Greetings, Mizzou chatters. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Tigers. I'll get to as many questions as possible.
He hasn't played up to his potential. The false starts are inexcusable. Lock threw him a catchable ball in the end zone after Albert made a great move to get open, but the pass was out in front - and in the rain. Maybe we expected too much of Okwuegbunam. He was essentially a red-zone receiver last year and has taken on a much bigger role this season. He obviously has the potential to be an impact playmaker, but he's got to be more poised in critical situations.
First off, thanks for the questions and comments. Second, though, as bad as that third quarter went for Missouri, I thought they showed some resiliency by getting back into the game considering the circumstances. After Lock's awful INT returned for a touchdown, the Tigers outscored South Carolina the rest of the game in the fourth quarter. Mizzou's special teams blocked a punt when the Tigers absolutely needed to flip momentum somehow. MU got points off the block. Lock threw a great ball to Kam Scott but credit the South Carolina defender for somehow coming up with the ball along the sideline. Still, even after the multiple delays, MU went back in front on the 57-yard field goal. It's completely fair to criticize Mizzou's defense for the final defensive possession. It seemed like the defense thought USC needed a touchdown to win, not a field goal. They were way too nonchalant in coverage. But, I did think Missouri showed some backbone in not letting that third quarter tilt the game in USC's favor for good. The Gamecocks had to fight back to win.
Actually, the defense got to the QB several times in the USC game. They weren't getting sacks, but there was pressure in that game. But not from the D-line. They blitzed the linebackers and sometimes a safety or corner regularly in that game, especially on third down. Cale Garrett got to the QB regularly to at least force a quick pass or knock Scarnecchia off his spot. That's not ideal. You leave yourself vulnerable on the back end or underneath when you have to blitz like that, but at this point, it's their only option to create pressure. The ends aren't getting it done. This was a major concern going into the season and remains a major concern. The secondary isn't good enough to make up for that lack of push up front.
Nothing new. I'm sure Martin will address it next week at SEC media days.
I touched on this earlier. He has a bigger role this year, bigger expectations - and he's making mistakes they can't afford a trusted playmaker to make. He's an exceptionally conscientious player. I'm sure he's taking those mistakes hard - and maybe that's making him struggle more. But I wouldn't give up on him. He's really talented.
I was really surprised they overturned the call based on the replay available in the press box. Maybe the replay officials have a better angle, but to me I didn't think there was indisputable visual evidence that he was out of bounds. That said, it was still first and 10 from the 11 - not back at midfield or in MU territory. With an All-SEC QB and tight end and veteran O-line and three good running backs, you should score a touchdown there regardless of the overturned call.
He hasn't been doing it all year. He can kick it out of the end zone, but he hadn't been doing that every try. His touchback percentage going into the USC game was 63 percent. You leave it short inside the 5 and you're tempting Deebo to return it - like he did last year. If McCann was more consistent on his kickoffs, you trust him every time and forget about the bloop kicks. But his body of work shows he's not always putting it into the end zone.
I'm not aware if there's an internal penalty for something like that. That was a classic case of the guy who retaliates draws the flag. South Carolina's Keir Thomas chopped at Crockett's arm after the whistle and knocked the ball out of his hands. Crockett slapped back and hit him in the facemask and drew the flag. Thomas tried to hit Crockett back but teammates grabbed his arm. Credit the USC teammates on that one. Otherwise it's offsetting penalties and Mizzou isn't pushed back 15 yards.
No. I mean, how can anyone know that without seeing the future?
Odom has insisted it wasn't a called onside kick. McCann misread the signal from the sideline as they were trying to figure out where Samuel was lined up.
Last year's defense got much better in the second half of the season - when the schedule got easier - but at any rate, they were able to pressure QBs better and make more plays in the secondary. But last year the staff started working in more young players and got more creative with their sub packages. This defense can't get much younger at the spots where guys aren't producing. And they already use their sub packages a lot. They have to create more of a rush up front and be more disruptive in the secondary. There's no magic fix. You might see more Christian Holmes and Jarvis Ware at corner. The two young safeties, Bledsoe and Gillespie, got more snaps at South Carolina and showed some flashes. The front seven is genuinely good against the run. But in today's game you're going to face a lot of passes. I don't know if there's enough bandaids to fix that part of the defense.
At those positions, yes. But Missouri is physical along the line of scrimmage, in the run game and at linebacker. The guys who played wideout at USC didn't show much fight for the ball. You're going to have to absorb contact in the red zone on those underneath routes. They lost those battles in that game. Missouri's DBs usually put themselves in position to make a play on the target, but hardly ever disrupt the pass. And it has nothing to do with how they line up 30 yards off the receiver at the line of scrimmage. Missouri plays its share of press-man coverage. It's all about how they contest the ball when it's in the air. They're too passive. They're in position to make a play and rarely do. Last year Acy was called for a ton of pass interference penalties. Maybe that got in his head and he's trying to finesse his way to the ball. Odom brought up a good point this week that the secondary hasn't been called for PI all season. That reflects how they're not disruptive enough.
I'm not sure about that. But this is another reason Missouri got out of the Big 12. The Big 12 could never get its act together and form a conference network. Missouri fans don't have to subscribe to a third-tier in-house network to watch their home hoops games.