Video breakdowns return for a second season! But since this is just an FCS (Football Check-cashing Subdivision) team I’ll just do a "lite" version of the breakdown. You can always tell something is going to be quality by its spelling, like "cheez" or "Kum n Go". No really, that’s an actual store. I know I’m telling you what you already know, but on my last visit to Missouri I kept thinking someone was playing a prank on me because I live in San Francisco. But I digress. Clearly from this "lite" report you can expect nothing but the highest quality until I collapse from sleep deprivation and my forehead types the rest of the post.
The critical takeaway from this game is that Murray State is very bad. No wait. That’s not it. It’s that Mizzou looked dominant, just like … last year. Okay, as BillC said, don’t put too much stock in opening games. Especially when the opponents starting DE had to get a permission slip from his middle school teacher to play. Seriously, that guy’s like 190 pounds. Mitch Morse looked like a puppy playing with a Raggedy Ann doll.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t take anything away. From the Ifs and Predictions thread, a few of our questions for the season:
- James Franklin is 2011 James Franklin / James Franklin is better than 2011 James Franklin
- Henry Josey is 2011 Henry Josey
- Offensive line / Defensive lines steps up
- DGB takes two steps forward / DGB makes the Danario Leap
- A youngster surpasses Randy Ponder
- Astral assistance
1. James Franklin is 2011 James Franklin / James Franklin is better than 2011 James Franklin
Truth be told, this has to be the latter. If Franklin is 2011 form, we’ll be fighting for a bowl game late in the year. 2011 Franklin is remembered for his legs, and for showing glimpses of brilliance in his passing game. Heck, give me the same Franklin that plays with the urgency of being down 10 points in the 4th quarter and we’ll win 10 games. But he’s also known for fits of un-confidence and mistakes flowing from mistakes.
We need Franklin to be the guy that can make teams pay with his legs when he has to, but will consistently make teams pay with his arm. I personally like what I saw. Passes largely hit receivers in stride, his release seemed a little quicker and he doesn’t seem to be thinking about where to look next. That’s all easy with no pressure in your face, but Franklin looked as good as he ever has last week. You can only pass the tests you’re given, and he passed well.
Watch in this video the consistency and accuracy of the passes. Almost every one of them is right on the numbers and in stride. He had a string of 4 passes in the second quarter that were a little off, but other than that he was very accurate. He set his feet well on the move, and his release is much faster on the deep balls compared to previous years.
And in this video, he seems to be running a little stronger. The comparision clip (Vandy) was a few games into the year last year and he was banged up. But in the Vandy run (second run) he’s running hard, but his stride is shorter, he’s pumping his upper body more to get momentum and there’s less power in his pushoff. He looks much healthier now. Let's hope he can stay that way.
2. Henry Josey is 2011 Henry Josey
Ok, so we all saw the speed. You’ve seen this clip at least a dozen times, but it’s worth one more. My favorite part is when the safety has an "oh crap" moment and changes his pursuit angle. I haven’t seen someone blow up angles like that since Maclin was running down the sideline.
But the video below is actually more telling. I think it’s undeniable his speed is back. If possible it might even be faster. But I was worried about his cutting. This looks awfully good. That said, I’ve had just one of his 3 knee injuries (patellar tendon). It happened 15 months ago and I can tell you it will always affect me. When I got the X-ray, I was grateful it wasn’t an ACL. Now I kinda wish it was. It's a big time injury and other Mizzou players have returned to good play but never quite the same as they were before. And Josey had two others on top of it. How he even plays flag football I don’t know. Just amazing. That said, I’m tempering my expectations even after what we all saw until we get further into the season.
One final note on Josey. One thing to keep in mind is that Josey is playing in a very different scheme now than in 2011, so even if healthy the outcome could be different. Josey had as good a feel for when to cut upfield with zone blocking as anyone I’ve ever seen, and his open field moves when he got past the first level made him deadly. It will be interesting to see how his instincts serve him in a more traditional blocking scheme.
3. Offensive line / Defensive lines steps up
There's little to be learned here, but I do find it interesting that some of Pinkel's weakest lines are coming right when we're trying to prove we are physical enough for the SEC.
4. DGB takes two steps forward / DGB makes the Danario Leap
He certainly looks like a top recruit now. But aside from that phenomenal catch, I still don't think he's playing like an all SEC receiver. I’m not seeing particularly crisp routes or even him using his high gear that often. This catch is one of the most athletic things I’ve ever seen though. We’ve all seen one handed catches and spinning catches and even spinning one handed catches. When is the last time you saw someone do that and land on his feet to keep running? Damn. But then he follows it up with a route that looks like he’s jogging after a Frisbee in the park. Hard to argue with a 20 yard gain, but I don’t think that’s going to get open against Vandy or Florida.
5. A youngster surpasses Randy Ponder
Man do we ever need some help in the secondary. There seems to be options with speed, but our problem seems to be assignments and guessing where the play is going. I mean, there were certainly a lot of good things, but it’s not like this was Ace Sanders going against us. Let’s hope we can chalk this up to a learning experience, but I get the feeling we’ll see a lot more receivers running wide open against our zone and a lot more 5 yard passes that go for 12.
6. Astral assistance
You know, a lot of things obviously went right in 2007. Most of the tough games were at home. The league was down a bit. But people forget that players just stepped up. Sean Weatherspoon went from Freshman phenom to genuine star. Lorenzo Williams and became NFL caliber and Evander Hood grew up. Carl Gettis, Willy Mo and Pig Brown patrolled the secondary. And that’s just on defense. Everywhere there was a question mark heading into the season, it was answered. For that to happen, all of the "ifs" on the list above would have to be answered. I hate to say it, but it seems pretty unlikely after game one.
I would also say that I wasn’t encouraged by the stalemate of offense vs. defense in camp. Mizzou’s defense quite simply will not be an SEC leading type of defense. It’s great if it’s a good defense, but we’re going to rise in this conference with offense, are particularly a good spread passing game complemented by a running game with big hitter potential. I haven't seen the signs of that yet this year.
But to end on a hopeful note, there seems to be good depth at all the positions where we need improvement, so at least we have competition wi…man, sleepy… competetttttttttttttttttttttttt ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz