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Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus | Missouri Tigers

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2010 Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus

Game 1: SMU Mustangs (9.5.10) :: Game 2: @ New Mexico Lobos (9.11.10) :: Game 3: Texas Longhorns (9.18.10) :: Game 4: @ Iowa St. Cyclones (10.2.10) :: Game 5: Baylor Bears (10.09.10) :: Game 6: Oklahoma St. Cowboys :: Game 7: @ Colorado Buffaloes (10.23.10) :: Game 8: @ Texas A&M Aggies (10.30.10) :: Game 9: Missouri Tigers (11.06.10) :: Game 10: @ Oklahoma Sooners (11.13.10) :: Game 11: Weber St. Wildcats (11.20.10) :: Game 12: Houston Cougars (11.27.10)

General Information

Opponent Missouri
Nickname Tigers
Location Columbia, MO
Enrollment 30,831
Conference Big 12
Head Coach Gary Pinkel
2009 Record 8-5, 4-4
Starters Returning 6 Offense : 10 Defense
Blogs Rock M Nation : Atomic Teeth : Mizzourah!
Links Post-Spring Depth Chart

Join me after the jump for a closer look at the Tigers.

Statistics

Statistic Missouri Texas Tech
Pass Offense 285.46 (14) 386.77 (2)
Rush Offense 127.00 (85) 84.00 (115)
Total Offense 412.46 (32) 470.77 (4)
Scoring Offense 29.00 (49) 37.00 (7)
Pass Efficiency 139.11 (32) 143.79 (19)
Sacks Allowed 1.54 (39) 2.38 (87)
Pass Defense 251.46 (104) 225.62 (73)
Rush Defense 118.62 (26) 126.77 (38)
Total Defense 370.08 (64) 352.38 (49)
Scoring Defense 25.38 (59) 22.46 (41)
Pass Efficiency Defense 132.54 (74) 117.38 (35)
Sacks 2.31 (34) 3.09 (4)
Tackles For Loss 6.23 (41) 6.46 (34)
Turnover Margin 0.31 (36) -0.46 (94)


Top Returners

Category Player
Rushing Derrick Washington :: 190 Rushes : 865 Yards : 10 TD
Passing Blaine Gabbert :: 262/445 : 3,593 Yards : 9 INT : 24 TD
Receiving Jerrell Jackson :: 37 Receptions : 458 Yards : 2 TD
Tackles Andrew Gachkar :: 48 Solo : 32 Assists : 80 Total
Sacks Aldon Smith :: 11 Solo : 1 Assists : 99 Yards : 11.5 Total
Interceptions Kevin Rutland :: 2 INT : 0 Yards : 0 TD


Key Losses and Returning Impact Players

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on the opponent, but I try my best. If I have something wrong, please let me know and I'll correct or revise as necessary.

Key Losses:

OL Kurtis Gregory, WR Danario Alexander, WR Jared Perry, LB Sean Weatherspoon, DT Dominique Hamilton

Impact Offensive Player :: QB Blaine Gabbert:

Could Gabbert have better statistics? Sure, 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions isn't anything great, but I actually think that Gabbert is a pretty good quarterback. He threw for 3,593 yards, completing passes at a 58.9% clip, all as a sophomore and a first-year starter. You would expect the offense to take a bit of a hit after Chase Daniel graduated and Jeremy Maclin graduated. Gabbert was still able to keep Mizzou in the top half of total offense in the Big 12 and in the top 30 nationally.

Impact Defensive Player :: DE Aldon Smith:

All Aldon Smith did as a true redshirt freshman (I was corrected, Smith is a redshirt freshman, but he's still a badass), let me repeat that . . . a true redshirt freshman, is record 11.5 sacks, 65 tackles and 19.0 TFL. At 6-5/255, Smith is a long and lean defensive end that can get to the quarterback quickly. Unfortunately for Texas Tech and the rest of the Big 12, you're going to see Smith for at least the next two years and he very well may be the premier pass-rusher (after Von Miller) in the Big 12.

Coach Speak:

Head Coach Gary Pinkel after the spring game:

"I think there is a lot of things that need to take place between now and kickoff against Illinois but I think we've got the makings of a very good football team. We've got to keep going, we've got a good freshman class coming in. There is still a lot of competition. I told them we set the depth going in to August for our first practice but when we start that first practice all the jobs are open again and it's all based on competition. I think there's a lot of things in place. "

Spring Chatter:

  • Gabbert Can Be Best in Country: Pinkel thinks that QB Gabbert can be one of the best in the country:
    Asked about Gabbert after Tuesday's spring practice, Gary Pinkel didn't hold back on how good the junior-to-be can become. "The thing he has to do is practice like he wants to be the best quarterback in the country," Pinkel said. "That’s the bar he’s looking for, to be the best quarterback in the country.

    "And he has the ability to do that."

  • Defense Prevailed in Spring Game: The defense was the highlight of Mizzou's spring game:
    The defense intercepted four passes, collected three sacks and made Franklin look every bit the early enrolled freshman quarterback that he is. Missing one starter, defensive end Jacquies Smith, who was out with a high ankle sprain, Missouri’s starting defense was stifling in its eight first-half possessions. Those drives went like this: interception, three-and-out, three-and-out, defensive touchdown, punt, interception, interception, missed field goal.

    "Our defense is extremely faster this year," said tailback Derrick Washington, whose 9-yard touchdown run was the day’s only offensive score. "Our front four, those guys have all been putting pressure on Blaine" Gabbert "and making life a lot easier for the secondary.

