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Written by Ben Wilson | 26 September 2011


Facing a hot Oklahoma team that was fresh off a victory over then-5th ranked Florida State last Saturday, not many expected Missouri to have much of a chance against the Sooners, who had won 37 straight home games.  However, Tiger fans were looking forward to seeing how their team would stack up against one of the best teams in the nation.  After two home victories over weak opponents Miami (Ohio) and Western Illinois and a tough overtime road loss against a solid Arizona State team in-between, the Tigers' trip to Norman would be their biggest measuring stick of the young season.

But unlike the game against Arizona State, in which Mizzou struggled to handle the raucous atmosphere of Sun Devil Stadium in the opening minutes, the Tigers came out aggressive on both sides of the ball.  Quarterback James Franklin started his day sharp, completing his first five passes for 124 yards, highlighted by a 45 yard strike to L'Damian Washington and a one yard rushing score.

In leading the Tigers to an early 14-3 lead, Franklin's play mirrored that of the fourth quarter comeback he orchestrated against Arizona State.  Instead of impatiently scrambling out of the pocket every time his first read was covered, he maintained presence within it, allowing quick receivers like T.J. Moe, Jerrell Jackson and Washington to exploit single coverage from the Oklahoma secondary. His ability to tuck the ball and run kept the Sooners' defense off balance, which in turn created big holes for Henry Josey, who rushed six times for 66 yards in the first quarter.  Much of the Tigers' success in the opening frame on offense can be attributed to the offensive line, who stymied the Oklahoma pass rush, and gave Franklin ample time to scan the field.

On the defensive side, the Tigers began the game by applying pressure on Landry Jones and the Sooner offense.  They plugged the middle of the line, and held starting running back Brennan Clay to just 15 yards on five carries in the first quarter.  In addition, the much maligned secondary showed different looks, and eventually baited Jones to make an ill-advised throw into double coverage, which was intercepted by Kenji Jackson.

As the game progressed, however, both offensive and defensive units lost the aggression they employed so well in the early going, which resulted with Oklahoma running off 28 unanswered points to put the game away midway through the third quarter.

In the second quarter, the Tigers' offense looked as though they felt content to sit on their early lead.  Franklin completed just one of six passes during this stretch, and looked to run whenever he felt he had no safe options open.  Adjustments by the Oklahoma defense compounded the problem.  They began stacking the right side of the field, giving Franklin nothing to work with to his strong side.  Although there was constantly room to run on the left side, Franklin has yet to become comfortable with scrambling in that direction, and ran himself into a wall on many passing plays.  As a result, he was forced to either settle for small gains on the ground or to throw the ball away.  In addition, the Mizzou offense stopped giving Josey the ball, which allowed the Sooners to load up on Franklin.  Josey carried the ball just eight times over the last three quarters after six in the first several minutes of the first quarter.

Once the Sooners had stormed back to take the lead in the second half, the Tigers had lost all of the offensive flow they had built early on, and never really established a rhythm in the second half, except for late in the fourth quarter once the outcome of the game had been decided.  Franklin ended up completing less than 50 percent of his passes and was constantly under pressure, as the offensive line wore down.

Looking ahead, the Tigers must shore up some problems in order to be a force in the Big-12.  The issues with Franklin and some of his growing pains have been addressed, but a much more alarming issue lies in the low production to this point from receivers Michael Egnew and Wes Kemp.  In this game, the two combined for just five catches, and Franklin has not looked their way enough this year.  Those two are the largest, most physical weapons in the passing game.  Despite consistent numbers from Moe (Seven catches for 119 yards against the Sooners), Franklin frequently gets in trouble by often focusing solely on Moe, and does not see other open receivers.

Despite the loss, the Tigers continue to improve week in and week out. A 10 point loss at the hands of one of the best teams in college football on the road is not shameful.  In addition, Franklin is maturing with each snap, and it is obvious that he is going through his progressions much quicker than at the start of the season.  If the Tigers can keep a balanced offensive attack and improve their secondary play, they have what it takes to make some noise in the conference.

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Written by Joe Proszek | 01 September 2011

Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel
Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel

In the hysteria following the upset of Oklahoma, the #1 team in the country, sportswriters and fans alike held lofty aspirations for coach Gary Pinkel’s Missouri Tigers.  Those aspirations seemed painfully unfulfilled following the Tigers’ 27-24 loss to Iowa in the Insight Bowl and coming within one win of the Big 12 championship and a shot for a BCS game., Returning several key cogs in the offensive and defensive attacks Pinkel’s squad will look to challenge for the top spot in the conference again this season.

 

OFFENSE:

 

Passing Game:

Mizzou returns several key starters from one of the nation’s top offenses last year.  Nine of the Tiger’s offensive starters from last year are back, highlighted by All-American tight end Michael Egnew.  A senior, Egnew is drawing well-deserved attention from the other Big 12 teams, and was named the All-Big 12 preseason team’s tight end.  Along with arguably the nation’s top receiving tight end, last season’s team receiving leader T.J. Moe anchors the passing game.  Moe caught 92 passes for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns last season, all team highs.  Flanking Moe, the Tigers also return Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp, both of whom caught over 35 passes for more than 400 yards each a year ago and provide 1st year starter James Franklin solid deep-ball threats.

