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Missouri-Auburn: Pre-snap motioning, finding healthy tackles, and snaps for greenhorns

Missouri’s base defense hemorrhages yards, while the four-wideout set can’t gain a foothold

Auburn v Missouri
Johnathon Johnson had to lead Missouri in total miles run against Auburn, what with all the pre-snap motioning the Tigers had him do.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

If you followed along with my work in this space last year, you know that 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’ 51-14 loss to Auburn 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.

On we go with Year 2 of ... Snap Chats...


  • The offensive wrinkle this week was Missouri’s extensive use of motion. The Tigers deployed pre-snap motion on 34.8 percent of plays (24 of 69...Corey Fatony’s fake punt not withstanding...) and gained 5.13 yards per, or slightly better than their 4.88 offensive average overall.
  • On these plays, Missouri ran 11 times for 80 yards and completed 8-of-12 passes for 52 yards. The motion mainly took one of two forms: the slot receiver motioning through the backfield or the tight end motioning from split wide to the end of the line, set back slightly. The most successful run plays happened when Johnathon Johnson motioned through the backfield at the snap, getting Auburn to think wide, then hitting it up the middle with the run. The pass plays tried to get it to the playmakers quickly and get them wide, though that didn’t work well at all.
  • The most successful motion pass play was a 22-yarder to Albert Okwuegbunam, when he motioned to the backfield, then slipped out into an open crease and hauled in a pass. Might be something to consider going forward. Threatening the perimeter with a speedster motioning through, then hitting defenses up in the middle.
  • After considering Barry Odom’s “2.5 healthy defensive tackles” statement and rewatching the game, seems like Akial Byers and Kobie Whiteside were the healthy ones and Terry Beckner was the 0.5. He hobbled off the field after an Auburn third-down conversion on the last drive, but did come back for the last two plays.
  • Markell Utsey didn’t play in the fourth quarter, and Rashad Brandon didn’t play after Kerryon Johnson’s (second) 1-yard touchdown run at the 10:35 mark of the third quarter.
  • Missouri’s top three tackle pairings — Beckner and Utsey, Beckner and Whiteside, Utsey and Whiteside — gave up 8.78 yards a play (360 yards on 41 plays). Not ideal. Whiteside and Byers had the most success of any pairing (8 yards on 10 plays) but did so mostly in garbage time. You know. When Auburn kind of stopped trying.
  • The three-wideout, H-back set had a pretty good time of it (5.20 yards a play) against Auburn, though the pass game was safe and short. The four-wideout set was a bit of a mess, allowing two sacks on 17 dropbacks, gaining only 3.61 yards a play and coughing the ball up three times in 23 plays.
  • We did see two new looks from the Tigers against Auburn. First, the first open set of the season. And Drew Lock made like 2012 James Franklin and ran a QB keeper out of it, gaining 5 yards and nearly losing his head. The second had both Richaud Floyd and Kendall Blanton in the backfield as H-backs, and it led to the 25-yard touchdown pass to J’Mon Moore on that sweet little post-flagish route he ran.
  • Missouri also showed that 2-0-3 look earlier, but motioned Johnson out of it before the snap. That ended in a 10-yard pass, also to Moore.
  • The main Kaleb Prewett Nickel look was awful against the pass, giving up 11-of-12 completions for 189 yards. the Nickel gave up 7.35 yards a play and five touchdowns total over 49 plays, with a sack and a kneel thrown in. Kind of like I said in this space last week, maybe if Prewett isn’t giving you the type of transformative play you need at that spot, it might be time to start working actual linebackers onto the field more.
  • Yes, I realize this is diametrically opposed to what I was saying before the season. People change, you know?
  • This was the first week we’ve seen some more extensive specialization in the tight ends. Blanton (83.3 percent) and Okwuegbunam (71.4) both saw the vast majority of their snaps attached to the line or in the backfield. Jason Reese (82.4 percent) saw the vast majority of his split wide. In fact, Josh Heupel would sub Reese in on series that weren’t his on third-and-longs, just to put him wide. Methinks that’s interesting.
  • By the way, this week in drop watch: six total receiver drops that cost at least 24 yards...and one interception. Reese had two, and Damarea Crockett, Johnson, Okwuegbunam and Rountree each had one.
  • This week was kind of a mirror reversal of last week on the left side of the line, with Tyler Howell and Kevin Pendleton regaining the majority of the snaps after taking backseats last week. Pendleton started, went out after two plays with a minor injury, then came back in and never left. Yasir Durant started, then left on the last play of the fourth drive and never returned.
  • Tre Williams and Byers both saw more than 10 percent of the snaps on the line this week, which could bode well for adding a little bit of depth in that group going forward.
  • It’s also kind of interesting to see that Missouri’s defense uses Jordan Harold and Nate Anderson more as stand-up rush ends (30.8 percent of snaps) than Marcell Frazier and Chris Turner (13.5 percent). I wonder if that’s a reflection of respective skill sets, or just the whole hands in the dirt on the strong side, two-point stance on the weak side thing.
  • Cale Garrett and Eric Beisel split middle linebacker snaps this week, but most of Beisel’s snaps came late in the game. Garrett didn’t play after the 13:24 mark of the fourth quarter.
  • Auburn was also a good opportunity for Joshuah Bledsoe, Tavon Ross, Adam Sparks and Jerod Alton to get their feet wet a little more. See, blowouts aren’t all bad!
  • Still no Jordan Ulmer, though. Somebody put out an APB.

