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September 1, 2008
Like father, unlike son: One down
What is your very general reaction to the Illinois game?
I was shocked at the way Juice Williams toasted the Missouri secondary. Heck, he went through an entire loaf then sent out for more bread and butter. Linebacker play was good - and very good out of Brock Christopher. Line play was excellent. Secondary stunk.
It was a win. That's all it had to be. You don't need any style points. I walked away last year thinking Missouri was bad after the Illinois game. I was wrong. Not as much concern this year because Illinois is a pretty good team. There weren't many moments when I thought Missouri could actually lose that game. Plus, when you start the season ranked sixth, if you just keep winning, you'll give yourself a sure shot at the title game.
Who was better than you expected them to be?
Elvis Fisher and Tim Barnes. I'd say Derrick Washington, but I really thought he'd be that good. The linemen were phenomenal. Was the ILL defensive line overrated? Probably, but the line was very good, especially the young guys starting for the first time.
Elvis Fisher and Tommy Saunders. Fisher played like a veteran in his first college start at offensive tackle. Saunders stepped up with two good TD catches. Sir Papa must be proud up there.
On the flip side, what happened to the pass defense?
It looked to me like Missouri got caught blitzing. A lot. They were putting the corners out there one on one and the corners were just getting beat. It wasn't one guy. It was everybody. And on at least a couple plays, it looked like the corners and the safeties weren't on the same page. Concern? Sure. Panic? Not with the schedule they've got coming up.
I think you're right on the secondary. I thought the corners were good enough to play man to man all day. They weren't. Not sure they are now. Game plan may have to cut back on aggression a notch after the cupcake games are done.
Speaking of that schedule, what can Missouri accomplish the next three weeks?
Roll up the scores. You've paid to eat the cupcakes, so eat 'em up. There is a top five ranking out there to be claimed.
They can impress some voters. It's kind of silly, but if people see Missouri 59, SEMO 0 flashing across the ticker, it makes an impression. Saturday wasn't for style points. The next three games are.
I am not going to ask for a prediction. Missouri is going to win and win big. But how long will it take before you first think, "All right, this game's over" on Saturday against SEMO?
I'll say six minutes and 30 seconds. It ought to be 14-0 by then.
Well, let me put it this way. By halftime I expect to be fleshing out the bones of my game story. For night games on Saturday you need a blowout to counter early deadlines.
Like Father, Unlike Son will appear each Monday through the end of basketball season.