Photo via Bill Carter.
- The Trib: Green-Beckham doesn't get lost in the spotlight
A casual observer would have probably been a bit confused. Late in the first quarter, with Missouri up 28-0 over SE Louisiana, Mizzou quarterback James Franklin completed a short screen a lanky freshman who battled a couple of tacklers and fell forward for a six-yard gain. Said freshman then left the field to a standing ovation and one of the loudest cheers of the night. Without context, it would have made little sense.
With context, however, it was perhaps the most significant moment of the night. The freshman's name: Dorial Green-Beckham, the five-star freshman and the most important recruit to sign with Missouri since either Blaine Gabbert or Tony Van Zant, depending on your perspective.
For the night, DGB was targeted five times.
- First-and-10, Mizzou 40 (Q1): Six-yard screen completion.
- Third-and-10, SE Louisiana 46 (Q2): Fade pass sails far out of bounds
- Second-and-17, Mizzou 34 (Q3): Fade pass complete for 29 yards.
- Third-and-13, SE Louisiana 40 (Q3): Pass incomplete.
- First-and-10, SE Louisiana 27 (Q3): Three-yard loss on trafficky screen.
On two screens, DGB did well to gain a net of three yards. It took two defenders to bring him down on the first one, and on Corbin Berkstresser's first drive, the second one was swallowed whole from the start.
Meanwhile, on Fan Day, Green-Beckham said that his favorite route was "anything deep." He showed why. I honestly have no recollection of Pass No. 4 above, but of the other two deeper passes (No. 2 and No. 3), he'd have had to be 12 feet tall to have any chance at the first one, and he made the second one look really, really easy. On a simple, one-on-one go route, DGB easily created space (see above) with his speed and forearms and came down with the ball.
Clemson's Sammy Watkins set the bar awfully high for five-star freshman receivers last year, but as we've mentioned before, Mizzou doesn't need DGB to be that successful for them to succeed. (If he is that successful, that would be perfectly fine, too, ahem.) What Mizzou really needs from DGB is simply the ability to break a nice gain out of every few screen passes and become a serious third-down fade-route threat. So far, so good. The competition obviously picks up quickly now, but in the opportunities he was given, Dorial Green-Beckham took a sturdy first step on Saturday night.