1. Two major results of spring football so far:
A. I'm even more scared than I expected about the offensive line.
B. I'm even more optimistic than I expected about the defense.
[Brandon] Lee said the weakside and middle linebacker spots are basically interchangeable. The strongside spot, inhabited by returning starter Donavin Newsom and sophomore Terez Hall, is the wild card of the group.
If Missouri plans to lean more heavily on 4-3 and 3-4 looks, the role could resemble a typical linebacker mixed with some tendencies of a rush end. If it skews more toward the 4-2-5, the spot could put a premium on pass coverage.
"There are some things that are a little bit different that we have to communicate, but I think the guys have adjusted," Cross said. "We try to equate a lot of the different coverages and concepts and maybe call it different, because for me that’s a little bit easier to call it that way. But the young men have really dedicated themselves this offseason to pick up the new terms and adapt to our new schemes."
"Aggression" has been the watchword this spring, and despite so many tackles for loss last year (and a good havoc rate), there was still room for improvement in that regard. Can't wait to watch this unit. Especially can't wait to watch Newsom, whose breakout was overshadowed by that of Kentrell Brothers last year.
2. Mizzou just cannot beat Vanderbilt in baseball
Baseball is a pretty even sport in which bad teams semi-frequently beat good ones. Whereas in college football, winning two of every three games makes you 8-4 and sends you to the Belk Bowl, winning two of every three in MLB makes you one of the best of all-time.
The talent split is wider in college baseball, but ... still ... Mizzou's now 12-game losing streak to Vanderbilt is pretty incredible. The last four have been particularly impressive.
1. In the final game of last year's series in Nashville, Vandy scored three runs in the eighth to win, 5-2. Not amazing, but a tie game that Mizzou lost control of late.
2. In the game that eliminated Mizzou from the SEC Tournament (and ended any NCAA hopes the Tigers may have had), Mizzou led 6-2 in the seventh, but the Commodores scored two in the seventh, one in the eighth, one in the ninth, and one in the 10th to win, 7-6.
3. On Friday night in Columbia, in front of a nice crowd of 2,398, Mizzou led 6-4 heading into the ninth, but Vandy scored four in the top of the inning and won, 8-6.
4. On Saturday, Tanner Houck pitched nine shutout innings, struck out 14, walked two, and allowed just two hits. It was maybe the best performance of his career. But Mizzou couldn't score either, and a scoreless game went into extra innings ... until Vandy scored two in the 11th and won, 2-0.
That's incredible. Mizzou had two enormous opportunities to put wins on the résumé that would negate a couple of bad non-conference losses. But Vandy magic prevailed again.
3. Softball splits with Alabama
#TeamStubble is in Tuscaloosa to face No. 6 Alabama, and the two teams split a Saturday doubleheader, with the Tigers whomping the Tide in game one and the Tide very much returning the favor in game two.
4. Top 10 for Swimming & Diving
A hell of a season for Greg Rhodenbaugh. His Tigers logged a top-15 finish on the women's side, then earned an individual title, nine individual All-Americans, and a No. 8 finish. Kudos, coach.
5. What do you think?
I was a little bit surprised this was called, honestly, but I thought it was an absolutely legitimate foul to call. Graham was losing control of the ball and took out Tate's leg. I think the rancor calmed down a bit, but right after it happened, you had people on Twitter calling it the worst call in the history of the NCAA Tournament, and ... I'm not sure that's actually in the top 250. I'm biased, sure, but ... he took out the leg!
Of course, this being college basketball, the refs put out a statement that made everything a little more confusing...
Officials statement on play that led to Devonte Graham's 5th foul pic.twitter.com/TTdIfIGi9f— Blair Kerkhoff (@BlairKerkhoff) March 27, 2016
...but ... I still had no problem with this call, and not only because a) it was against Kansas and b) it gave me a second Final Four pick. (My bracket incinerated when Michigan State got beat, but ... if there were a "left side of the bracket only" bracket contest, I'd have killed!)