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More unknowns than knowns as Missouri's defense prepares for LSU

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Here are today's Mizzou Links.

Missouri players and coaches admitted that it's impossible to simulate playing against Fournette in practice. If you practice against a running back with speed, you are lacking the size. And if you line up against Missouri defensive lineman Josh Augusta ... you are clearly lacking the speed. [...]

What Missouri doesn't know, though, is whether Fournette will play.

He sat out the team's second game of the year, and then ran for 248 yards and two touchdowns in the following two contests against Mississippi State and Auburn, respectively.

He is listed as questionable for Saturday and wasn't seen at practices on Tuesday.

The Missourian: Missouri defense faces toughest test yet against Leonard Fournette — if he plays

Missouri defensive line coach Jackie Shipp took his comparison back another generation.

"I don’t know how old you are," he said, "but when I was growing up in Stillwater in the ’70s, I remember Mizzou had some dang good backs. One named James Wilder."

Wilder was Missouri’s thunderous 225-pound running back on Warren Powers’ best teams and went on to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ career rushing leader.

Post-Dispatch: Mizzou turns focus to LSU's Fournette

Would Orgeron like to make the passing game a bigger part of LSU’s offense?

"We’d like to," he said Wednesday during the Southeastern Conference teleconference.

But …

"We have a lot of ideas," Orgeron said, "but you can't change the system in one week, so the guys are doing the best that they can tweaking some things that we think can be better."

The Trib (Blake Toppmeyer): Opposing view: Orgeron wants to add shades of Miami and USC to LSU offense, but does he have time?

Whether that or any tendency LSU has shown through the season’s first games will hold remains a mystery — and one Mizzou has to manage, but is being careful not to get too enraptured by.

Does it present a massive challenge?

"It does, because you start defending the unknown and you end up defending nothing," Cross said.

Mizzou’s game plan will center on stopping Fournette — or, if he doesn’t play, bottling up sophomore running back Derrius Guice, whose 8.24-yard average per carry actually dwarfs the gimpy Fournette’s 5.76 average this season.

KC Star: LSU’s volatility creates preparation headache for Missouri defense

Prepping for LSU this week is an overthinker's nightmare ... and most coaches are overthinkers. You've got Ed Orgeron out here talking about passing more, but you know you have to still stop Leonard Fournette first. Meanwhile, whether Fournette will play is a complete mystery.

The good news, as it were, is that Guice has been LSU's second-most effective option -- most effective, actually -- and while he's not Fournette's size, he's still a 212-pound mixture of size and speed. (He looks bigger than 212, too.) So even if Fournette doesn't play, your prep work won't completely be for naught.

More good-ish news: LSU is much better at running than throwing, or has been so far. If LSU is throwing more, it might be hard to prepare for, but it also plays away from the team's actual strengths.

First quarter's going to be very interesting on Saturday. (Okay, yes, all four quarters will be, but you know what I'm saying.)

Mizzou Tigers pennant 1 day to LSU

MUtigers.com: Mizzou Fan Primer: at LSU
Post-Dispatch (BenFred): Mizzou and LSU, by the numbers

We're going to hear a lot about Ed O on Saturday's broadcast

The Trib: Orgeron gets second chance with LSU after quitting on Tigers as a player

You'll take your chances with the LSU passing game...

...but there's definitely some athleticism there.

KC Star: Missouri secondary prepares for 'big' test from LSU receivers

"Recognizes the nation’s premier scholar athlete"

MUtigers.com: @MizzouFootball’s Culkin Named William V. Campbell Trophy Semifinalist

Mizzou Tigers pennant A strange situation

The Trib: Former SDSU women's hoops coach, fired by Sterk, wins $3.36 million judgment

KC Star: Beth Burns, former SDSU women's basketball coach fired by new Mizzou A.D. Jim Sterk, awarded $3.36 million in lawsuit

We haven't posted much about this lawsuit, filed by SDSU's former women's basketball coach, but it's kind of odd. From what I had read, I'm surprised she won the judgment, but ... I didn't read just a ton on it.

Brilliant analysis here, I realize.

Mizzou Tigers pennant Another big soccer battle tonight

MUtigers.com: @MizzouSoccer Set for Meeting vs. #20 Auburn

Mizzou Tigers pennant A pretty successful transfer, it appears

The Missourian: Injury, friend's memory lead Melanie Crow to Missouri