April 11, 2012

2012 Tiger Mailbag: 12th Edition

Each Wednesday, PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond and recruiting editor Pete Scantlebury 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 powermizzou@gmail.com. On to this week's inquiries:

mestizo asks: Are we still running out of the I much this spring with Culver being more of a featured back? What can you say about Berk's running ability - can you compare his running to any other QB's we've seen before?

GD: You see the I-formation in every practice, but it's hard to judge whether they're doing it because they're going to use it or whether they're doing it to give the defense practice against that look. For example, for years, fans would come away from a practice saying, "Oh my God, Missouri is going to run the option this year." In truth, it was just a drill they did to work on the defense pursuing and staying in their lanes. They didn't run it a ton. As far as Culver, I think he's going to get some carries this year, but he's also third on the depth chart. He may be a situational back, but he's not going to be a feature back.

As far as Berkstresser, he's not James Franklin. He's a better runner than Blaine Gabbert from what I've seen. Not from the pure speed aspect (Gabbert was faster even than Franklin), but he has some Chase Daniel in him. By that, I mean, I saw him lower his shoulder and initiate contact against Andrew Wilson in practice (probably not something that thrilled the coaches). For all the throws he made in his career, the play that encapsulated Daniel to me was the 20-yard run where he lowered his shoulder and just ran through a Texas Tech safety. Daniel was tough and he'd do what it took to get the extra yard. I'd say the same about Franklin and about Berkstresser.

wkc1965 asks: Hearing from a lot of SEC fans about our "small" OL that averages around 295-300 lbs. and that our wide splits will get eaten up by SEC DL's. While we are starting to get some 300 lb. HS guys like Bauer and Boehm, do you envision our OL's remaining in the same playing weight range with the wide splits or any change in the scheme up a bit in the foreseeable future?

GD: To me, this kind of hits on the chicken or the egg type question. Will Missouri's offensive scheme struggle with bigger, faster, more physical defenses or will those defenses struggle to adapt to an offensive scheme that they don't see a whole lot of? I know Mark Richt was on ESPN a couple of days ago saying that the Missouri offense could pose some problems in the SEC because that league just doesn't see that kind of attack as often as we saw it in the Big 12. I don't think Missouri is going to make many changes to the scheme immediately. Over time, I think it's possible and I think you could see some changes in the type of player they recruit. But the players on the roster right now were all recruited to run the offense Mizzou runs. So that's what they'll do. That said, the Missouri staff has shown an ability to adapt. They went, in one year, from being one of America's most pass-happy teams to being 11th in the country in rushing. Why? They had a superstar tailback and a quarterback that was at his best when his legs were a major threat. Missouri will do what its personnel says it can do best.

drbrhc asks: Thinking about the real possibility that we land Devonta Pollard. When was the last time Missouri had a One-and-Done player?

GD: Keion Bell will be one-and-done this year. But seriously, I don't think it's ever happened here. Keyon Dooling and Linas Kleiza were each here just two years, but I don't think the Tigers have had a one-and-done guy. Of course, that really only covers about a 15-year span because it didn't happen much of anywhere before that (and even after that, a lot of the best guys didn't even go to college…the ones who were good enough to be one and done just went pro out of high school until the rule changed).

Zona Tiger asks: The DGB effect... Now that we've had a little time to get into a new recruiting year, how much of an effect on recruiting do you think his committment has had? Any current commits that you would attribute to him?

GD: More than I thought it would have. We've had a couple of kids say things along the lines of "If Missouri is good enough for the number one player in America, why wouldn't it be good enough for me?" But I think it's hard to separate the DGB effect from the SEC effect. I think they probably go hand in hand, both helping recruiting. I was told by someone earlier this week that the response to the SEC move has been incredibly positive from football recruits, particularly across the state. Even in Kansas City, where the move was met with mixed feelings, kids have really come around and are excited about it. I don't know how much those things have an impact on Missouri recruiting nationwide (though I think they help) but they have both had a major, major positive influence inside the state.

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