July 23, 2009
2009 Tiger Mailbag: Free 27th Edition
Each Thursday, 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 email@example.com. On to this week's inquiries:
bson24 asks: Can you give us one defensive and one offensive true freshman that you think will be a really good player maybe not this year but eventually and why do you think that?
I have been on the T.J. Moe bandwagon for quite some time and I'm not about to drop off now. I think he makes an immediate impact this season. I also just really like what I saw from L'Damian Washington. The Tigers seem to pull out some surprises at wideout every single year (Alexander, Jerrell Jackson, etc) and I think Washington could fit that bill. On defense, I've heard good early reviews on Marvin Foster. I don't think the plays this year, but you'll see him down the road. And Matt White is an interesting, under the radar guy who could turn into a good player in the next couple of years.
muvigs asks: How many players do you realistically see the Tigers taking in this year's class? I know it's a complete guessing game, but I think we can all agree it will be more than the 14 schollies available. Knowing how these things seem to work themselves out each year, what number would you guess we'd be able to take?
On the surface, there may only be 14. But players will leave, a couple might not make grades, whatever. I would expect the final number to be around 20, which means Missouri is only about halfway done with this class.
JHuntski asks: Everyone should agree the football program has made some excellent strides. In your opinion, what are a couple of the most critical things that need to happen for the program to take another step up?
It's very simple. There are only two things that have to be done. First of all, the Tigers need to win the North in one of the next two seasons. If they do that, there will be no denying that Missouri has become the pre-eminent program of the six in the division. Three titles in four years will cement that. In addition, it will prove all of those wrong who are saying that Missouri's success was simply a product of catching lightning in a bottle and having Coffman, Maclin, Daniel, Moore and Hood all at the same time (funny how Pinkel never gets any credit for actually getting those kids to Missouri and making them good players isn't it?) Doing that will establish at least that Missouri has arrived as a very good program. But the second step is the one that will signal the Tigers have "taken the next step up" to use your phrase. Sometime during Blaine Gabbert's career, the Tigers need to beat a big boy in the Big 12. Whether it's in the regular season or in the Big 12 title game, Missouri needs to take down Oklahoma or Texas at some point soon. You can't say you're an elite program without winning your conference. It's not an easy thing to do. Texas and OU are two of the top programs in America, both currently and historically. No matter what happens the next few years, the Tigers aren't going to catch them in terms of overall program and tradition. But if they could pull out a win or two on the field, it would serve notice that the gap may be narrowing and that the Tigers are on the verge of entering the discussion with the best programs in the country.
TgrWeir asks: Gabe, what do you expect from a healthy D Washington and the offense this upcoming season? Do you think he will be the focal point of the O?
I have no doubt whatsoever that Washington is going to be the focus of the offense. Missouri will run the ball more, and in different ways, than they have the last couple of seasons. I think you have to throw DeVion Moore in here too because Missouri is going to use two tailbacks. A successful season, in my mind, is those two combining for 1,500 yards rushing and another 200-300 receiving.
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