First, let me say I am very happy and grateful for Mizzou's win over Toledo today. James Franklin showed leadership taking control in the 3rd quarter and even Hulk-smashed a linebacker. Levi had a fantastic grab. Murph stepped in and ran well. Markus Golden made a spectacular, highlight reel play. Pass protection was good overall. Plenty to be happy about.
Toledo is a pretty good football team and beating them 38 - 23 is pretty respectable.
But ... I want more. No, not just more consistency on offense. Not just better O-line and D-line play. Not just better punting. What I really want is for Pinkel to be less nice.
Don't get me wrong: I like Coach Pinkel a lot. Nice man. Classy guy. Good coach. Fine moulder of young men. All this is great, but I really feel like he's got to have more of an assassin mode in him if we really want to fulfill that "FINISH" motto we've adopted this season. To get Mizzou more towards the top of the pile, Gary has to get meaner.
A case in point ...
It was scripted last game and for today's to put Maty Mauk in at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Both times it didn't go well (particularly against Toledo). Both times it had an odd timing (Once again, particularly against Toledo).
While I fully understand and agree with getting Mauk this valuable experience, I couldn't disagree more with the way we are trying to give it him. Putting him in at pre-scheduled (even inopportune) times is crazy. Last week was weird. Today was just dumb. We were struggling to gain momentum in a tough game - to throw Mauk in there just because it had already been preordained just seemed flat out foolish. It turned out bad, but could have been a disaster. Thank God he held on to the ball on his sacks of -5 and -12 deep in our own territory.
Last week, Maty was finally put back in once the game was out of reach, but only to be a hand-off machine for plays right up the gut to run down the clock. Now, I'm not saying we run trick plays in such a situation, but once the 2nd and 3rd stringers are in - LET THEM PLAY. Instead of throwing Mauk in today in the second quarter and basically throwing away a possession in a too-close-for-comfort game, take care of business early and put him in when we're up by 2 or 3 possessions. It might be semi-garbage time, but it's still very valuable to his development. And when you put him in, let him go for the throat.
Of course, we didn't do this because Coach Pinkel's modus operandi is to "keep it classy". While I do respect him for it most of the time, this is a situation where I think it is hurting our ability to develop new talent and therefore hurts our team in the long run. Last week, very valuable reps for Mauk seemed largely wasted with next to no passing attempts. This week, he essentially got no productive reps.
In the end, it's a game. Sorry if it hurts the other team's feelings if we score a couple of extra TD's so that we can develop our bench, but it's necessary. If you don't like it, leave your 1st string in and try to stop our 2nd and 3rd string. Otherwise, I think they'll get over it.
As long as we are not calling timeouts and trick plays and other such jack-assery, let the second and third string play full bore with more of the playbook. Let them get the feel of full-on execution. Is it not true that we play how we practice?
Get a little mean, Coach.