2012 Tiger Mailbag: 34th Edition

Each Wednesday, 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 On to this week's inquiries:
ZouFan27 asks: What adjustments MUST be made to gain success with the running game?
GD: Pete's going to have a story this week on Mizzou's lack of success with the quarterback run game. But the tailback run game has been very successful. Kendial Lawrence is averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Outside of Henry Josey last year, the last time the Tigers had a tailback average that many yards per carry with more than 13 carries was Ernest Blackwell back in 1997. Even Marcus Murphy is getting 5.4 per carry and Russell Hansbrough is at 6.9. Add them all up and the Missouri tailbacks are averaging 16.5 carries for 109 yards per game (6.2 per carry). It's my opinion Missouri needs to run the tailbacks more and the quarterbacks less.
So Harge 23 asks: Who do you think should start this week at QB honestly? Berk hit guys on the numbers and the WR looked like they have life again when he came on the field. 
GD: If James Franklin says he can start, I would start him. However, I'd watch him closely. If I see the same quarterback in the first quarter that I saw at South Carolina, I'd probably make the switch.
tunnel asks: Maybe a conventional dual threat QB isn't the way for MU to go in the SEC. We need a mobile QB, but one that throws much better than he runs. QB's can sure take a beating in the SEC. What's your thought Gabe?
GD: I am not ready to say Franklin can't play in this league at all. You need a guy who can do both. I think Brad Smith could have succeeded in the SEC because I think he was that good with his legs. But there aren't a lot of guys like that. One major difference I've seen is that Franklin isn't getting the big runs. And I do think that has something to do with the speed of SEC defenses. Runs that went for 15 or 20 last year are going for five or six this year. So, I think you can succeed with a true dual threat quarterback. But I think he has to be able to pass as well as he can run.
seventhchildfifthson asks: Can you/will you address the alleged altercation in locker room after game?
GD: No because at this point, it's all vague rumors from anonymous Internet posters. If there comes a time where it needs to be addressed, I'll do it, but that time isn't now.
norealfriends asks: Who is the leader on this team? To be successful doesn't your best player have to be your leader. Brad, Chase, Rucker, Spoon, were all great leaders. I think thats our biggest problem the last 2 years. 
GD: I tend to agree. I've had people tell me the biggest difference between 2007 and the following years was the absence of guys like Pig Brown, Lorenzo Williams and Martin Rucker. I think T.J. Moe is probably the best leader on this team. Offensively, though, who is it? James Franklin has a far different personality than your prototypical QB leader. Now, that doesn't mean he can't lead. If he goes out and plays well, people will follow him. But this team, and more specifically this offense, needs someone to step forward and take charge in the locker room.
Truman86 asks: Is there a limit to the number of scholarships that a school can offer in a season?  How about a limit for on-campus "official" visits?
GD: A school can offer as many kids as it wants. However, it cannot sign more than 25 a year (yes, there are loopholes with counting scholarships backward, but that's a general guideline). As far as official visits, from what I can tell, a Division One football program can host 56 official visitors in a given recruiting year.
tommyjay25 asks: Given the choice for the rest of the season, what would you choose, and why?
a.  Missouri shocks the country, and beats an unbeaten Alabama squad, announcing MU's arrival in the SEC at the very least, as a dangerous team to be reckoned with at Faurot Field, but the rest of the season has it's up's and down's, and a tough November filled with SEC road games proves too challenging for the Tigers, who miss out on the opportunity to go to a bowl game, a rarity under HCGP
b.  Missouri shows improvement and beats Vanderbilt and Kentucky at home, but Alabama comes into Columbia, and soundly gives MU a thumping.  Missouri's difficult November schedule finds the Tigers losing at Tennessee and Florida, but two wins to end the season against Syracuse and Texas A&M rallies MU into a bowl game
Would you take the extreme high of potentially the biggest upset of the college football season, but no bowl game, or a bowl game that includes a decisive loss to the Crimson Tide?
