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Missouri-Arkansas: A Strong Showing, Beisel Bows Up and High Risk = High Reward

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Boy, did Drew Lock like taking deep shots against Arkansas.

Arkansas v Missouri
Cool Hand Drew-ke. Can we make that happen?
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

If you were familiar with my work at the Columbia Daily Tribune you knew that, as part of my in-season coverage, I endeavored to provide snap counts for every Missouri player for every offensive and defensive snap that counted during the season.

If you were not...well, I just explained what this is in the last graf. You should have paid attention.

Anyway, I pored over the film of the Tigers’ 28-24, come-from-behind, season-closing win over Arkansas to see who Missouri used on offense and defense, how often and in what ways. Then I tried to gather it in a way that wouldn’t bore you too terribly.

Did I fail? Did I succeed? I suppose that’s up for history to decide.

Here we go...

Offense

Quarterback

Drew Lock – 55

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Tailback

Nate Strong -- 32

Ish Witter – 23

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H-Back

Sean Culkin – 20

Kendall Blanton --9

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Tight End

Sean Culkin – 9

Kendall Blanton -- 8

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Wide Receiver

J’Mon Moore – 51

Dimetrios Mason – 39

Johnathon Johnson – 30

Richaud Floyd – 17

Emanuel Hall – 16

Chris Black -- 7

Sean Culkin – 7

Eric Laurent -- 4

Kendall Blanton -- 3

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Line

Paul Adams – 55

Jonah Dubinski -- 55

Tyler Howell – 55

Kevin Pendleton – 55

Adam Ploudre – 55


Defense

End

Charles Harris – 49

Marcell Frazier – 41

Spencer Williams – 12

Jordan Harold -- 6

Nate Howard – 5

Josh Moore -- 2

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Tackle

Rickey Hatley – 64

A.J. Logan – 45

Josh Augusta – 32

Jordan Harold -- 11

Josh Moore – 6

Marcell Frazier -- 4

Charles Harris – 4

Nate Howard -- 4

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Rush End

Marcell Frazier – 24

Charles Harris – 17

Rickey Hatley – 4

A.J. Logan – 4

Josh Moore -- 3

Nate Howard -- 2

Spencer Williams -- 1

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Linebacker

Eric Beisel -- 74

Donavin Newsom – 72

Cale Garrett – 37

Brandon Lee – 24

Joey Burkett – 19

Terez Hall -- 13

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Nickelback

T.J.Warren – 16

John Gibson – 3

Logan Cheadle -- 1

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Cornerback

Aarion Maxey-Penton – 85

John Gibson – 78

Logan Cheadle -- 3

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Safety

Ronnell Perkins – 69

Thomas Wilson -- 49

Cam Hilton – 34

Anthony Sherrils – 18


Heres and Theres

  • Witter held a 15-4 snap advantage over Strong at halftime, then got hurt eight snaps into the second half. From there on out, it was all Strong, all the time. And he had a touch on 17 of his 32 snaps, so he put in work.
  • Also, the fact that Josh Heupel didn’t even consider going to Alex Ross or Ryan Williams to help bolster the troops was pretty indicative of how far ahead of the backfield pack Witter, Strong (and Damarea Crockett) are.
  • Culkin closed out his Missouri career by asserting his diversity of usage, leading all tight ends in backfield, attached and split wide snaps. He had 36 total snaps to Blanton’s 20. Blanton’s going to fill Culkin’s role next year, although he was more often attached than Culkin was throughout the course of the year. It’ll be interesting if that holds in 2017.
  • J’Mon Moore did what he’s been doing all season and played almost every snap. Mason exits the year as a pretty clear “A” to Emanuel Hall’s “B” on the outside, and Floyd continues to be the forgotten man in the slot. He is Johnson’s backup. I don’t care what the depth chart says.
  • For the first time since the West Virginia game, the offensive line stayed intact for every snap. And what a job that line did all year, even with walk-ons and first-time players subbing in down the back stretch.
  • As the offensive line coalesced at the end of the year, the defensive line splintered. Barry Odom and DeMontie Cross played eight different players on the edge and on the interior against Arkansas, basically just taking any healthy body, throwing them in a bunch of different places and seeing what stuck. Harold played inside in both the Cheetah line (which, ehhhh, wasn’t quite as effective as it was against Vanderbilt) and in the course of the regular defense. Moore played inside and outside. Hatley and Logan switched places with Harris and Frazier and stood up on the edge for four snaps in the Nickel, which yielded 3-of-4 passing for 27 yards.
  • None of the exotic looks worked all that well. But, you know, with two (and most likely three) key contributors from that line leaving before next year, it was interesting to see that experimentation in the final game.
  • And you add Terry Beckner and Markell Utsey back in. And Odom/Cross started using Beckner as an end before he went out against Middle Tennessee. So many possibilities.
  • Missouri rode with Beisel and Newsom for most of the game. And, toward the end, it shuttled Beisel outside, moved Garrett inside and eschewed the whole Lee/Beisel, Burkett/Garrett combo it had been using.
  • And, might I say, 10 tackles and pick for Garrett in only 37 snaps is really good work.
  • In the Dime set, it was actually Gibson taking the slot and Cheadle playing outside on three of four snaps. Those, as you’ll see later, didn’t go so well.
  • I don’t know if Hilton was hurt or just shelved toward the end of the game, but he didn’t play the entire fourth quarter in favor of Wilson (and, when Wilson missed two snaps due to injury, it was Sherrils who swooped in). Perkins continued his stranglehold over the other spot. All four of these guys are supposed to be back next year. How will the snaps divvy?
  • Gibson and Maxey-Penton all the time at corner. Man, will Missouri miss these two. They basically locked down those two spots over the final four games. And Maxey-Penton went out on his finest performance as a Tiger, basically causing both of the red zone interceptions.

