Kevin C. Cox
Tennessee's offense is excellent, James Franklin is growing callouses, Mike Dixon is still suspended, and Frank Haith's got options in the post.
Mizzou Football Links
So the big news yesterday came in the recruiting world, where 2014 commit Andy Bauer, a big offensive lineman from DeSmet whose stock has erupted in the past few months, officially decommitted from Missouri so that he could go through the recruiting process. The good folks at PowerMizzou saw this coming for quite a while -- Bauer committed really early, and he has gotten some really big offers of late (Alabama, LSU). All indications point to Mizzou being in the race until the end, but it's officially a race now. Not good news, obviously, but far from shocking.
The Missourian: Tennessee passing attack provides Missouri football team its greatest challenge yet (Um, I might have gone with "defense" instead of "football team" in the headline...)
While Justin Hunter sits atop the SEC in touchdown catches, with three of them coming in last week’s 55-48 win against Troy, he may not be the most dangerous receiver the Vols have to offer.
As Tennessee coach Derrick Dooley said, all they worry about is delivering Patterson the football. Once he has it, the rest seems to take care of itself.
"Once he gets the ball in his hands, he’s just one of those special guys," Dooley said Wednesday. "The hardest part for us is making sure we get him the touches and get him in space. We’ve run him (from the backfield) some, and we get it to him in the return game and on reverses and that sort of thing, so any way we can try to get him to touch the ball, it’s going to help us."
It’s going to help Tennessee while almost certainly hurting Missouri.
On Saturday, Hunter and Patterson will meet Missouri cornerbacks Kip Edwards and E.J. Gaines. They have provided Missouri with stability in the secondary, and both players have been dependable and consistent against top talent thus far.
But when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, something has to give.
QB No. 1
The Trib (Dave Matter): Pinkel on Franklin: "He's been through hell."
KC Star: Against Tennessee, James Franklin will need to crank up offense
Considering that Troy threw for almost 500 yards on the Vols last week, there’s little doubt the Tigers will need Franklin to turn in a bounce-back performance if they hope to win.
"What bothers me is I felt like I let my teammates down," Franklin said.
The good news, Yost said, is that this isn’t the only time he’s seen Franklin feel that way. After throwing an interception and completing only 19 of 35 passes in a 24-17 loss to Kansas State last year, Franklin came back the next week and ripped Iowa State for five touchdowns in a 52-17 win.
"Last year after the K-State game, you could see it and feel it in him. He felt he let down his teammates down," Yost said. "The next week, he was able to get back and get going…he’s always come back."
Yost added that it was important for Franklin to have a good week of practice. And apparently, he’s well on his way toward doing that, which could be just what the Tigers need in a game that could devolve into a shootout.
"He had his best practice of the year (Tuesday)," Pinkel said of Franklin.
Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel intensified his recent defense of junior quarterback James Franklin on Wednesday during the weekly SEC media teleconference, saying the three injuries Franklin has incurred over the last six months is "nothing normal" and that he's never had a quarterback "go through anything like this."
"He's been through hell," Pinkel said, adding that he thought Franklin had his best practice of the season on Tuesday as he moves another few days past the strained MCL he suffered Oct. 6 against Vanderbilt.
Franklin, who last season had the fourth-best total offense season in MU history, returned to the starting lineup Saturday at Florida, where he sparked Mizzou with 236 passing yards and several deft runs but threw four interceptions.
The entire experience, Pinkel said, will make Franklin all the tougher going forward, and he said he sees him getting "calloused up a little bit" now as the Tigers (4-5 overall, 1-5 SEC) prepare to play Saturday at Tennessee (4-5, 0-5).
MUtigers.com: Blackout Four-Pack for Syracuse Game On Sale
Rivals.com: VIDEO: Clay Rhodes senior highlights
SB Nation: 2014 OT Andy Bauer decommits from Missouri, will visit Alabama
PowerMizzou: Just Spoke to Andy Bauer's Father
PowerMizzou: Family matters
PowerMizzou: Tiger Mailbag
jmdgaza asks: It is clear that in the past 5+ years football has steadily improved its recruiting, particularly showing the ablity to retain some of the elite in-state talent that previously signed with other programs. Since high quality football recruits are limited, what other programs do you feel have been negatively affected by Mizzou football's improved recruiting efforts?
GD: First is Illinois. The Illini just aren't getting kids out of St. Louis anymore really. You could say Kansas, but honestly, the Jayhawks weren't beating out Mizzou for many kids anyway. I'd say probably the next two are Nebraska and Iowa. The Hawkeyes are much less of a factor in the state than they used to be. So are the Huskers, though I'm not sure how much of that is by choice of the school and how much is on the recruits. But I also don't think Missouri is a state that is going to make or break anyone's program in recruiting other than Missouri's. The fact is, even in good years, those schools I mentioned weren't really getting more than two to four kids a year from this state.
The Trib (Dave Matter): An early All-American defense ballot
We Are Mizzou: Inside Access: Fisher Visiting Florida
Mizzou Basketball Links
MUtigers.com: No. 15 Mizzou Basketball Opens Season Saturday
The Trib: Haith weighs some big options
Laurence Bowers is a slashing forward with a dependable midrange shot who excels defensively at rotating from the help side to block shots. Alex Oriakhi has the size and strength to post up on the low block and take away the paint when opponents have the ball.
But Haith's real luxury could show up when he subs for the two frontline starters. The coach who relied on a rotation with only two players taller than 6-6 during his first season now has three bench players 6-9 or taller — junior college transfer Tony Criswell and freshmen Ryan Rosburg and Stefan Jankovic.
"We've got a lot of options," Haith said.
He is trying to figure out how to make the best use out of them. […]
Haith prefers to rotate four players in the two post positions. It's too early to rule out the 6-11 Jankovic as one of those players. He turned heads with his 20-point performance to pace the Tigers in a victory over Missouri Southern.
But Jankovic did his damage playing on the perimeter at small forward, and until he builds up his lanky frame, he could be at a disadvantage defending in the post.
"Stef played very well, and he's been playing the 4," Haith said. "We've got to kind of look at what's best for our team."
The Missourian: Mike Dixon still suspended
KC Star: Dixon still suspended for MU's regular-season opener
Post-Dispatch: Dixon to miss Mizzou opener
Just Can't Get Too Worked Up About This (And Not Just Because It's Benefited Mizzou This Year)
USA Today: College basketball's free agency era
Mizzou Diamond Sports Links
Fall World Series
MUtigers.com: Black Wins Pitchers' Duel to Complete Fall Sweep
The Missourian: PHOTO GALLERY: Missouri baseball team finishes Fall World Series
SimmonsField.com: SxSE: Yardcocks
SEC TV ... Or Not
SimmonsField.com: Thursday Night SEC Baseball Game of the Week Schedule ... Minus Mizzou
Other Mizzou Links
- The Trib (Ross Dellenger): The Scouting Report
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Hosts Florida, LSU in Crucial SEC Weekend
Mizzou Cross Country
MUtigers.com: Tigers Looking to Make History at NCAA Midwest Regional
The Trib: MU on bubble for NCAA cross country
The Missourian: Missouri's Legg enjoys the nature of cross country