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Ish Witter is still Missouri's "most consistent and ... most trustworthy" running back

Here are today's Mizzou Links.

Q: What’s the key for your running backs to be ready for run-pass options, to be ready to do what they need to do, regardless of which way the play goes?

Ford: "To be, to me, a great running back is one that can hang on to the football. That’s a crucial part of it. And then you’ve got to be ready to protect the quarterback. There are guys that, if you put them on the field and the quarterback is getting his butt tattooed, it’s usually because running backs" aren’t pass protecting. ... "We stress protections. If you don’t know what you’re doing in protection, you’re probably not going to play here."

Q: Is it fair to say Ish does that the best?

Ford: "Ish is the most consistent and the most trustworthy."

-- The Trib (Blake Toppmeyer): Coaching quotables: Staff discusses challenge of Fournette, trust in Witter and not chasing ghosts

The Trib's Blake Toppmeyer does a nice job of laying out the key takeaways from interview sessions, and the above link is full of interesting tidbits about basically two topics: 1) the role of run-pass options in the Missouri offense and 2) why Ish Witter is playing more than Damarea Crockett. I'll let you read about the former, but as it pertains to the latter, both Josh Heupel and Cornell Ford gave similar answers.

When it comes to carrying the ball further down the field, Crockett has clearly been more effective than Witter. But in the quotes from Heupel and Ford, it's obvious that ball security has held Crockett back, but so has protection in the passing game. And since Drew Lock has barely gotten hit in the last three games, it's fair to say that giving Witter a ton of snaps has probably worked out pretty well. (He hasn't really gotten hit when Crockett is in there either, but you know what I'm saying.)

One surprise I've had regarding Witter: He hasn't gotten the ball much in the passing game yet. I guess part of that is because he's helping to protect Lock, but I think that might be another wrinkle we see in the coming weeks. We haven't seen many base screens at all, and as defenses begin to further adapt to Heupel's Baylorfied offense, that's probably one way we'll see him beginning to counter that.

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