However, the Tigers hand the offense to Franklin after losing one of the most prolific passers in school history.  Franklin registered only 14 pass attempts last season as a freshman, and narrowly beat out now transferred backup Tyler Gabbert for the starting role.  Pinkel expresses confidence in his young starter, but with OU, Texas, OSU, and Texas A&M all posting stout secondaries, Franklin’s arm and decision making will have to be sharp every week if Mizzou wants to compete for the conference title.

 

Running Game:

With a plethora of small backs returning, the Tigers seem set at the running back position.  Three different Tigers split time running the ball last season.  Senior De’Vion Moore, junior Kendial Laurence, and sophomore Henry Josey all carried the ball at least 70 times last season, with Moore taking the bulk of the carries. All three are expected to see considerable time on the field again this season. The three combined for 17 touchdowns last season and all three, under six feet tall, utilize speed to pick up yards.

However, the Tigers still lack a bruising tailback to power the ball through the line on 3rd and short or in the red zone. Mizzou has only one tailback on it depth chart over 215 lbs, junior Jared Culver, who carried the ball only one time in 2010. It seems Mizzou will remain an offensive rarity: a shotgun offense in goal-to-go situations.

Blocking for the running game could be the biggest problem for the Tigers. Along with losing Tim Barnes, the unquestioned leader on the O-line last year, Mizzou will now face at least one week without his replacement at center, Travis Ruth. Ruth suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon on August 15th and has not practiced since.

In his place, left guard Jayson Palmgren will make his first start at center. Mizzou’s line also took a hit when starting left tackle Travis Fisher, a returning starter from 2010, went down for the season with a knee injury. As a result, the Tigers will turn to sophomore Justin Britt to fill the hole at left tackle and junior Jack Meiners will start at left guard while Palmgren fills in at center.

 

DEFFENSE:

 

Pass Defense:

Mizzou’s may be returning eight of its starters from last season, but the three that are gone could greatly impact the Tigers’ ability to stop opposing quarterbacks.  Mizzou loses one of its best tacklers and coverage corners in Carl Gettis. Gettis not only ranked 5th on the team in tackles a year ago, but also intercepted two passes and recovered two fumbles for the Tigers. Along with Gettis, the secondary loses Kevin Rutland, the 2010 team leader in interceptions and a two-year starter at safety and cornerback. Mizzou will rely on the experience of returning starters Kenji Jackson and Kip Edwards. With OU’s Ryan Broyles and Landry Jones, and OSU’s Brandon Weedon and Justin Blackmon—all potential Heisman candidates—on the schedule, Mizzou’s secondary has to perform at its peak to keep the Tigers competitive.

The pass rush also took a big hit when the San Francisco 49ers took Aldon Smith with the 7th pick in this year’s NFL draft. Though Smith missed some of last season due to injury, Mizzou would have greatly benefited from an NFL-caliber defensive end. However, Mizzou is in no way depleted at the DE position. Senior Jaquise Smith and junior Brad Madison combine for 13 sacks last season. Given the powerful passing games lining up against Mizzou this season, Jaquise Smith and Madison will have to have big seasons to win the Big 12.

 

Run Defense:

Many pointed to Mizou’s lack of size at linebacker as a major reason for Iowa winning last season’s Insight Bowl mostly with their running attack. The Tigers, however, begin the 2011 with more than just a size problem. Andrew Gachkar, the team’s 2nd leading tackler last season, graduated, leaving Mizzou without its best tackler, strongside linebacker, and one of its defensive leaders. However, weakside and middle linebackers Zaviar Gooden and Will Ebner return for their senior seasons. Gooden recorded a team-leading 85 tackles a year ago and started all 13 games his junior season and is poised to take a strong leadership role this season.

Meanwhile, a pair of seniors looking to continue the strong defensive presence set by the Tigers last season anchor the D-line. Thanks in large part to the up front push from Tackles Dominique Hamilton and Terrell Resonno, the Tigers’ defense was among the best in college football last season, giving up only 16 points per game. The two were a big reason why the Tigers held OU’s prolific running back Demarco Murray to only 49 yards last season. If the line can hold and the linebackers can use their speed and athleticism to win the push at the line, expect to see another dominant season from the Tigers’ defense.

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Written by Hank Koebler, IV | 04 April 2011

With the news that Kim English and Laurence Bowers are leaving for the NBA Draft on the heels of Frank Haith's hiring, and with the likely departure of the Pressey brothers to Arkansas, it seems as if Mizzou basketball is in a major downward spiral. For this reason, I've emailed the board of curators, who will be meeting tonight to approve the hire, to ask them not to approve Haith's hiring. I encourage you to do the same, for the reasons outlined in my email. Please keep your emails classy.