    "And our secondary’s going to be good. Everybody’s been focusing on that and wondering how they’re going to be this year. They’re going to bring it. I believe so."

  • Barnes is one of Big 12's Best: Center Tim Barnes is one of the best centers in the conference:
    "It’s my year, it’s time," Barnes said, rubbing a thick brown beard that might soon need its own zip code said. "I feel like I’ve been here long enough, so I know what’s going on. It’s kind of my duty to lead the young guys and keep them going."

    "Tim Barnes is a diamond," Walker said. "He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s athletic. And he cares. It’s important to him. That’s why he’s a great player."

  • Deep Linebackers: The Tiger linebackers have depth and talent:
    With a wispy brown mane pouring out of his helmet, Luke Lambert is the Missouri linebacker who’s impossible to miss but seemingly easy to forget. Despite the loss of All-American and likely first-round NFL draft pick Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri’s linebacker corps is shaping up as perhaps the team’s deepest, most talented position group, led by returning starters Andrew Gachkar on the weak side and Will Ebner in the middle. On the strong side, speedy new starter Zaviar Gooden has generated some buzz this spring.
  • Spring Surprises: The standouts from the spring practices:
    4. Beau Brinkley, Jr., tight end: Gary Pinkel was recently asked about Brinkley’s production in the passing game, and the coach made it clear that Brinkley’s primary role is deep snapping, which makes sense considering he’s done it flawlessly the last two years. But will his role expand within the offense? Maybe it should. Splitting time with the first- and second-team offenses, Brinkley ranked third among all players with 17 receptions for 145 yards in the five spring scrimmages. Maybe that’s a product of MU’s reliance on the tight end/inside slot position, but Brinkley does two things receivers in this offense must do: He gets open and catches the ball. Michael Egnew is clearly the No. 1 player at the position, Brinkley might have nudged his way past Andrew Jones, who missed all spring action while recovering from shoulder surgery.
  • Return of Running Game: Mizzou hopes for an improved running game this fall:
    Of all the returning backs in the Big 12, only three have logged more career carries than Washington’s 403: Iowa State’s Alexander Robinson (502), Oklahoma’s DeMarco Murray (470) and Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter (427). This fall, Washington hopes his newfound quickness can help him absorb fewer hits, especially with a herd of speedy backs nipping at his heels. With backups De’Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence pushing for bigger roles this season — plus three freshman backs expected to join the team this summer — Washington shed some fat this offseason trying to rediscover the quickness he flashed as a sophomore, when he averaged 5.9 yards per carry.

    Yesterday, all three returning backs ripped through wide swaths of turf. Lawrence had his most productive day of the spring, finishing with 54 yards on just three carries, including a 49-yard run. Moore, just back from offseason knee surgery, picked up 21 yards on four carries.

  • Improving Against the Pass: Mizzou defensive coordinator Dave Steckel knows the Tigers must improve against the pass:
    BTS: The defense made progress last year against the run but still struggled against the pass. Where do you see the biggest room for improvement?

    Steckel: We have to improve in all aspects. We improved statistically, but I’m not a statistics guy. We have to improve more on the run. I think what we need to improve on, and this is very important for the whole defense, is our fundamentals. Fundamentals on the run game, fundamentals on getting off blocks, fundamentals on the pass game. All 11 guys have their job — and it sounds cliché — but if they all get better at fundamentals of our pass drops, our man-to-man techniques, our pass rush techniques to make the quarterback make faster decisions so the guys on two feet can react faster. I think what we have to improve on drastically is our fundamentals. Then slowly all the pieces of the run game and pass game fall into place.

vs. Texas Tech:

If you really want to know how the Tigers will shape up next year, take a look at Rock M Nation and on the left sidebar, they've got a preview for each position. Those guys obviously know their team much better than I ever will, but that won't stop me from making half-assed comments and trying to sound smart.

Starting with the defense, I like what the Tigers are returning and as mentioned above, it starts with Aldon Smith. Three of their four defensive line returns, two of their three linebackers and all four starters return in the secondary. Of course, that's not to say that the defense is without flaws, but it's nice to return a group of players that has some experience with the hope that you can build on the previous year. All four starters in the secondary are seniors, but that group was 104th in the nation in pass defense and other than Smith, the Missouri pass rush was shaky at best. Even though there are issues with this defense, there is something to be said for the thought that they did an excellent job stopping the run, 26th in the nation in rush defense, and this seems similar to what Texas Tech has tried to do over the past few years, which is stop the run and the rest will follow.

Offensively, I really do like Gabbert and like many of you, I have a sometimes irrational fear of the Tigers because what they did two years ago, both in Lubbock and in Columbia. The biggest problem for the Missouri offense is that they're replacing an all-world receiver two years in a row (Maclin and now Denario Alexander). Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp are your top returning receivers and the usually dangerous Mizzou tight-end is really no where to be found. The line is replacing their left tackle and right guard and much like the Aggies, Missouri is looking at a freshman (albeit this is a redshirt) to take over the left tackle spot.

When you take a look at the Missouri schedule, I think that one advantage that the Red Raiders will have is that it's going to be a pretty tough month of October for the Tigers: @ TAMU; Oklahoma; @ Nebraska; and @ Texas Tech. That's a pretty rough stretch by most people's standards and if Texas Tech has any sort of advantage, it's that at the very least, they get the Tigers at home. I also think that Missouri and TAMU are similar teams and although I really don't like playing the two of them back-to-back, at the very least, I think you'll see two teams with a pretty good quarterback, an evolving offensive line (although by this time, both lines may have solidified), a pass-rushing defensive end/linebacker and a defense (other than pass-rushing demon) that's struggled last year.