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Rock M Roundtable!

1 - Question about coaching philosophy: Gary Pinkel and his staff have made clear over the years that their defensive philosophy is what it is, and they're going to basically blitz on every third (and fourth) down.  If they don't blitz on 4th-and-7 with 0:30 left, Todd Reesing almost certainly completes an easy 8-yard out for a first down--he was in too much of a zone not to.  If they do blitz, they either get to him and win the game, or they don't get to him and he passes to whoever Justin Garrett is attempting to cover for a TD (giving Mizzou enough time to maybe get into FG range). 

One problem: the blitz has sucked all year.  Knowing that apparently you don't have the personnel to blitz successfully, but knowing that calling a blitz is the right call philosophically...what do you do?  Stick with your philosophy and hope it finally pays off, or try something different on the biggest play of the game?

2 - How much did you drink Saturday night?

3 - What % chance does Mizzou have of beating OU this weekend?

4 - Who has bigger juevos huevos: Chase Coffman or Chuck Norris?

5 - Favorite thing you ate last week?

The Beef: 1 - I stick to my guns. The field itself could have been a great equalizer there, as maybe a lineman slips and you get to the QB. It is all your team knows at that point, so I would have blitzed all the same. For me, the blitz was not so much the issue, but it was how the secondary had no communication or scheme of any sort in trying to help one another. It was almost as if the CB’s thought we were in a cover 2 and the S’s thought we were in man or something…no one seemed to have any idea what the other was doing. But, in the end, all credit to kU for recognizing it and going to it as many times as they needed to get the win.

2 - I had a couple of beers Saturday night at a buddy’s house who does great work with home brew, and I think I had a large beer at dinner…but really…that is pretty much par for my course. With a LONG day of driving ahead of me the next day, drinking a lot was just not smart. And I had dealt with the game the minute the TV got turned off. One thing all those other years as a Mizzou fan taught me is that the game ends for me when I leave the stadium…will help me live longer.

3 - Eh…15-20 percent maybe. Clear (right now), but cold could play a factor. I know some Mizzou fans will like to bring up the OU loss in 2003, but none of the players were on that squad, so I don’t think it will play a large role. In the end, we CAN win this game if all three facets of our game click and we get a few turnovers. However, and as Chase D. said this week, all facets clicking has not really happened much this year….

4 - Should we rename him Thrust Juevos Upward or is that just a little too gross?

5 - I am a traditionalist when it comes to this holiday…so for me, it is pies. My mother makes a great pumpkin, apple and chocolate pecan pie…all pretty much from scratch. I can never go wrong with the quartet of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole either…few plates of that and a slice of each pie makes The Beef….well…beefier I guess.

Michael Atchison: 1 - I think you have to try to make a play. When they didn’t hit Reesing, he dissected them. The complete inability to rush the quarterback – with or without a blitz – is the single biggest thing that has caused this team to step back from a year ago.

2 - Had a nice dinner party with friends. Couple of beers. Some wine with dinner. Did I forget to invite all of you?

3 - Mizzou has a 9 percent chance of winning. Nine, as in Jeremy Maclin. Not to put it all on him, but he needs to be huge for this team to win. If the defense would generate three takeaways, that would be good, too.

4 - Chuck’s juevos are crushed by the gravity of Chase’s.

5 - So many, but I’ll go with the coconut cream pie.

rptgwb: 1. No one appreciates the X's and O's of football scheming and philosophy more than I do, but my primary philosophy when it comes to football is this: Put your players in position to make plays. Remember last year when Eberflus drew up his complicated schemes for non-conference and the team couldn't slow a running back named Geno Blow? After the day, Eberflus decided to make the scheme simpler and let his players dictate the outcome rather than the system. That adjustment absolutely turned around the 2007 season, but I feel no such adjustment has been made in 2008.

For all the questioning I did about the Mizzou pass defense after the Illinois game, I'm not sure many of the questions have been answered. I just don't think Eberflus ever found the right balance of aggressiveness and reaction. I personally don't trust the defense's ability to blitz, having seen what I've seen all year, but I'm in no position to make those decisions. I'm nowhere near the "Fire Eberflus" bandwagon, and I'll continue to defend him on the grounds of what he accomplished last year, but I did stand in stunned silence at Arrowhead last weekend as a result of some of the playcalling. A lot of the failures are on individual missed assignments, so I can't blame it all on the DC, but given the repeated failures, he has to find a way to mask the unit's weak links.

2. Nothing. I'm underaged, that would illegal, right? Plus, I was still thawing out from Arrowhead and trying to stay awake for Oklahoma/Oklahoma State.

3. 10 percent chance. I'm no sabermetrician, so I have no way of backing that up.

