1. There haven't been many positives to come out of this season, but one big one has been the emergence of the fantastic freshman duo: Dimetrios Mason and Damarea Crockett. How good do you think these two players can get, and do you think there are any other breakout stars on the current roster that have yet to reveal themselves in a big way?
AlaTiger - They could make an all SEC team. If not first team, certainly second team. Paul Adams is starting to get some notice and could be really good as a senior. Cale Garrett is another possibility.
Chris Bohkay - Obviously #1 and #2 picks in the NFL draft in two years time, I mean clearly...Another breakout start, Nate Brown whose never really gotten healthy, if he can live up to his star rating and hype then him, clearly the #3 pick in that same draft. Man, Mizzou's winning the national championship in a two years, that's exciting!
Jack Peglow - Both young-uns have looked incredibly solid so far, but – negative opinion incoming – that doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be that way forever. I sincerely hope they continue to build upon these wonderful starts they’ve had. I truly do. I’m just not ready to dub them Mizzou’s next superstars. If they do keep up the pace though, they’ll be hard to ignore.
Sam Snelling - I'd say I'm higher on Crockett than Mason, I mean somebody has to have some catches right? But Crockett has everything you could want in a back, so I think he's good to go. As for other breakout guys, I think DeMarkus Acy has a chance to be a special DB. And I do think Cale Garrett will solidify the linebacking core for years to come. I don't know if he's an All SEC type guy, but I think he'll be a reliable solid player at least for the next few years.
dcrockett17 - You could see either or both making an all-conference team. I think a couple of the linemen, Abeln and Adams could do the same.
Josh Matejka - I might be overly optimistic here, but I see Crockett as having the ceiling to be the best back we've seen at Missouri in a long time. As for Mason, he's got the athleticism to be the next Jeremy Maclin. He's obviously not as explosive right out of the gate, but he's also on a worse team. As for others, I'm extremely excited about the young offensive linemen moving forward.
2. Drew Lock has been good, extremely good, very bad, and just fine so far this year. What grade would you give his performance thus far, and how well do you think he'll finish out Mizzou's 2016 campaign?
AlaTiger - C-. Being the incorrigible optimist, I'll say he gets a little better and finishes out with a C.
Bohkay - D is for Drew Lock. He still looks like a work in progress. Bet all the Mizzou fans that dumped on James Franklin for three years who pined for Maty Mauk that entire time wish they had Franklin back...no wait, no they don't. But I do! Get better Drew.
Peglow - Drew has earned himself a solid C thus far. Not terrible. There aren’t many more opportunities to raise that grade, though. Just the final exam against Tennessee. Hope he studies hard, he could maybe bump that C up to a B minus!
Snelling - C- feels right. I don't know what I expected, he's certainly been inconsistent. I could be talked into moving that into the D range but for now I think he's been good enough to feel positive about the future.
dcrockett17 - Not so much a grade, but a "scouting" report...
My priors: I believe turnover-prone QBs reveal themselves early (as do QBs who value ball security). QB skill sets, or at least the elements of skill sets, also reveal themselves early.
+ skill -- his arm provides "easy" power; he can throw for distance or into tight windows with minimal effort
other skills -- navigates the pocket well at times (better than Gabbert, imo); decent athlete for the position
- skill -- field vision/defensive recognition (um, not much); may improve, but we should have seen more improvement this year (the coaches appear to want to keep his throws out of the middle of the field)
- skill -- ball security; he takes the ball into traffic (sometimes it works, like J'Mon Moore vs UGa; mostly it leads to bad picks)
other issues -- lazy technique (mostly footwork); likes to throw off his back foot, so his ball can sail (e.g., pick any of the 2nd half throws he missed vs. UGa) or it can be laughably short (e.g., the game-ending 4th down throw vs MTSU)
To me, the best approach for finishing out the season would be "less is more." I've been critical of Lock, but I very much like him. I just think he'd be better in a run-heavy offense predicated on play action deep passes rather than high-volume. (For what it's worth, Heupel has coached such an offense at Utah State.) To me, far too much has been made about the pace of the offense and too little about the pass-heavy approach--especially since Crockett's emergence. If they continue to use Lock the same way he will look exactly the way he's looked all season.
Matejka - It has to be in the C to C- range. It's obvious he has the goods to be a star, but he's really hit a wall that only an offseason of study and work can fix. Hopefully he can take the big leap next year into the high B range.
3. If you had to pick one area to focus on improving during the last few games of this season, what would that be and why do you think it will yield the most return on investment in 2017?
AlaTiger - Running the ball. With every starter coming back on the line, the run game has the best chance of being the foundation of a successful Mizzou 2017 team. A successful run game means more biting on play fakes and more wide open receivers for Lock to target and fewer chances of poor decisions on his part.
Bohkay - Kicking Field Goals. Those are free points Mizzou's leaving out on the field, so Kickers get out there and finish the season off strong.
Peglow - I would be just so tickled if the defense improved their tackling. It’s sort of important.
Snelling - What's with these actual football questions. I need to be snarky. How about Mizzou not lose to Vandy, that'd be nice. It would be nice if they would not get gashed on defense.
dcrockett17 - It's consolidate the coaching staff in a way that re-establishes the commitment to teaching and development. I actually hope to NOT see a bunch of turnover. No one was griping about these hires when they were made, but this staff meshed together a bunch of people who'd not worked together previously. My totally uninformed impression is that the defensive staff--Odom included--made the mistake of emphasizing "button-pushing" and "scheming" over teaching and development. I believe that this is typical of inexperienced staffs.
Matejka - Coaching, coaching, and also coaching. This is an inexperienced staff that hasn't meshed well this year, yielding disastrous results for a very young team. If these guys can get it together on the sidelines, it'll make a huge difference moving into the offseason.