Mizzou Links, 5-20-08

Short Links today...had to watch the in-laws' geriatric Yorkie last night while they're out of town, and she barked/howled/cried all night.  I know, I know...all you parents are saying "That's good practice for having a kid" or something like that.  I don't wanna hear it.  That sucked.

New baseball polls are out, and you can pretty much guess how we did.  Baseball America, who's liked us more than anybody all year, bumped us to #9 after sweeping their #5 team.  Rivals.com, who has been more skeptical of us than anybody else, bumped us from #17 to...#16.  Meanwhile, Nebraska fell from #6 all the way to...#8.  And Oklahoma State moved up to #6 for taking two of three from the 8th place team in conference.  Not really sure how that works, but oh well...we've very much positioned ourselves for a 2-seed in the NCAA Regionals now...and at least a teeny tiny shot at hosting a regional again.

PowerMizzou has a smattering of recruiting bits and pieces.  Rockhurst QB Nathan Scheelhaase, who's long been considered the biggest threat to leave the state (we're in the lead for pretty much every other MO kid we've offered, aside from maybe that OL from Strafford whose name escapes me at the moment), is still certainly considering Mizzou, which is nice.  Tulsa LB Cody Wilson, who bears a slightly uncomfortable resemblance to The Real World's CT (he's available for speaking on anger management!), is getting close to some offers and really likes Mizzou.  It's always nice seeing quotes like this:

Wilson admitted that one school was a little more speial to him with his visits and their camp. Wilson's father, Curtis, played at Missouri in the late 80's and the younger Wilson said that getting the chance to see Missouri through the recruiting process had been really exciting for both he and his father.

"Dad went up to Missouri's scrimmage during the spring and got to see some of the guys he played with," said Wilson. He loves the school and he'd love to see me there, but he's going to let me make my own decision. The atmosphere and tradition at Missouri was incredible. The fanbase is awesome. Everyone in Missouri is a fan. They've come a long way and they're really coming into their own as a national power. The quality and tradition of the team really stuck out to me."

Also, we've got the latest edition of the Random Tiger Ten.  And I'm bitchy enough this morning to point out that it's got all the normal recruiting-speak, like "Mizzou's always looking for receivers" and "If the Tigers offer, they may be tough to beat" and...well, that's it this time around.  It's not even that bad, but I'm still bitchy.  And now Sheldon Richardson, 6'4/280 Sheldon Richardson, is listed as Rivals' #2 TE for 2009.  Uhh, okay.  He's a DT, but okay.

Dave Matter has a nice write-up of Mizzou Softball's upcoming Super Regional opponent, Alabama (plus a neat summary of their dramatic win over Iowa).  Yeah, 'powerhouse' is right.  We've got the components--sometimes-dominant pitcher, great leadoff hitter, a couple power threats, decent defense--to pull an upset, but...yeah, 'Bama's really, really good.

Finally, College Football News' Pete Fiutak takes a look at Mizzou's chances in '08.  All in all, it's pretty decent, and Fiutak's certainly good at what he does, though I do think he missed the boat on some of his comments here.

Helped by a slew of JUCO transfers on defense, the full maturation of several talented players on offense, a Heisman-finalist season from QB Chase Daniel, and a bolt of lightning from freshman receiver and kick returner Jeremy Maclin, Mizzou put together one of the best seasons in school history with a No. 1 ranking and a shot to play for the national title before Oklahoma ended those dreams in the Big 12 Championship.

Tommy Chavis, Pig Brown/Justin Garrett...and that's it.  Those are the JUCO's that started on defense.  Castine Bridges, too, I guess.  And a few of the backups that rarely played.  Saying "slew of JUCO transfers" made it sound like we're mid-'90s K-State or something.

Key player to a successful season:  Senior CB Castine Bridges. Or sophomore CB Carl Gettis. Two corners with good starting experience are back, but one has to emerge as a true shutdown defender.

Marcus Henry: 2 catches, 17 yards
Jordy Nelson: 4 catches, 42 yards (until the last drive when the backups were in)
Todd Blythe: 6 catches, 54 yards
Michael Crabtree: 10 catches, 76 yards
Maurice Purify: 5 catches, 40 yards

Aside from a couple big catches by Malcolm Kelly, we shut down basically every #1 WR on the schedule, and it wasn't Darnell Terrell doing the job.  Pig Brown had a huge hand in shutting down Purify and Crabtree, but the rest was mostly Carl Gettis.  We have our 'true shutdown defender' (I'm not completely sold on Bridges, though he had a nice spring).

What to expect on defense: A concern in the linebacking corps. The Tigers were supposed to be loaded here, but two promising backups are now off the team, the star of the show, Sean Weatherspoon, has a banged up shoulder, and Van Alexander has a torn ACL.

In the words of Jeff Tweedy...honey, let's not get carried away.  Marquis Booker was never considered "promising", at least not by me.  And 'Spoon has the same "banged up shoulder" as William Moore had for most of last season.  He'll be fine.  So in the end, we potentially lost a starter for the beginning of the season and an okay backup who wasn't going to see the field much and was already an upper-classman.  It is indeed our biggest question on defense, but...yeah, let's not get carried away.

See?  That wasn't a short Links post after all!

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