4. Trick Question. Chase Coffman was spawned from one of Chuck Norris' juevos.

5. My mom's sweet potato soufflé, for the win. A bed of pureed sweet potatoes topped by a layer of what essentially amounts to pralines. I'm just angry I wasn't home long enough to destroy the leftovers.

The Boy: 1.  Leaving aside the obvious concerns with the secondary and focusing purely on blitzing...I'm still baffled by why it hasn't worked this year.  I think the main reason is that we decided to send Willy Mo a lot this year, and that resulted in a lot of problems because a) that's not Moore's strong suit, and b) with Moore out of the defensive backfield, it didn't take opposing QBs as long to find an open receiver.  I don't believe we sent Moore on many blitzes over the last few weeks of the season...but who were we sending?  Christopher?  Lambert?  I can't tell because I never actually saw the blitzing LB get through to the QB.  They just became part of the mess of bodies being blocked by the O-line.  Next year could be interesting, as our blitzing could get better with the addition of Ebner and Gachkar to the LB corps...but our run defense could get worse with the loss of Hood and Christopher.  Not sure what to think about that, answer the actual question I asked (novel concept), I do think you still have to blitz there.

2.  I had a beer in my hand all day at my parents' house, but it wasn't sad, purposeful was just that there's a great wine & spirits store in OKC, and I had a lot to choose from.

3.  13.624% chance.  Take THAT, Atch.  I added decimals!

Honestly, as I'm mentioning today in my BTBS post, Mizzou has a small avenue to success against OU: be efficient on Non-Passing Downs (and therefore stay out of Passing Downs, which is an OU strength), don't turn the ball over, and get at least one big kick return out of Jeremy Maclin.  OU plays only average defense on Non-Passing Downs, and they have inexplicably given up huge kickoff returns all year.  Take advantage of that, keep the game close as long as possible, force a couple turnovers, and hope that OU gets tight...that's the only way.  It's obviously not likely that Mizzou will beat OU (it's hard to say anybody will beat a team that puts up 60+ points every freaking week), but there is at least a possibility.

4.  Thrust juevos upward?  EWWWWWWWWWWWW...

5.  We go with themes for Thanksgiving...this year was an Italian theme.  Lots of pasta and a big roasted chicken.  The best, however, was probably the three desserts--chocolate cake, apple-cranberry pie, and some poundcaky thing that was awesome.

Doug: 1 - I don't know if the blitzing was necessarily to blame. You can't drop 11 guys into coverage, you have to put some kind of rush on the quarterback. Looking at the play again, MU had 6 on the line of scrimmage, brought 5, dropped 1 and had another guy (I'm guess a safety) come on a very delayed blitz. That was the biggest crime. If you're going to blitz, just use the front 7, you know KU is probably going to pass, even with Reesing's ability to run but by bringing the safety, you allow Meier to get behind the secondary again to grab the touchdown.

2 - I had in-laws in town. They did the drinking for me.

3 - God... I said KU had about a 30% chance last week, but I do not give Missouri that much of a chance this week. The biggest deal breaker will be Oklahoma's ability to score at will, something they will find very easy against the MU secondary right now.

4 - I say Chuck Norris... because he does not get "Turf Toe"... Chuck Norris gives the turf... "Norris Toe".

5 - Hmmm... pie. Perhaps the most perfect reason the holidays were invented.

Questions: From Saturday: Great weather for a football game? Or, greatest weather for a football game?

If Missouri loses on Saturday, some on the internets think there's a chance KU could vault the Tigers for the Alamo Bowl. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it? And, if it were to happen, on a scale of 1 to 10... how angry would you be?

The Beef: Some on the internets? Where at? That is the first I have heard about that…and I guess I would score it as a 1 just because that was the scale you gave, but I am sure others will offer lower numbers. You had me at Norris Toe…but lost me with this one.

The Boy: Apparently KU's AD-slash-used-car-salesman is trying to get in the Alamo Bowl's ear.  Ain't gonna work.

Doug: Well to be fair, the only place I've seen it is, but they source it as Jason King, from Yahoo, saying that his sources indicated the Alamo Bowl might drop MU for KU, if the Tigers have a bad game on Saturday.

I don't think it will happen. It would probably take a very poor showing on the part of the Tigers and even then, Nebraska is still sitting there, ahead of KU in the standings, so I don't see how KU would jump to the Alamo.

The Beef: Is that the same Jason King who was the kU beat writer for the kC Star or am I thinking of someone else entirely?

Doug: No, same guy.

rptgwb: Since when does a head-to-head result between MU/KU count during bowl selection?

ZouDave: 1 - You don't freaking blitz a safety, how about that? You know they're going to be looking downfield, so blitz Spoon and Christopher and leave Willy Mo, Jackson, Garrett, Gettis and Vaughns out there to hopefully cover the receivers long enough for the blitzers to get there. Their overriding philosophy isn't necessarily terrible (we've lost very few games over the last 2 years, and fewer of those have strictly been because of the defensive scheme) but I don't understand why we blitzed safeties all year. The misuse of William Moore this season is one of the biggest reasons our defense got worse.

