossible situations are impossible.

When Berkstresser became too overwhelmed by a given moment, his footwork disappeared. He could throw short, easy passes straight to receivers' feet, he could make a terribly incorrect read, and he could prove even less capable than James Franklin at moving past mistakes. He had about a day's notice before his first career start against Arizona State (a team with a fast defense and brutal pass rush), he was forced into sudden action against Vanderbilt (a team with one of the best secondaries in the country), and he was thrown to the wolves against Alabama (a team that is Alabama). By the time he got to the Kentucky game, his third official start, he was rather discombobulated and mistake-prone. Easing into the role would have been great, but Berkstresser didn't get that chance. And in a miserable performance against Kentucky, Mizzou coaches actually decided it better to go with an immobile Franklin who couldn't throw or run.

Berkstresser has now had an offseason to regroup and go about finding his game again. He was passed by Maty Mauk in the spring and enters camp with the dubious "really experienced for a No. 3 quarterback" distinction. But he will still have a chance at either the starting or backup role this season, and he will still get a fair shot at starting again in 2014 and beyond. His footwork was an issue, and he has a long way to go on the mental side of things, but few quarterbacks could have outright thrived in his situation last year. A fresh start is a good thing.

MizzouRugby: It was mightily unfortunate for Corbin to be exposed as he was a RsFr last year. But it also showed what he has to work on. Also unfortunate is that he might not be able to start, barring injury, again for MU.

The Beef: He has said his movement to 3rd string was a bit of a wake-up call, which is never a bad thing. He will need to improve as the year goes on to get himself back in the discussion to ultimately replace Franklin next year. However, with the two frosh QB’s coming in behind him (never mind Mauk’s presence), it will be interesting to chronicle the remaining career of Berk.

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