Missouri Offense Uses Pre-Snap Motion
Run: 11 for 80 (7.27 avg.), fumble lost
Pass: 8-of-12, 52 yards (4.33 avg.)
Sack: 1 for -9, fumble lost
Total: 24 plays, 123 yards (5.13 avg.), 2 fumbles lost

Missouri Defensive Tackle Pairings
Terry Beckner and Markell Utsey: 19 for 168 (8.84 per), 2 TD
Beckner and Kobie Whiteside: 14 for 109 (7.79 per), 2 TD
Whiteside and Akial Byers: 10 for 8 (0.80 per)
Utsey and Whiteside: 8 for 83 (10.4 per)
Utsey and Rashad Brandon: 6 for 36 (6.00 per), TD
Beckner and Brandon: 6 for 27 (4.50 per), TD
Beckner: 5 for 32 (6.40 per)
Whiteside and Brandon: 4 for 15 (3.75 per)
Beckner and Byers: 2 for 4 (2.00 per)

Offensive Set Success

Run: 18 for 105 (5.83 avg.), fumble lost
Pass: 11-of-17, 77 yards (4.53 avg.)
Total: 35 plays, 182 yards (5.20 avg.), fumble lost

Run: 6 for 15 (2.50 avg.)
Pass: 8-of-15, 85 yards (5.67 avg.), INT
Sack: 2 for -17 (-8.50 avg.), 2 fumbles lost
Total: 23 plays, 83 yards (3.61 avg.), INT, 2 fumbles lost

Run: 3 for 13 (4.33 avg.)
Pass: 3-of-6, 29 yards (4.83 avg.), TD
Total: 9 plays, 42 yards (4.67 avg.), TD

Pass: 1-of-1, 25 yards, TD

Run: 1 for 5

Run: 1 for 3


Defensive Set Success

Run: 35 for 183 (5.23 avg.), 4 TD
Pass: 11-of-12, 189 yards (15.8 avg.), TD
Sack: 1 for -11
Kneel: 1 for -1
Total: 49 plays, 360 yards (7.35 avg.), 5 TD

Run: 9 for 63 (7.00 avg.)
Pass: 2-of-3, 3 yards (1.00 avg.)
Total: 12 plays, 66 yards (5.50 avg.)

Run: 6 for 17 (2.83 avg.), TD
Pass: 1-of-2, 7 yards (3.50 avg.)
Total: 8 plays, 24 yards (3.00 avg.), TD

Run: 1 for 12
Pass: 2-of-4, 20 yards (5.00 avg.)
Total: 5 plays, 32 yards (6.40 avg.)


Drew Lock — 69

Running Back
Ish Witter35
Damarea Crockett — 24
Larry Rountree — 9

Kendall Blanton18
Albert Okwuegbunam — 16
Jason Reese — 2
Richaud Floyd -- 1

J’Mon Moore — 61
Dimetrios Mason — 45
Johnathon Johnson44
Richaud Floyd -- 24
Emanuel Hall — 20
Jason Reese — 14
Dominic Collins — 8
Albert Okwuegbunam — 8
Nate Brown4
Kendall Blanton — 2
Damarea Crockett — 1

Tight End
Kendall Blanton — 4
Albert Okwuegbunam — 4
Jason Reese — 1

Paul Adams69
Tre’Vour Simms — 69
Trystan Castillo — 68
Kevin Pendleton — 47
Tyler Howell — 46
Yasir Durant — 23
Adam Ploudre22
Jonah Dubinski — 1


Marcell Frazier — 42
Jordan Harold — 35
Chris Turner22
Nate Anderson — 10
Tre Williams — 8

Terry Beckner — 46
Kobie Whiteside — 36
Markell Utsey — 33
Rashad Brandon — 16
Akial Byers — 12

Rush End
Jordan Harold — 16
Marcell Frazier — 9
Nate Anderson — 4
Chris Turner1
Tre Williams — 1

Terez Hall — 58
Eric Beisel37
Cale Garrett — 37
Brandon Lee20
Joey Burkett -- 16

Kaleb Prewett — 39
Joshuah Bledsoe — 5
Cam Hilton — 5
Tavon Ross — 5
Anthony Sherrils5

Logan Cheadle64
DeMarkus Acy55
Adam Sparks — 19
Jerod Alton — 10

Thomas Wilson50
Anthony Sherrils — 40
Ronnell Perkins — 34
Cam Hilton — 24