Chase Coffman: balls.
Here are four early ingredients for a Tigers’ win Saturday:
1. Stay awake in the kicking game. For all the problems Kansas State has had the last few years, Ron Prince's team is still potent in the return game. The Cats have returned five punts for touchdowns. The other 11 Big 12 teams have returned seven combined.
2 Pressure Josh Freeman into mistakes. The junior quarterback doesn't just have the strongest arm in the league. "He has the strongest arm in the country" said MU defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who compared Freeman to a young Daunte Culpepepper, who was 2-0 against Pinkel’s Toledo Rockets in 1997 and ’98. Freeman’s cannon arm will misfire if defenses make him uncomfortable in the pocket.
3. Stay balanced on offense. The Tiger don't have to run the ball 30 times a game to make their running game useful, but there should be some holes for tailback Derrick Washington. K-State has been miserable against the run, especially on first down. Washingtob could be looking at his first 200-yard game.
4. Channel the emotions early. Dry eyes will be hard to find along the MU sideline, especially after what should be one last touching tribute to O'Neal. The Tigers have to stay poised and under control when the ball's kicked off.
- Mutigers.com: official release ("Twenty-three Tiger seniors will suit up for one last time at Faurot Field Saturday when they don the Black & Gold for the 2008 home finale vs. Kansas State.")
- Kstateathletics.com: official release
- The Missourian: Tigers want to finish job against K-State
- Topeka Capital-Journal: Brown, Cats vow to move past KU loss
- Topeka Capital-Journal: Ron Prince is K-State's answer man
Jeremy Maclin says he will return to Mizzou if he's not a projected first-round pick. Which is great...except that he will almost certainly be a projected first-round pick after he goes out and runs a 4.3 at the Combine/Mizzou pro day.
In discouraging Football Recruiting news, two 4-star Mizzou targets from Texas have chosen other schools before visiting Columbia. Austin WR Emory Blake visited Lubbock this past weekend and, naturally, committed to Tech after witnessing their biggest win ever. Meanwhile, DB Kevin Brent committed to OU. They both talked about visiting Columbia in the off-season, but there you have the biggest conflict in recruiting. If possible, you want a kid's fifth/final visit so that you're completely in his head when he's making his decision, and you're the last school he saw. However, the problem with that is...you might not get a visit. He can commit and cancel his further visits at anytime. The first or second visit could fall out of a kid's memory, but...at least you definitely got a visit.
Regarding Blake and Brent...I've never been tremendously impressed with Blake's film (it's good, but no better than 3-star guys like Josh Gordon or Mizzou commit Jaleel Clark), so I'm not mourning that loss too much. Brent, however, looks like a complete and total stud, and considering he's a high school teammate of Jacquies Smith, I was really hoping to get him on campus. I guess you can't blame a defensive player for picking OU, but it still stings a bit.
In further annoying news, Mizzou's best wrestler, Nick Marable, was arrested for peace disturbance (i.e. fighting) over the weekend. Don't know why the hell somebody would try to fight a wrestler, much less a really really good one, but whatever.
Finally, in better news...as you would expect from a team that finds itself in the Top 15, Mizzou Soccer is well-represented on the all-conference list. Kristin Andrighetto and Alysha Bonnick = 1st-team All-Big 12. Meghan Pfeiffer = 2nd-team. Kendra Collins = All-Newcomer. Congrats to all! Mizzou starts the Big 12 tournament against Texas tomorrow in San Antonio. They lost 2-1 to the Lady Horns a week ago in Columbia.