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2011 Missouri Football Preview Bonus: The Evolving Mr. Kemp

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Photo via Bill Carter.
Photo via Bill Carter.

Written by RPT.

In 2009, Wes Kemp was used primarily in deeper routes.  That resulted in a poor catch rate (52.3%) but a dangerous yards-per-target rate (9.5).  In 2010, he was targeted far less on intermediate and deep routes and more toward the line of scrimmage.  He produced some solid results -- a combined 14 catches (on just 17 targets) for 160 yards and two touchdowns against Texas A&M and Oklahoma, plus seven more catches against Iowa -- and was an incredible open-field blocker.

Kemp clearly proved his worth to this team, both in his solid team play and in the locker room.  But as with 2009, Kemp still pulled some disappearing acts.  With Mizzou in need of a big play against Nebraska and Texas A&M, Kemp was, like Jerrell Jackson, nowhere to be found.  He was targeted nine times and caught two passes for 19 yards, dropping a tough-but-catchable third-down pass in the fourth quarter against Tech that could have saved the game.  And in four November games, he caught three passes in nine targets.

With Missouri in possession of two incredible possession receivers -- T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew -- there is a need for more intermediate route runners. Moe has said that Kemp and Jackson were open at times during the season, but with Blaine Gabbert knowing he could fit a pass into a tight window with his hand cannon, he rarely looked past the first couple of options. If James Franklin is more of a "read the defense and go with the truly open guy" passer, then we will get a much better impression, both of what Kemp is capable of and how the coaching staff intends to use him.