PowerMizzou - The Rucker Report: Kentucky
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The Rucker Report: Kentucky

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A good relax and recharge is just what the team needs, but I can’t help but wonder if any of them are feeling relaxed or refocused. With the exit of Dimetrios Mason, it would seem as if instead of using the bye week to get healthy and unwind, we handicapped ourselves even further and created another distraction. Only time will tell whether or not this will strengthen or weaken our team, but I’m hoping this doesn’t mentally impact the players as if they’ve managed to lose on a bye week, too. I will say, the way his departure was illustrated to me, it seems we may have actually gotten rid of a distraction.

This week is the first road game of the season. With this young team it’s going to bring about a lot of new experiences. Some guys will be traveling for the first time in their career. Such a cool experience to pull up to Columbia Regional, walk across the runway and board the private charter. The food sucks on the plane, but you quickly learn that a King Size Snickers holds a lot of bargaining power. Once you land the Highway Patrol fires up their motorcycles, turns on the cherries and berries and away you go--whizzing through the city without even thinking about stopping at a red light.

Ruc’s Keys to the Game

*Handle Distractions

*Stop the run

*Play with confidence

Play well on special teams

While all of the things I mentioned that come with a road game are fun and cool, if not handled the right way, they become distractions. Handling distractions is a vital component to winning, and our Tigers have struggled with playing disciplined football this season. They’ll really need to be focused, because this tough road game is going to take all they have to win. This will be a big test for BO and his team.

Benny Snell is a good running back who’s averaging almost 4 ypc. Eastern Michigan did a good job at containing him last week. Kentucky is a Stoops team that relies on running the ball to get the offense going. If our defense can show them some different looks and put some pressure on Kentucky’s O-Line, I think we’ll find success.

One thing that it seems this team is lacking is confidence. The old saying is fake it til you make it. I’d love to see a little false enthusiasm and swag about this team. It gets guys excited. It loosens you up so you can play faster, better. It also intimidates opponents. Makes them think twice when catching a ball across the middle or lowering their shoulder to make a tackle. It’s possible that we could catch Kentucky with a bit of a hangover from last week’s game and an overly enthusiastic Mizzou team would not be what they’d like to see.

Our special teams have to play well. I’ve said this from the very beginning of the season. In this league special teams will lose and win games. We’ve struggled in all phases except for punting and Kentucky is thriving on special teams right now. Last week they blocked a punt that set up the decisive touchdown late in game. The Wildcats' main return man is banged up and this may be an area where we can take advantage.

Bottom line, this is a winnable game. Kentucky almost lost at home to a mediocre Eastern Michigan team last week. I watched most of the game and wasn’t impressed by much besides their special teams. The bad part is, this Missouri team hasn’t played any better than E. Michigan and all of our games have been at home. Going on the road brings its own set of challenges and unfortunately, Mizzou hasn’t show me any reason to believe that they are capable of overcoming these challenges and bringing home a win. I will be watching though, with my good friend and fellow alum, Andrew Jones. If you remember Jones from his playing days, he’s pretty “passionate” about Mizzou football, so here’s to hoping the Tigers don’t make him punch any holes in my walls. MIZ!