To Whom It May Concern:
I am a student at the University of Missouri, and I am extremely concerned about the hiring of Miami Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith. I would like to implore you to decline to approve his hiring tonight. In Haith's best season, his team posted a .500 record in-conference. Someone whose best season included winning only half of their in-conference games simply is not an adequate replacement for Mike Anderson, who brought our basketball program back to respectability after the Quin Snyder debacle.
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Written by Hank Koebler, IV | 19 March 2011

My plans of editing a video package of Blaine Gabbert's pro day were thrown into disarray a few minutes ago when I became aware via CBS Sports of Tulsa, Oklahoma, TV station KTUL's sports director Chris Lincoln tweeting that Mizzou basketball coach Mike Anderson will "be introduced tomorrow in Fayetteville as Razorbacks new head basketball coach."

As of 10:20 p.m. central time, no mention of this tweet has appeared on the websites of KOMU and the Columbia Missourian. While the Columbia Tribune does not mention the tweet, its online sports section's front page features an article citing reports by Tulsa World columnist Jimmie Trammel and Oklahoma City sports anchor Dean Blevin that a deal between Arkansas and Anderson was coming within the next week.

However,  Trammel also said one of his sources claimed "that the hire was a possibility, but not a done deal.”

Kansas City's KCMB 9's Cliff Judy tweeted that "we just talked with Tulsa sports director who tweeted Mike Anderson was leaving Missouri for Arkansas. He says it's not set in stone." In a follow-up tweet, Judy explained that Lincoln meant the announcement would come Monday, but thought today was Sunday when he tweeted. Judy also quoted Lincoln as saying the deal was not set in stone, but "most likely happening."

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Written by Emily Hauger | 17 March 2011

Offense. Defense. Pitching. You name it, Mizzou softball has it.

And the Tigers used every bit of it as they notched another shutout win Wednesday with a 3-0 rout of the Southern Illinois Salukis.

Senior Maria Schweisberger started off the Tigers with a first inning blast. Her second trip around the bases of the season scored fellow senior Rhea Taylor, who tallied three hits of her own during the game.

Missouri’s third run of the game came as Megan Christopher drew a bases loaded  walk in the third inning. Ashley Fleming, who had reached base on a one-out error,
crossed the plate for the Tigers.

On the pitching side, Chelsea Thomas was lights out again for the Tigers. She threw four innings, giving up only two hits and a walk while striking out five. It was Mizzou’s 10th shutout in the last 12 games. The win boosted Thomas to 7-2 on the season.

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Written by Hank Koebler, IV | 14 March 2011

Good morning Mizzou Nation! Grab a cup of coffee and click the links as we catch you up on the latest Mizzou news:

Tyler Gabbert's arm strength has gotten attention as he competes to work his way up the depth chart. 

ESPN's David Ubben says that Mizzou has three quarterbacks who are all capable of leading the offense

The NFL's lockout rules prevent Blaine Gabbert from throwing to current NFL players or free agents at his pro day.

The Columbia Tribune says Mike Anderson and Mike Alden aren't paying attention to the rumors that Anderson could be heading to Arkansas.

The Columbia Missourian's Nick Forrester reports that Kim English is ecstatic about playing in Washington, D.C.

The Columbia Missourian's Ben Frederickson provides the contents of the NCAA's Division I Manual 

Rock M Nation's Bill Connelly looks at what selection Sunday means for the Tigers.

Our own Max Conger looks at the key elements that will determine the course of Thursday's game against Cincinnatti.

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Written by Maximillian Conger | 14 March 2011

I’ve been hurt before, Mizzou.

I’ve lived through a lot of seasons with this men’s basketball team. When I was two years old, I started attending basketball games with my dad. I’ve seen Norm, Quin, and Mike coach the Tigers to a variety of season finishes. I’ve seen Linas Kleiza, Kareem Rush and Wesley Stokes represent my team, among countless others. I’ve seen  Mizzou play the Jayhawks in Mizzou Arena, the Hearnes Center, and, once, I’m not proud to say, Allen Fieldhouse.

And I’ve seen a lot of disappointment in the postseason. Low finishes in the NCAA tournament; several first round finishes in the NIT, and three consecutive seasons where we had no postseason.
So, all I have to ask of the Tigers this Thursday is don’t blow it.

We’re about to face up against a Cincinnati team that averages fewer than 70 points a game and falls in the 164th slot for that statistic. We’re seeded lower than Cincinnati, (and lower than we should be. Five seeding spots and only two losses cover the gap between the two teams...) but we’re a stronger team offensively. As long as Mizzou keeps a level head, has reasonable defense, and doesn’t shoot under 30 percent, we will probably squeak a victory by this Bearcats team.

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Written by Slim | 22 January 2011

Another video courtesy of Mr. Shizz.  Enjoy.

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Written by Slim | 15 January 2011



12th ranked Mizzou takes on 13th ranked Texas A&M today.  The Aggies are the one Big 12 team Mike Anderson has never beaten in his time at Missouri.  Hopefully that changes today.  In honor of today's game, the one and only Mr. Shizz presents us with his latest edition of The Cropduster.  Enjoy. 

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Written by Slim | 14 January 2011



In support of the Free Tony Mitchell campaign, Mr. Shizz has been so kind to create a special edition of his Cropduster series.  He pretty much hits the nail on the head with this one.  As always great work Shizz and FREE TONY!

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