GD: You take the bowl game. Always. That's easy. No one expects you to beat Bama. No shame in losing to them, even being blown out by them. A bowl game gives you 15 extra practices and the ability to tell recruits you've been to seven straight. That's not even a debate in my opinion.
tigersf19 asks: Do you think we score against Alabama first team D? What other football road trips you taking? Do you think the missed tackles are a result of poor technique or we were in position to make the play but they were just bigger and stronger? Should we have a hybrid safety ie/Half linebacker,half safety- maybe like Gooden since he is fast?
GD: Shutouts are really tough. I think Missouri will score...but not much. Our staff will be at every road game. I personally will not be at Central Florida or A&M, but we will still have those games covered. As far as the missed tackles, for now, I'll chalk it up to a bad day. I think a couple of them happened because kids were looking to make the strip and the big play instead of just make the tackle. On your last question, I don't know enough about schemes to say if that would work better, but I'd say you need bigger guys in the SEC in general. So a base 4-3 makes more sense to me than a 4-2-5.
cardstl143 asks: Which is more likely to occur? Franklin comes out and plays like we all thought he could against UCF and leads MU to a victory. Or Franklin continues his struggles and is pulled from the game for Berkstresser (not just mop up duty).
GD: If I knew that, I'd put a call into Vegas right now.
eebtz3 asks: What is Pinkel going to have to do this weekend to quiet most of fan critics this weekend?
GD: Win and have his quarterback play pretty well. It's that simple. If that happens, I promise this board will be full of people who will chalk up a win against Vandy and then convince themselves Missouri has it all figured out and might be able to shock Alabama.
Ray-PecTiger asks: Did anyone ever really ask Pinkel WHY he put Berkstresser in for the final drive of the game? I mean I understand that James wasn't playing well and we were getting blown out, but in the past when thats happened I dont remember the starter QB coming out for the final drive. When oklahoma ran away with the conf champ game in 07 Chase didnt come out, nor against Texas in 08, and Gabbert played the whole game against Texas at home in 09. Point being it just isn't like Pinkel to do this.
GD: He was asked after the game. He said Berkstresser went in because the game was pretty much over.
beastmodemizzou asks: Why do you think the snapping issue hasn't been fixed? Is there nothing the coaches can do at this point?
GD: They've been a lot better the last two weeks than they were against UGA. They haven't been perfect, but honestly, nobody plays a perfect game. I would simply say the guys they have out there are the guys they believe give them the best chance to win. If they're out there, that means there isn't anyone they believe is a better combination of snapper/blocker on the roster.
Companeros asks: What is an aceptable amount (assuming some will occur) in a game? GP was discussing this on his weekly TV show and counted 7 on one play and 13 on the other.  Did I hear that right?  If so, is "wrapping up" something that the team emphasizes in practice?  This year, more than years past, it seems like our players are bouncing off of opposing players vs. taking them down.
GD: I honestly don't know what an acceptable number is. I would say certainly less than ten over the course of a game. Less than five would be exceptional. I'd be amazed if there were 13 missed tackles on one play. That means every guy on the field has to miss a tackle...and then two guys have to miss again. It's virtually impossible.
tgessling asks: SEC coaches seemed to be unsure of what to expect against MU given our recent success and unique offense. Do you think SEC coaches saw Mizzou as a legitimate threat in the SEC East and has our recent play changed that?
GD: Yeah, I think coaches viewed Mizzou as a threat. I think they view everyone as a threat. Nobody views the Tigers as a threat to win the East anymore this season, but I promise that the six SEC coaches left on the schedule KNOW that Missouri is capable of beating them.
mexicojoe asks: During the USC game, USC lined up in an I formation behind the guard and the qb in a shotgun. Grandpa Gary Danielson made a comment regarding the formation and said something like "watch out for this formation...they have a pass they throw off of it"...I am not sure if USC ever threw a pass from the formation or not. My question is...what if they never threw a pass during the game...would Danielson have breached the code of conduct by stating they had that play in the playbook?
GD: I don't know if that's a breach of any code or not. You'd have to ask Danielson. Coaches know when they're talking to the guy broadcasting the game during the week. If they tell him or show him something they don't want him to use, they have two choices: They can either not tell him or show him or they can make sure to let him know that is not something that should be shared on the broadcast.
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