Offensive Set Success

3-WR/2-RB

Run: 17 for 134 (7.88 avg.), 3 TD

Pass: 6-of-11, 119 yards (10.8 avg.), TD

Sack: 1 for -5

Total: 29 plays, 248 yards (8.55 avg.), 4 TD

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3-WR/1-TE/1-RB

Run: 7 for 13 (1.86 avg.)

Pass: 5-of-8, 104 yards (13.0 avg.)

Total: 15 plays, 117 yards (7.80 avg.)

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4-WR/1-RB

Run: 1 for 3

Pass: 5-of-7, 45 yards (6.43 avg.)

Sack: 1 for -21

Bad Snap: 1 for -5, fumble lost

Total: 10 plays, 22 yards (2.20 avg.), fumble lost

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Corey Fatony Acts, Anthony Sherrils Runs

Run: 1 for 14

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Victory

Kneel: 1 for -2

——-

MU’s 4 Biggest Plays

(Johnathon Johnson 82-yard run, 67-yard catch; J’Mon Moore 49-, 48-yard catch

Yards: 246 (63.9% of total)

MU’s Other 51 Plays (not counting the fake punt)

Yards: 139 (2.73 per)

——-

Drew Lock Passing…

…by Area of the Field

Left

9 yards or fewer: 4-of-6, 21 yards

10-19 yards: 1-of-1, 18 yards

20+ yards: 3-of-6, 164 yards, TD

Total: 8-of-13, 203 yards, TD

Middle

9 yards or fewer: 1-of-1, 3 yards

Right

9 yards or fewer: 5-of-6, 28 yards

10-19 yards: 1-of-2, 9 yards

20+ yards: 1-of-4, 25 yards

Total: 7-of-12, 62 yards

…by Distance

9 yards or fewer: 10-of-13, 52 yards

10-19 yards: 2-of-3, 27 yards

20+ yards: 4-of-10, 189 yards, TD


Defensive Set Success

4-3

Run: 24 for 118 (4.92 avg.), 2 TD

Pass: 10-of-16, 175 yards (10.9 avg.), 2 INT

Total: 40 plays, 293 yards (7.33 avg.), 2 TD, 2 INT

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3-4

Run: 13 for 72 (5.54 avg.)

Pass: 3-of-6, 30 yards (5.00 avg.)

Sack: 2 for -18 (-9.00 avg.)

Total: 21 plays, 84 yards (4.00 avg.)

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Nickel

Run: 1 for 3

Pass: 5-of-9, 59 yards (6.56 avg.)

Sack: 2 for -26 (-13.0 avg.)

Total: 12 plays, 36 yards (3.00 avg.)

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4-4

Run: 3 for -3 (-1.00 avg.)

Pass: 1-of-1, 5 yards, TD

Total: 4 plays, 2 yards (0.50 avg.), TD

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2-front

Run: 1 for 9

Pass: 1-of-3, 20 yards (6.67 avg.)

Total: 4 plays, 29 yards (7.25 avg.)

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Dime

Pass: 4-of-4, 59 yards (14.8 avg.)


  • Missouri was able to get to the Razorbacks by standing up its ends, pinning its ears back and torturing poor, defenseless guards and tackles with speed rushing. Frazier, in particular, had a sumptuous, post-Thanksgiving meal, and 35 percent of his snaps came from the standing position.
  • The base 4-3, as you see, wasn’t that great. Yeah, both turnovers came out of it, but it also gave up both touchdowns and 7.3 yards a play. Stand an end up, though, or sub that extra linebacker for Warren and it produced four sacks in 33 snaps and only 3.6 yards a play. Missouri has had varied success going to a more stealthy look this year and, against a Old Man Football team like Arkansas, you’d expect that to be a vulnerability. It was not.
  • The Cheetah though...four plays, all completions, 59 yards, all third-down conversions from an average of 10 yards to go. Gary Danielson and Brad Nessler kept erroneously crediting plays in which Missouri got a good pass rush/sack to the Cheetah front. It was not the Cheetah front. Against Arkansas, at least, the Cheetah front worked dreadfully.
  • The 4-4 had an interesting wrinkle, with Frazier standing on two of the four snaps. So it was more of a 3-5-3 look. Those two plays netted -4 yards.
  • Allow me to say, again, that Marcell Frazier had a baller game to close out his junior season. Remember at the beginning of the year when he wasn’t a starter? I think he does.
  • Alright. The offense. You look at the base, three-wide sets (we’re not even discussing the four-wide...what an albatross that has become...) and you see 8.6 in the 3-0-2, 7.8 in the 3-1-1. Bumper day all around, right?
  • Well, that’s kind of misleading. Missouri had 7 PERCENT of its plays (four) make up 64 PERCENT of its offense (not counting Fatony’s fabulous acting job, which didn’t come in the offense, after all). All of them came in the three-wide sets. The offense’s other 51 plays averaged 2.7 yards. You take out those four, the three-wide sets averaged 2.98 yards a pop.
  • But, unfortunately for Arkansas, that’s not how football works...
  • Look at Lock’s passing day. Nearly 40 percent of his throws (10 of 26) were downfield shots and he only hit on 40 percent of those. But boy did those hit, going for 18.9 yards an attempt and Johnson’s 67-yard score. What was also important, though, was how efficient he was on shorter routes, hitting 12-of-16 for 79 yards.
  • On a day in which only three of 26 targets went to non-wide receivers, Missouri’s pass game was basically this: curl route or deep ball. And Lock was accurate enough on both to make it work.
  • Not to mention he should’ve been 5-of-10 on home run shots, if not for Emanuel Hall’s drop.