To piggyback off of rptgwb's comments yesterday, I thought I'd share my own B&G Game thoughts...and a few links...
Quick version: No injuries + record attendance = success.
Long version: I'm not going to go into too much depth regarding what was basically the first half of a large scrimmage...
Chase Daniel was Chase Daniel. He made one mistake (apparently just about his first mistake of the spring) in underthrowing the long sideline pass that Hardy Ricks picked off. Otherwise, he was pretty much boringly efficient. Chase Patton? Considering he was going against the #1 defense and being protected by the #2 offensive line, he looked strong too. Somebody on PowerMizzou suggested he would have a shot at the pros with all the physical tools at his disposal. I disagree with that, but he's done just enough over the last 12 months for me to say that Blaine Gabbert should redshirt. I just don't see any way that Gabbert could come in in August and immediately outplay Patton to the extent that we'd be better served in '08 with Gabbert over Patton if (god forbid) Daniel were to go down.
Oh, and Dom Grooms looked solid. I'm not going to draw any deeper a conclusion than that, but he looked alright.
I didn't get a huge look at De'Vion Moore, which was disappointing, but...yeah, the combo of Jimmy Jackson and Derrick Washington (Dermy Washingjack?) is going to be just fine this season. WOW, did Washington look impressive on that TD run. His biggest problem last year seemed to be mental overload--he fumbled on his first ever carry because of nerves, and then he fumbled on his only carry in the Cotton Bowl, likely due to the same cause--which, ahem, makes me think we should not give him his first ever start against Illinois (let's not risk it in a big game!). But when he's comfortable in his surroundings, he looks electric. Jackson, on the other hand, looks exactly like he did last year. And that's fine by me.
So I was getting a Coke some time during the first half, and I stopped by the restroom...and heard an overstimulated little kid asking his dad a question a second...while it was relatively effective birth control, it was also relatively entertaining. "Dad?" "Yes, son?" "Is Jimmy Jackson fast?" "Pretty fast, yeah." "Is he the fastest guy on the team? "No, that's Jeremy Maclin." "Is Maclin fast?" "Yes." "Is he faster than you?" "Probably so, son." "Does that mean he's really fast?" "Very fast, son."
Oh yeah, and Jared Perry looked good. And while La'Roderick Thomas didn't rip off any huge gains or anything, he looked like a WR...which is a compliment considering he's been a WR for only a couple months I guess.
The only thing I noticed about the first string OL was that a couple of snaps were slightly off, but Daniel still caught them and executed the play, so I guess that's not a big deal. Honestly, that's all I've got. The second string OL is shaky, but that's why they're second string.
I'm enough of a nerd that I was hoping mutigers.com would have the play-by-play of the scrimmage so I could see how many of Michael Keck's tied-for-second-on-the-team-in-tackles tackles were of the 'successful play' type. I never actually noticed him making tackles, but he made nine of them...so there's that. And Chavis and Ziggy both had TFL's. But uhh...other than that, I didn't really notice anything there.
Luke Lambert confirmed for me that if Van Alexander's not ready to roll when the season begins, we'll be just fine. Of course, we'll still possibly have walk-ons for backups if that's the case, and that's not a happy scenario (though The Beef says Jeff Gettys at least looks the part...so we've got THAT going for us...which is nice). And yes...you could have convinced me that 'Spoon wasn't really hurt, and the torn labrum story was fabricated. He looked just fine.
Good to see Hardy Ricks picking off Daniel, though it was a relatively easy play for a safety to make. Either way, we've got SICK depth at DB. We've got three starter-level CBs (Gettis, Bridges, Hobson...plus maybe a fourth in Rutland) and options at safety. Moore was obviously out, but the two-headed Deltin Garward monster (Del Howard, Justin Garrett) appears to be three-headed with Ricks in the mix (Delty Garwarcks?). That relieves some pressure on Gilbert Moye--he doesn't have to be great this year, he just has to continue to learn the position so that he's great in '09.
So wait a second...we went from having a kicker who's cyborg-level automatic on PATs and any FG under 45 yards, to one who crushes 50+ yard FGs like Mason Crosby and misses PATs? Not sure how to comprehend that. Oh, and I'm not at ALL comfortable with our punters. But hey...at least we looked great on kick returns!
And now, links...
We'll start with Friday's front-page-of-ESPN's-cfb-page Daniel/Mizzou article. I see one of the 'conventional wisdom' points that people will use to justify ranking the 'normal' highly ranked teams over us this fall: the O-line lost a couple of key cogs. While that's more-or-less true, the conventional wisdom needs a little more, uhh, wisdom.
The Tigers also lose two stalwarts on their offensive line with the departure of left tackle Tyler Luellen and center Adam Spieker, and lose key reserves Monte Wyrick and Chris Tipton.
Now that's just lazy. At least ask somebody whether the loss of (WALK-ON) Chris Tipton is 'key' or not. Spieker? Key. Luellen? Key. Wyrick? Well...relatively key, though Madison outplayed him last year. Tipton? Not key. No offense to Chris Tipton--I respect that he stuck it out as a walk-on in the program for those years--but you can't just look at a depth chart from a random point last year and decide that he was key because he was on it. Anyhoo...
ESPN: You can't embed ESPN videos yet (will be lovely when you can), but here's their highlight package.
There won’t be many, if any, teams in the nation that will enter next season with fewer "ifs" than Missouri. Ten starters return from the defense that neutered Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. The key losses on offense came at positions with good depth.
When asked if he leaves this spring with fewer question marks than ever before at Missouri, Pinkel, who is entering his eighth season, had to work his way down the depth chart before coming up with any serious worries.
"We’re talented, but we’re really young in a lot of areas," he said. "Like our whole second-team defensive line and our whole second-team offensive line are almost all redshirt freshmen. So we’ve got to make a lot of progress there. But, overall, with starters, yes," there aren’t many questions, "except for the offensive line. We’re still tweaking that a little bit. There’s a lot more things in place right now, at least from a starter standpoint. That’s encouraging."
From the Missourian: Last year's senior players see more ahead for MU football team.
Seniors on Missouri’s Cotton Bowl winning team received gaudy diamond and gold encrusted rings at halftime.
"Is that special looking?" MU coach Gary Pinkel said, flashing the heavy bling on his finger. "I’m not going to wear it after today."
"We’re going to get a bigger one next year," Pinkel said.