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Missouri-Idaho: Third-down scheming, long-ball throwing and D-Tackle swapping

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The Tigers showed the Vandals’ offense six different faces on third and fourth downs.

Idaho v Missouri
Announcers can actually pronounce Albert Okwuegbunam’s last name now. That’s how you can tell his stock is definitely on the rise.
Photo by Ed Zurga/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’ 68-21 win over Idaho 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...


Third Down Defense Adjustments

  • Barry Odom says he and the defensive staff spent 48 hours coming up with something different to do on third downs after the team’s 13-of-18 debacle against Georgia. The Tigers tried a lot — six different looks, to be exact — against Idaho on third and fourth down, and most of it worked.
  • The most plentiful set was the Dime with four defensive linemen (Marcell Frazier, Chris Turner, Terry Beckner and Tre Williams), one linebacker (Terez Hall), two nickelbacks (Joshuah Bledsoe and Cam Hilton) and corners Adam Sparks and Logan Cheadle and safeties Anthony Sherrils and Kaleb Prewett in the secondary. In this set, the Tigers ran one of the ends -- either Frazier or Turner — inside with Beckner.
  • This set showed up eight times — 5 times with Frazier standing as a rush end and 3 times with both ends’ hands in the turf. The Vandals converted on only two of those occasions, both of them against the Frazier standing look. So 2-of-5 against that look, 0-of-3 against the other and 2-of-8 overall. Not bad.
  • The Tigers also showed up in a three-front Dime with Hall and Cale Garrett as linebackers three times. and gave up one conversion: the 8-yard touchdown pass to end Idaho’s nine-minute drive in the first half.
  • Eight other times, Missouri just stuck with whatever base defense it was running that drive (the 4-3 or Nickel) on third down and gave up 50 percent conversions on those: 1-of-5 against the Nickel, 3-of-3 against the 4-3.
  • The most intriguing wrinkle was a version of the Hall/Garrett 3-2-6 in which Beckner was the only down lineman, Williams and Frazier stood at the line, and the Tigers brought seven up to the line — Frazier, Beckner, Williams, Hall, Garrett, Bledsoe and Hilton — and rushed four. That yielded a 4-yard pass on 3rd-and-5.
  • Hilton also scored a sack from that “seven guys on the line” look out of the regular 3-2-6 look the drive before.

Offensive Adjustments

  • In opposition to Drew Lock’s last huge pass game against an over-matched opponent (Missouri State), the Tigers got most of their pass yards through the air against the Vandals. Missouri got 170 of its 475 pass yards after the catch against Idaho, or 35.8 percent. The Tigers got 60 percent of their yards after the catch against Missouri State.
  • So, as the season progresses, Lock is gunning more and doing those little screens where the announcer always makes sure to point out “YOU KNOW THAT’S REALLY JUST AN EXTENSION OF THEIR RUN GAME” less.
  • J’Mon Moore did pick up 77 of his 174 after the catch, though. Not so bad.
  • In set news, the Tigers ran 70 percent of their offensive plays out of the three-wide/H-back look and gained 12.7 yards a play. Nothing fancy, but devastatingly effective.
  • We saw a new look in the 2-2-1, with Kendall Blanton and Alec Abeln both lining up as tight ends on one side of the line. In this case, it was a “we’re running out the clock” set, basically. But might be interesting to look for in the future.
  • The first play, according to Dave Matter’s game notebook, was a love letter from Odom to Don Faurot, with Ish Witter, Blanton and Abeln serving up some Shotgun Wing-T. Too bad Lock launched the ball into triple coverage for an interception, though...
  • Nothing too noteworthy on defense. All of the sets looked good against a team that just wasn’t as talented as Missouri. The Dime, though, looked especially good coaxing four sacks 12 pass plays (33.3 percent). Lack of pass rush on third-down/long-yardage situations has been a severe deficiency for the Tigers this year.
  • In the absence of Damarea Crockett, the Witter/Larry Rountree reps were almost even. When the Tigers’ offense was still trying, though — i.e., when Lock was in -- Witter held the rep advantage 30-20.
  • Albert Okwuegbunam continues to assert more control over the tight end slot, with Jason Reese and Kendall Blanton fighting for backup reps. In the Lock plays, Okwuegbunam had 37 snaps, Reese nine and Blanton four.
  • Speaking of the tight ends for a second, I watched those four tight-end seam plays that Missouri ran to see how Idaho was so deficient at covering them. Missouri completed 3-of-4 on those plays for 99 yards and two touchdowns. On the first one, both linebackers bit up on the play fake and Okwuegbunam was all alone for a score. The second, both did it again, but one grabbed him as he went by. Wasn’t enough to give the safety enough time to get over. Touchdown.
  • The third, with Reese, looked the same as the second. Two linebackers cheat up, one paws him as he goes by, and Reese is all alone. Lock overthrew him this time, though.
  • The fourth, Blanton’s 62-yard gain, was a carbon copy. Both linebackers cheat up. One grabs at him. Blanton runs right by.
  • Which begs the question...why the heck didn’t Idaho try anything different?
  • OK, moving on to the line. At this point, Yasir Durant/Kevin Pendleton and Tyler Howell/Adam Ploudre look to be package deals on the left side of the line. In the 11 Lock drives, Durant/Pendleton got about 6.5 drives and Howell/Ploudre got 4.5.
  • Far as I can tell, Missouri efforted with most of its first team for 56 of its 74 defensive snaps. In that time, Frazier had about a 85-15 rep advantage on one side of the line, while Jordan Harold and Williams split their reps about 50-50 on the other side. Williams is getting more run, undoubtedly. Another interesting thing to watch as the season winds down.
  • How did A.J. Logan’s return impact defensive tackle snaps? Well, for one thing TEN DIFFERENT PLAYERS took snaps on the interior of the Tigers’ line, including eight tackles by trade. In those 56 snaps I mentioned earlier, Beckner got 38, Logan got 22, Kobie Whiteside got 19, Rashad Brandon got 13, Markell Utsey got eight and Walter Palmore got five.
  • So, for this game at least, the pecking order is: Beckner, then Logan and Whiteside in a 1A/1B situation, then Brandon, then Utsey/Palmore.
  • Hilton has returned. And he logged a sack and a PBU in 14 snaps. His way forward for the moment appears to be jockeying with Bledsoe for Nickel/Dime snaps.
  • Again, in Matter’s notebook, it says that DeMarkus Acy was still dealing with the trucking he took against Georgia. So Adam Sparks played the whole game and Logan Cheadle played all the meaningful snaps. Where was Jerod Alton?
  • Sherrils’ return — and Prewett’s continued use on the back end — left not that many snaps for Thomas Wilson and Ronnell Perkins — who, not so long ago, seemed like the Tigers’ top two options here.
  • You know how the Tigers’ safety spot has been the last two years, though. If you don’t like it, just wait a week. Or a drive. Or a play. And this is the team that used to be able to just stick Braylon Webb, Ian Simon (or even Matt White) back there and kind of forget about them. That sort of stability would be nice right about now.

