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Breaking Down Blaine: An In-Depth Look At Missouri's Quarterback E-mail
Written by Slim   
Tuesday, 01 June 2010 16:07
Missouri has some question marks heading into 2010.  However, Blaine Gabbert isn’t one of them.  In part one of our three part series we examine just how good Gabbert was last season.

There is no doubt that this is Blaine Gabbert's team in 2010 (photo by Parker Eshelman, Columbia Tribune).

Part 1. Just how good was Gabbert last year?

Part 2.    How does Gabbert compare to Chase Daniel?

Part 3.    What can we expect from Gabbert this year?


On September 4, 2009 no one knew exactly what type of player Blaine Gabbert would be. Maybe he’d be the best Mizzou quarterback of all time. Maybe he would be a complete bust.

One day later, Gabbert threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns while completing 76 percent of his passes against the lifeless Zooksters. Mizzou Nation erupted. Jason Whitlock and just about everybody else jumped on the bandwagon. Heisman talk began. It appeared Missouri had been blessed with a QB that would make Chase Daniel look more like Kirk Farmer than a Heisman Candidate. (Speaking of Chase look-a-likes, this guy anyone)?

But mixed in with the ridiculous displays of realized potential were some growing pains. Mizzou’s Texas Bowl debacle where Gabbert completed 15 of 31 passes for 291 yards and two interceptions still lingers in some critic’s minds.

The Texas Bowl was not Gabbert's best game (photo by Chris Dunn of Words and Light Blog).

Between the blowout of Illinois and the butt kicking at the hands of Navy, we learned a few things about the type of player Blaine Gabbert is. We know he is certainly not a bust. Whether he becomes the best quarterback in Missouri history, well, that is yet to be determined. However, what is already determined is that Gabbert was one of the better quarterbacks in the nation in 2009.

He threw for 3,593 yards (the 3rd most in MU history), 24 TDs and only nine interceptions, all with a bad ankle for much of the season. His 140.5 quarterback rating was second only to Colt McCoy in the Big 12 and good for 30th in the nation.

Of first year starting quarterbacks only 11 had a higher rating than Gabbert. Only five of those quarterbacks play in a BCS conference.

Out of BCS conference quarterbacks returning to their team for 2010, only 7 were statistically better than Gabbert in 2009. That’s great news heading into the upcoming season if you’re a Mizzou fan. However, Gabbert wasn’t perfect in 2009 either.

Obviously, two healthy ankles might have made the story read a bit differently, but Gabbert had his share of struggles. His nine interceptions were a pleasant surprise, especially after Daniel threw 18 in 2008, but they seemed to come at particularly bad times (is there a good time for interceptions?) for MU.

Gabbert threw seven of his nine picks in the second half. Four came in the fourth quarter. I don’t think it’s a mere coincidence that the fourth quarter was also Missouri’s worst. The Tigers outscored opponents by 74 in the game’s first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter Mizzou’s point differential was a disappointing -20. In Missouri’s three game losing-streak to Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Texas, Gabbert threw five interceptions. The Tigers were outscored 33-0 in the fourth quarters of those games.

On the bright side of the interceptions is the fact that Gabbert threw no picks in the first quarter of any game. Although Mizzou only held leads at the end of the first quarter four times, at least it wasn’t Gabbert interceptions that led to early deficits.

In 2009, Gabbert easily established himself as the division’s premier passer (sorry, Sod). He should keep that title in 2010 as Missouri and Iowa State are the only teams that enter fall camp with their quarterback situation definitively wrapped up.

But how does he compare to other returning quarterbacks around the nation? Here’s a breakdown of some comparable QB’s who were first year starters in 2009 and return in 2010:

Blaine Gabbert Sophomore – Missouri

Completion %: 58.9

Yards: 3,593

TDs: 24

INT: 9

Sacked: 19

Rushing TDs: 3

Rating: 140.5

Note: The quarterback for your Missouri Tigers

Landry Jones – Oklahoma – Freshman

Completion %: 58.1

Yards: 3,198

TDs: 26

INT: 14

Sacked: 12

Rushing TDs: 0

Rating: 130.83

Note: Not quite Ram Bradford, but definitely a good player.

Ryan Mallet – Arkansas – Sophomore

Completion %: 55.8

Yards: 3,627

TDs: 30

INT: 7

Sacked: 24

Rushing TDs: 2

Rating: 152.52

lt;p class="MsoNormal">Note: Played significantly at Michigan his freshman year before transferring to play for the Pigs. Last year was his first year as a fulltime starter.


