Feel it? Feel those goosebumps? IT'S THE FIRST GAME-WEEK OFFICIAL RELEASE OF THE YEAR. WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
TIGER DEFENSE EXPECTED TO BE STOUT IN 2008
The Tiger defense was young overall to begin the 2007 season, and through its 4 non-conference games to open the season, it didn’t fare all that well statistically. It allowed 435 yards and 34 points to Illinois in the season opener, and then 534 yards and 25 points at Ole Miss.
After that point, however, Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus’ young pups really began to play well. After the rough start, the Tiger defense held their next 8 opponents under 400 yards of total offense – including sterling efforts against #25 Nebraska (297 total yards, 6 points) and #22 Texas Tech (380 yds., 10 pts.), which represented season-low yard and point totals for both. The defense closed the season with a bang, as well, as they shut down the high-powered offensive attack of Arkansas, holding the #25-ranked Razorbacks to 361 yards and just 7 points, one game after Arkansas scored 50 points to win at #1 LSU.
Here’s a look at at where Mizzou ranked (and what it was allowing per game) in its first 4 games (all non-conference games), versus where it stood in Big 12-play (8 regular-season conference games only)…
And from fightingillini.com's release...
Illinois looks to defend its back-to-back Big Ten rushing titles as five of the top six rushers from a year ago return. The Illini will have a big hole to fill as single-season rushing leader Rashard Mendenhall (129.3 ypg) is now with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, but quarterback Juice Williams (58.1 ypg) and last year's backup Daniel Dufrene (22.6 ypg) return. Williams broke the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback for the second consecutive year and Dufrene averaged an impressive 6.3 yards per carry, including a 100-yard game in the upset of No. 1 Ohio State. Added into the mix at running back will be redshirt freshman Troy Pollard and true freshmen Jason Ford and Mikel LeShoure.
Monday PC reports:
- PowerMizzou: "A couple of more freshmen could make their debuts soon. Pinkel said that receiver Wes Kemp will definitely see action this season and safety Kenji Jackson could still lose his redshirt. Jerrell Jackson and Michael Egnew will also play at wideout."
Dave Matter: "Buried within a long discussion of the spread offense, Pinkel offered this interesting thought: He said if the coaching staff had been as experienced with the spread offense in 2005 as much as it is now, it would have tailored more of a West Virginia-type option attack around Brad Smith. Not sure I’ve ever heard that actually verbalized by an MU coach." (DM's also got an updated depth chart.)
Jeremy Maclin: stronger, faster, quicker. THAT should give you goosebumps.
It's Like Father, Unlike Son!
So what to expect on Saturday night when No. 6 Missouri opens the 2008 season against No. 20 Illinois at 7:30 in St. Louis and on ESPN?
A Missouri defense that is not making like Simple Simon.
Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is ready to unleash the hounds. Adding complexity and diabolic disguise, this Missouri defense intends to not only bark, but also bite.
“With the experience that we had coming back,” Eberflus said of a defense that returns 10 of 11 starters from the Cotton Bowl victory over Arkansas, “we were able to do a little bit more during two-a-days in terms of install. Improve on our menu in terms of what we want to pull off during the course of the season.”
Translated: Missouri will blitz left when Illinois is fearful of a rush from the right. The Tigers will make it look as if a zone is open when a defender is ready to close for an interception.
That is the way the MU defense closed out last season. That is the way it plans to start this one.
“We’ve got to give our offense the ball,” said defensive end Stryker Sulak. “Our offense is great. They do things with it.”
Dave Matter's got his weekly Big 12 notes.
Another day, another "the skeptics are believing" column.
The Chicago Tribune has a couple Braggin' Rights-releated articles: Illinois tries to build on last year, and Daniel standing tall at QB for Mizzou (notice in the web address it has the words "Chase Daniels Misssouri Quarterback"? Sigh...at least a copy editor caught it in the article, I guess).
Finally, it's not Michael Snaer, but Mizzou Basketball did get its second commit of the 2009 class yesterday: 6'10 faceup PF Keith Dewitt. This is a pretty good get. You hope that the second big-man in the class is a bit more of a banger, but Dewitt had offers from NC State, OU, OSU, Miami-FL, Marquette, and others, so there's nothing not to like here. Get Michael "Now With a Fifth Star!" Snaer and the aforementioned banger, and you've got yourself a pretty damn nice class, Mike Anderson. Steve Walentik's got more.