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September 20, 2010

Like father, unlike son: Cause for concern?

A win is a win or a cause for concern?

All of Sunday almost all of what I read of reaction to Missouri's near-death experience was doom and gloom over the shortcomings of this team. It would be a mistake to just pass this off as a win is a win. But come on. It doesn't mean you've got a 7-5 football team on your hands. I still think this is a 9-3 team, with 8-4 at the worst. And that is after Derrick Washington is taken off the roster. The defense is way better than I thought it would be. The offense is no worse than I thought it would be. They seem to have - in Henry Josey - a tailback who can take over for Washington. So in my mind, nothing has changed yet.

Somewhere in the middle. I don't think it's time to abandon ship by any means. But I said last week we could learn something frmo these games. Last couple of years, we've overlooked flaws and said "A win is a win." I'm not writing off the season, but Missouri has to get much better--espeically on offense--if it wants a shot to win the North. They can do so of course. But they'll have to.

A lot of missed connections in the passing game. Did you think it was more Gabbert or the receivers?

Early on, I thought it was the receivers. I thought Moe dropped a catchable ball or two and Jackson dropped a TD. But the last two and a half quarters, I thought it was far more on Gabbert. He was just off.

Both. More Gabbert than the receivers. When he's off, he has happy feet and makes throws too quickly. He seemed to be over-throwing nearly every pass. Were there drops? Yes. But I thought this one ultimately was more Gabbert than the receivers.

And the running game?

Is what it is. And what it isn't is featured or a regular part of the offense. You can sit and debate why that is, but it's just going to drive you nuts. This offense is what the staff uses and it's gotten Missouri to where it is today. They're going to throw a lot more than they run. At this point, there's not much point to get all lathered up expecting anything else.

Okay, now here is where you and I really disagree. Missouri has a running game and it needs to me used. I don't care if the running back starts in the backfield or comes swooping in from the flank, that's a running game. I DO NOT count bubble screen passes as part of the running game. That is David Yost double speak, just like Chase Daniel's penchant when he was here that bad things that happened after the games were decided didn't count. If I want to hear a constant roar about any one thing it is that Missouri has a running game and needs to use it. And Yost needs to hear it. Constantly.

Does the performance the first three weeks change your expectation for the season?

I already covered this earlier, so I'll get specific. Missouri could lose to A&M, to Oklahoma and at Nebraska. Right now, with the way MU is playing, I'd say they lose two of those three and possibly all three. I just don't see them losing any other games. And Saturday night didn't change that. I think Saturday night was about as bad as this team can play, and I don't see judging a season by that game.

I'll agree and disagree. I still think it's a 9-3 team. If they play well. At least that should be the expectation. But I now think eight is more likely than I did a week ago and I think eight is more likely than ten. And I'm not sure if the omission of the Texas Tech game on your list is a simple oversight or an intentional statement that you don't view that as a loseable game. Because if the Tigers play like they have in two of the three games this season, they'll not only lose that one, but maybe also the Kansas State game. I agree with you that it's not fair to judge the Tigers on their worst game, but there does need to be some improvement shown over the next couple of contests.

How does Aldon Smith's injury impact the Tigers?

Your mother had this same injury and she was off crutches and walking around in four weeks. Aldon Smith is a better athlete than your mother. So I think that barring complications he is back and possibly ready to play in possibly four weeks. If so, then no harm done. Despite Smith's value, the fact that defensive ends looks to be the deepest position on the team means that even if Smith is gone for longer that it should not be castostrophic. But will it hurt? Certainly.

Well, it takes the best player on the team off the field. if there's a spot Missouri can lose someone, it's defensive end. They lost a hell of a player, but if he's back by homecoming, it won't kill them. If he can't play by OU--or isn't in shape to be full speed--it's cause for concern for sure because I'm not sure Missouri can beat Oklahoma or Nebraska without Smith. I am sure they can't do it without him. And I'm telling mom you said she wasn't athletic.

A prediction for this week?

35-16 Missouri. I don't think the Redhawks are all that good, especially on offense and I think Missouri rebounds in a fairly easy win. Then we get to start talking about the real season as the Tigers prep for Big XII play.

Missouri gives Miami the respect it didn't San Diego State. And Miami isn't SDSU. Missouri wins this one 38-10 and the nervous nellies go back into their closets.

Like Father, Unlike Son will run on the site every Monday through the end of Tiger basketball season.

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