Andrew Luck – Stanford – Freshman

Completion %: 56.3

Yards: 2,575

TDs: 13

INT: 4

Sacked: 6

Rushing TDs: 2

Rating: 143.47

Note: Getting a ton of love from the hype machine also known as ESPN. Stats probably a bit low in ’09 due to the fact that he shared a backfield with Toby Gerhardt, the nation’s leading rusher.

Pundits are expecting big things out of Luck in 2010.

Greg McElroy – Alabama – Junior

Completion %: 60.9

Yards: 2,508

TDs: 17

INT: 4

Sacked: 18

Rushing TDs: 1

Rating: 140.55

Note: Not going to wow your socks off with his numbers, but here’s one stat where he led the nation last season: National Titles. I’d take it.

Scott Tolzien – Wisconsin – Junior

Completion %: 64.3

Yards: 2,705

TDs: 16

INT: 11

Sacked: 21

Rushing TDs: 2

Rating: 142.99

Note: Not really known as a great quarterback, nor is Wisconsin a high-flying attack by any means, but he fit the bill plus I wanted to get someone on here from the Big 10.

Jerrod Johnson – Texas A&M - Junior

Completion %: 59.6

Yards: 3,579

TDs: 30

INT: 8

Sacked: 27

Rushing TDs: 9

Rating: 136.7

Note: Dude is good. The world saw what he could do against Texas last season. Should have a monster year in 2010. Johnson started in ’08 but he’s a guy we’ll hear a lot about this season so I threw him on here for comparison’s sake.


Gabbert was easily an above average quarterback in 2009. Had Ndamukong Suh not ruined his ankle he might have been a top 20 quarterback in the nation.

However, he is definitely right in the mix with the guys on the list above as one of the best quarterbacks of 2009 who return in 2010.

For quarterbacks, the second season as a starter is typically where you’re going to see the most improvement. Example: Chase Daniel went from good in ’06 to The Man in ’07. Am I saying Gabbert will make that same jump? Not necessarily. Is it possible? Absolutely.

We can analyze stats all we want but perhaps this article’s most glaring omission is the most important stat: wins. If Gabbert can improve in that category, everything else will take care of itself.

Rock, Chalk, Jay-Mock: A look at KU's NBA Draft History and 2010 Future E-mail
Written by PRF   
Monday, 31 May 2010 00:00

Kansas Basketball Team

Success in College doesn't always transfer to the NBA.  Kansas knows all too well.

With the NBA draft just over three weeks away, I thought it might be a good time to make some stock predictions.  Since Mizzou has no players in the 2010 draft pool, I guess I will just have to do every Mizzou fan’s second favorite thing: Ridicule Kansas.  Here’s a look at KU’s draft history over the past decade as well as the outlook for their three 2010 prospects.

Facebook Friday: 5/28 E-mail
Written by Slim   
Friday, 28 May 2010 12:17

This week's Facebook Friday features Freshman All American and MU single season sack leader Aldon Smith.  This dude is NFL bound soon so I thought we'd include him while we still have a chance.

Aldon at Mizzou's paintball day.

What'd be worse: Having Aldon coming at you on the football field, or playing paintball?

Wouldn't be completely shocked if he won this award in the League someday.

Aldon, Rolandis Woodland and Kip Edwards.  Three guys that need to have big years for Mizzou in 2010.

For Your Listening Pleasure... E-mail
Written by Slim   
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 11:01

Michael Felder, of the (almost) award winning blog, hosted me on his most recent podcast.  Check it out as we talk all things Mizzou football...  Just don't ask me anything about Texas Tech.

We're podcasting

He's 5'8... No Big Deal E-mail
Written by Slim   
Monday, 24 May 2010 11:18

OK, so he might be 5'10 with shoes on, but still, if you haven't seen this yet, do yourself a favor and watch the video.  Mizzou recruit Phil Pressey throws down on fellow Mizzou recruit Tony Mitchell.  It's nasty.

Detroit Flops Again.. E-mail
Written by PRF   
Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:14

The end of Draft Day '10 won't take the bag off this Detroit fan's head.

The Detroit Lions did not win the Super Bowl last year, which makes it strange that they had the final pick of this year’s NFL draft. They likely acquired the last pick during the Matt Millan era in a trade with Tampa for their first round pick. Millan’s reasoning: If I unload my first round pick, then no one will be able to get on my back for selecting another Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers or Mike Williams. Well Matty, you got fired before you could see it happen and were forced to watch how Detroit’s latest mock executive committee would capitalize on the final draft pick in 2010.

