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.




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.




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.

no comments

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.
no comments


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."

no comments


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.

no comments


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.

no comments

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.

no comments


Written by Slim | 22 January 2011

Another video courtesy of Mr. Shizz.  Enjoy.

no comments

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. 

no comments

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!

no comments

Written by Slim | 12 January 2011

Maybe it's too late.  Maybe it's not.  Either way, it's time Mizzou Nation starts demanding some answers.
It's time we get Tony on campus. (Photo by Andy Jacobsohn, Dallas Morning News) 

As passionate Tiger fans, many of you are familiar with the situation surrounding Tony Mitchell. Mitchell was among the elite players in the class of 2010 and after signing a little of intent to play for Mike Anderson became the Missouri basketball program’s most heralded recruit since Kareem Rush.  Unfortunately, his arrival in Columbia has been delayed by an NCAA investigation into his eligibility. After getting involved last year, the NCAA claimed that its investigation into Mitchell’s high school credits and test scores would be finalized in the fall of 2010, which would make it possible for Mitchell to enroll for the spring semester and join the Tigers for the second half of the season.

During the last few months, the Missouri media and athletic department optimistically hoped that Tony Mitchell would be cleared in a timely manner. That was a rosy assumption and wishful thinking. Rather than urging a widespread outcry from Tiger Nation and spotlighting the failure of the NCAA to do its job, Mizzou media and athletics sat on their hands. The problem being that the NCAA is an organization under no obligation to justify its actions (or inaction) in any capacity, and given the lack of public pressure and negative press generated by Missouri, the NCAA had no problem ignoring Tony Mitchell, instead devoting its resources to Kansas and Kentucky where fan-created firestorms forced the NCAA’s hand.  Just this week, when a college basketball reporter asked a couple of people at the NCAA what the latest was on Tony Mitchell, not only did they not have an answer, they didn't even know about the case. That's not their fault -- it's their job to answer questions from the media, not track every eligibility case, and they obviously have not been getting a lot of questions.

Mizzou fans can no longer afford to let the NCAA ignore Tony Mitchell, and it’s time make some noise - Free Tony Mitchell. Admittedly, we should have got this going many months ago, but it is not too late. In order to make sure that the NCAA hears Tiger Nation, we have thrown together a three-pronged mini-campaign that uses 1) Twitter 2) email and 3) phone calls.

Our goal here it to generate an outcry from Tiger Nation that forces the NCAA to rule on Tony Mitchell’s college eligibility.  What do we have to lose?

no comments