October 3, 2012
2012 Tiger Mailbag: 35th Edition
Each Wednesday, PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at firstname.lastname@example.org. On to this week's inquiries:
ZouFan27 asks: Assuming that Pinkel and staff are taking notes, does Pinkel take a hard look at making staff changes to compete in the SEC in 2013?
GD: I know it isn't the immediate reactionary answer people want. But it's true. There are seven weeks left. We are not yet halfway through the season. Missouri has lost two games to top ten teams. It's not even worth wasting time typing about for another two months.
aarondyoung asks: Many in the media, locally and nationally, indicated that our starting QB would likely be pulled for the backup if his performance was inadequate in the first couple drives vs. UCF. Given that QB play was improved last week, do you think 13 would still see the field if 1 isn't moving the chains - or are the coaches now 100% set on QB?
GD: I don't think you can EVER say 100%. I mean, what if Franklin throws four picks and fumbles in the first half against Vanderbilt? But James Franklin is the starting quarterback for this team. I think he's healthy, I think he earned back some confidence from teammates and coaches last week. Barring injury or just flat out disastrous play, I expect him to start the rest of the season.
mugamer asks: I watched on multiple occassions Missouri throw on first down, often with little success. This probably attributed to the long 3rd down's we faced as well as many of the 3 and out with 3 passing plays.
What do you think the ratio will be, for the upcoming game, of Missouri's passing and running on first down?
I also feel like there has already been a change in our offense over the past 2 weeks. What will or won't we see in the offense against Vandy next week?
GD: Just to check, I went back and broke down Missouri's plays on first down in the UCF game. They threw 16 first down passes. Franklin completed 12 of the 16 for 186 yards. He got five first downs and a touchdown out of those plays. He also threw his only interception.
The Tigers ran nine times for 36 yards on first down. They did not once have a first down run that resulted in a first down, but did have a 10-yard TD by Lawrence.
Missouri was also sacked twice on first down. Counting those as pass plays, on 27 first downs, Missouri threw 18 times for 186 yards (10.3 per play) on first down and ran nine times for 36 yards (4 yards per play). For argument's sake, take out the 80-yard touchdown to Dorial Green-Beckham. That means Missouri had 17 first-down passes for 106 yards, which is 6.2 yards per play (still about 2.2 more than each time they ran).
I also did a quick count to see how often a run or a pass led to a first down. On Missouri's series where they ran on first down, they ended up converting a first down four times and not converting four times. When they threw on first down, they picked up a first down 13 times and failed to do so six times (I understand these numbers are off one from what I listed above, so I'm not sure where I made the error, but it's close). What it shows is that Missouri's offense actually worked better when it threw the ball on first down than when it ran. Overall, seems like the plan to throw more on first down worked okay to me.
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