2 - I actually fell asleep on my couch around 5:30pm on Saturday, about 90 minutes after getting back from Arrowhead, and slept until about 9:30pm. Woke up in time to see the end of the massacre in Stillwater. So I didn't drink anything after I left Arrowhead. However, at Arrowhead I managed 4 bloody mary's pregame (not as good as The Beef's, but they were very strong) and then thanks to the guy behind me at the game I had a shot of Yukon Jack with every Missouri score and every kansas turnover.

3 - Maybe 1 chance in 3 on our best day...probably 1 chance in 5 overall. We can win, but it is absolutely unexpected.

4 - Chuck Norris has a Chase Coffman nightlight.

5 - We had a very subdued Thanksgiving because my wife went with her family to Hereford, TX, and my mom went to California so dad and I just stayed at home and improvised. We still ended up with the basics of Thanksgiving, but it was instant potatoes, instant stuffing, etc. It was all fine, just none of the production value we normally get. So I'll have to go with the Tippins French Apple Pie we destroyed for dessert.

I guess I can't say there's "no chance" that the Alamo Bowl would do that, but it isn't going to happen. The BCS debacle last year notwithstanding (which wasn't ku's fault, it was the Orange Bowl's and the BCS' in general), teams that have better seasons get rewarded. The system is setup to make sure of that, with a few minor exceptions.

After last season, people looking from the outside probably would have a hard time deciding for sure which team had a better season between Missouri and kansas. Mizzou won the head-to-head, won the division and won the Cotton Bowl. kansas lost just a single game and won the Orange Bowl.

This year, however, there's simply no disputing which team had the better season. Even with the head-to-head loss, Missouri finished 2 full games ahead of kansas this year. We also averaged about 10,000+ more fans per game, and while stadium size certainly plays are role it's just a simple fact that there ARE more Mizzou football fans which means more opportunity to get them to your bowl game.

There's almost no way this can even be a serious topic, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was just a beat-writer needing something to talk about while his team isn't playing.

The Beef: So to switch subjects…anyone here planning to be at the game on Saturday? I am actually making the trip over during the day and plan to eat at Okie Joes before the game…Z-man….oh god I can taste it now

ZouDave: If anybody wants to buy tickets for me, I'll be happy to join you out there! But December is going to be a REALLY expensive month for me, so unfortunately I had to draw the line at B12 Championship Game tickets. I'm very saddened by this, but it is the responsible thing to do. Can't believe I actually acknowledged that.

An hour later...

Doug: Ummm... you guys do realize this is a pretty sedate Round Table, right?

ZouDave: Don't worry, we'll be a LOT better in the 2nd half.

The Beef:

Michael Atchison: Sorry, been out. Yes, I’ll be at the game. Then planning to make it to Columbia the next day for Mizzou-Cal hoops.

That should revive this thing.

The Beef: Seems I now have the same plan…with stops for Okie Joes and The Diner mixed in at various times

ZouDave: Hoops? What is this "hoops" you speak of? Never heard of it new? Is it a kind of pie? That seemed to be what everyone was focusing on from their Thanksgiving meals. It must be a kind of pie. Mmmmmm, hoops.

Michael Atchison: Hoops is the thing that didn’t break my heart this weekend. You should give it a try.

Actually, this team is fun to watch on both ends of the floor. They play hard, share the ball, drive the lane. It’s like the last ten years never happened.

The Beef: Well…I don’t know that I would go THAT far about the last decade

The Boy: I definitely agree about the "fun" part. I realize we've always looked good against cupcakes under Anderson, so I'm not yet making any judgments about the actual quality of the product on the court, but there's no question that the seven new players have breathed new life into the program. Of course, you need both "new life" and "quality" eventually...Cal will be a nice test.

The Beef: Indeed…and I was not trying to Debbie Downer there…I thought the game last night was fun and nice to see…but like I said earlier in the week in my musings…I expect a home win vs. Cal at this point. Is that too much? Perhaps, but I think we all know I am perhaps expecting more from this team/coach now than others…and I am OK with that.

ZouDave: well some of the last 10 years was pretty enjoyable. I don't want to forget all of it. Kareem Rush and Clarence Gilbert specifically gave me quite a few good memories.

I just haven't found my way to the TV to watch basketball yet this year. I'm sure once I don't have a never-ending supply of football to watch that I will naturally gravitate to basketball, but it just hasn't come up yet.

In other words, my giveashit is still broken.

The Beef:



(As an addendum to the Alamo Bowl conversation here, be sure to read the Dave Matter piece to which The Beef linked below this post.)