The final person selected in the NFL draft is known as Mr. Irrelevant. Why? Well, because he is the last player selected and has little to no chance of carrying Gatorade into the end zone for more than a couple years, let alone touchdowns.

When the final pick came to Detroit at No. 255, the Lions were thinking WR. Their boy Marc Mariani out of Montana and the Big Sky conference had been snagged at No. 222 by Tennessee so Detroit was reeling. They had to make the selection between these two players and they had to make it fast:

Facebook Friday: 5/21 E-mail
Written by Slim   
Friday, 21 May 2010 00:25


This week's edition of Facebook Friday features former Tigers Sean Weatherspoon (foreground) and Danario Alexander.  Not sure about you, but I don't know if I could get that high off the ground with a diving board, yet alone standing flat footed.  Then again, I'm not one of the best players in Mizzou football history.

And how could we include Danario in Facebook Friday without throwing up this classic?

Nubs Aim Higher E-mail
Written by Slim   
Thursday, 20 May 2010 15:06

Let's hope this year's Huskers Illustrated is off by as much as the 2007 edition was.

Nebraska recently released their 2010 football team yearbook.  The cover features Prince Amukamara and Eric Hagg above the title "Big Red Rising: Huskers Eye Return to Nation's Top 10."  The Huskers are Missouri's biggest (only?) competitor in the North but personally, I think they're getting way too much love this offseason.  As much as I hate to say it, they are definitely a good team.  Coming away with a win in Lincoln this year will be tough for Mizzou.  However, I'm not sold that they're a top 10 team in the country.

Anyway, this site allowed visitors to view covers of past editions of the Husker team yearbook.  I thought the 2007 edition was pretty amusing:

At least the Nubs' intentions were good.  They were coming off a 9-5 season in 2006 and if they intended to do better than that, they certainly didn't show it on the field.  In 2007 they proceeded to go 5-7, including 2-6 in the Big 12.  Their lone conference wins were against Iowa State and Kansas State.  They lost to Missouri 41-6, kU 76-39, and Colorado 65-51.  So much for aiming higher.

An Article We Can All Enjoy E-mail
Written by Slim   
Thursday, 20 May 2010 11:43

Headline about the kU football team: "Football lacking stars"

I like the sound of that.  Here's the introduction to Tom Keegan's story on

"Quick, identify the biggest star, the guy whose name you want on the marquee to help sell season tickets for the 2010 Kansas University football team.


Still thinking.

Haven’t come up with anybody yet.

Can I use one of my lifelines to call a friend?

No, it wouldn’t do any good anyway.

The closest thing Kansas has to such a player is a running back who does his best work running between the tackles and is not listed anywhere on new coach Turner Gill’s two-deep depth chart he released after spring football."

Here's a link to the full story: Click

The View From Big Ten Country E-mail
Written by Slim   
Tuesday, 18 May 2010 11:33

Mizzou fans old and young have discussed at length what we think of the Big Ten. It’s been debated what switching conferences would do financially, academically, and even how it would affect recruiting. But what does the Big Ten think of Missouri? After spending some time in Big Ten territory, I realized there is a wide range of views.

Before I dive in, let me preface it with this: It doesn’t really matter what they, those scholarly northerners with boring football and slow-paced basketball teams think of Mizzou. If they want Missouri, great. If they don’t, well, Mizzou will crawl back to the awful TV deals and poor revenue sharing of the Big 12 and pretend like they didn’t really want the Big Ten all along. But if (or when) a move comes, the Tigers respect will have to be earned, not given from the folks “up there.”

I’m from Big Ten country. I was born and raised in Minneapolis and lived there for the first 18 years of my life. I watched as Minnesota football, much like Missouri, fought an upward battle toward respectability, and then transitioned from hoping to make bowl games to battling to earn their place among the conference’s elite (Granted, Minnesota has since taken a step backward). In basketball, I watched as the Gophers, much like the Tigers, had a rich history tarnished by NCAA violations, fell to all-time lows, only to rebound in recent years under the leadership of a good head coach.

Mike Anderson has Mizzou pointed in the right direction in the Big 12.  Would that continue in the Big Ten?

A few weeks ago I returned home to the Twin Cities. Knowing I’m now a “Mizzou guy,” many friends, co-workers and family members were eager to discuss Missouri’s potential move to “their,” conference with me.

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