April 22, 2010

2010 Tiger mailbag: Ninth 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 powermizzou@gmail.com. On to this week's inquiries:

the agency asks: This season is going to be constantly compared to the 2007 season. Please compare this 2010 version to that one and can you also compare the 2010 Big 12 to the 2007 Big 12.

Going into that 2007 season, you just got a sense being around the team that they knew something we didn't. I remember Martin Rucker and Lorenzo Williams telling me how good the Tigers were going to be. Zo read my preseason prediction of 10-2 and said, "We aren't losing two games. We aren't gonna lose to Texas A&M." This was in June and he was right. I'm not ruling out a ten to 12-win regular season for Missouri, but my confidence level in predicting it wouldn't be as high this year as it was in 2007. A few reasons: The 2007 team had a quarterback that you KNEW was among America's best. I think Blaine Gabbert has that potential. But I don't yet know if he's there. The 2007 season that Chase Daniel put together was the best single season by a player in Missouri history. At any position. Period. To ask Gabbert to duplicate that is a little much. In addition, that team had NFL wide receivers all over the place. I mean, Jared Perry, who's going to get a look in somebody's camp, could barely get on the field for that team. They had Will Franklin, Rucker, Chase Coffman, Jeremy Maclin, Tommy Saunders, Danario Alexander and Perry. All seven will either be on an NFL roster or will have gotten a chance in a training camp. This team, I don't think, has that kind of depth. The other question is in the locker room. Daniel, Rucker, Williams and Pig Brown were as strong a combination of on and off-field leaders as you're going to see. Does Missouri have that? I don't know. The Tigers have a chance to be very good this year. But right now, I don't know for sure what to think.

For the second part of your question, Nebraska is better than it was in 2007. Texas, Oklahoma, Tech and Kansas are worse. So, that certainly works in Missouri's favor. I personally think the Tigers have a favorable schedule this year, outside of the game against Nebraska being in Lincoln. You play in the Big 12, you're going to have tough games, but there's not a single one on Missouri's schedule that I look at and say, "There's no way I can see them winning that game." Makes for a fun year coming up.

SarcastroMU asks: After watching spring ball, which player do you think is most likely to explode and have an all-conference type season? Is there somebody that could go from being just another guy to the next Weatherspoon or Alexander?

Well, I think you're asking two different questions. I think Gabbert and Aldon Smith are absolutely candidates for all-Big 12. But they're not surprises. Same with Tim Barnes and Derrick Washington. If you want a guy nobody is talking about who could have that type of year, my candidates would be Zaviar Gooden and Jasper Simmons. But the thing is, most people don't "go from being just another guy to the next Weatherspoon or Alexander." I mean, those guys were never "just guys." If you've been on this site for a long period of time, you'll remember me raving about Danario in fall camp prior to both his freshman and sophomore seasons. I called Spoon the best defensive player on the team during spring ball before his sophomore season. So those guys didn't come out of nowhere. Those of us who had been at practice every day knew they were players very early on.

Mike Damone asks: Do you think Dan Beebe and other Big 12 leaders are working behind the scenes to address Missouri's concerns in an effort to preserve the union, so to speak? Or do you think Beebe is content to let the chips fall where they may?

Fans of the Big 12-not just Missouri-had better hope they're working behind the scenes. I mean, everything you hear points to super conferences, probably four or five of them, in the next few years. And everything also points to the Big 12 being the league that is cherry-picked until it doesn't exist. Anyone who's reactive in this situation is in trouble. They'd better be out there doing something, although I don't have any suggestions as to what that is.

Fshdom asks: 2011 hoops recruiting; are there any new names to be watching for? We've been talking to death McLemore(more than anyone), Beal, McAfee and Porter.

I'd look at Adonis Thomas from Memphis and Devin Langford from Alabama. And there will certainly be other guys emerge over the next few months. But I think we're all (myself included) forgetting the biggest name. Keith DeWitt quietly had a heck of a season down at Chipola. If he gets everything in order, what I hear is that Missouri's 2011 scholarship will be his. And if he ever makes it to a Division One school, it will be Missouri.

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