Missouri Defense 3rd/4th-Down Looks

Nickel
Yards to Get: 11
Yards Gained: 6
Tries: 5
Conversions: 1
Pct: 20.0

Dime (3-front, Rush End, Interior End)
Yards to Get: 46
Yards Gained: 42
Tries: 5
Conversions: 2
Pct: 40.0

Dime (4-front, Interior End)
Yards to Get: 47
Yards Gained: 3
Tries: 3
Conversions: 0
Pct: 0.00

Dime (3-front)
Yards to Get: 28
Yards Gained: -1
Tries: 3
Conversions: 1 (TD)
Pct: 33.3

4-3
Yards to Get: 18
Yards Gained: 32
Tries: 3
Conversions: 3
Pct: 100.0

Dime (1-front, Two Rush Ends)
Yards to Get: 5
Yards Gained: 4
Tries: 1
Conversions: 0
Pct: 0.00

Totals
Yards to Get: 155 (7.75 per)
Yards Gained: 86 (4.30 per)
Tries: 20
Conversions: 7 (TD)
Pct: 35.0


Missouri Receiver YAC
J’Mon Moore: 11 for 77
Albert Okwuegbunam: 4 for 5
Emanuel Hall: 3 for 17
Nate Brown: 2 for 8
Kendall Blanton: 1 for 47
Dominic Collins: 1 for 13
Richaud Floyd: 1 for 2
Johnathon Johnson: 1 for 1
Total: 24 for 170 (7.08 avg.)
% of Pass Yards: 35.8


Offensive Set Success

3-WR/2-RB
Run: 19 for 178 (9.37 avg.)
Pass: 18-of-26, 395 yards (15.2 avg.), 4 TD
Total: 45 plays, 573 yards (12.7 avg.), 4 TD

4-WR/1-RB
Pass: 5-of-6, 77 yards (12.8 avg.), 2 TD
Sack: 1 for -6
Total: 7 plays, 71 yards (10.1 avg.), 2 TD

3-WR/1-TE/1-RB
Run: 6 for 6 (1.00 avg.), 2 TD
Pass: 1-of-1, 3 yards
Total: 7 plays, 9 yards (1.29 avg.), 2 TD

2-WR/2-TE/1-RB
Run: 3 for 7 (2.33 avg.)

2-WR/1-TE/2-RB
Pass: 0-of-1, INT

Victory
Kneel: 1 for -2

—————

Defensive Set Success

4-3
Run: 22 for 79 (3.59 avg.)
Pass: 6-of-9, 48 yards (5.33 avg.), TD
Total: 31 plays, 127 yards (4.10 avg.), TD

Nickel
Run: 6 for 12 (2.00 avg.)
Pass: 5-of-11, 68 yards (6.18 avg.), TD
Sack: 1 for -2
Total: 18 plays, 78 yards (4.33 avg.), TD

Dime
Run: 2 for 5 (2.50 avg.)
Pass: 5-of-8, 57 yards (7.13 avg.), TD
Sack: 4 for -21 (-5.25 avg.)
Total: 14 plays, 41 yards (2.93 avg.), TD

3-4
Run: 3 for 8 (2.67 avg.)
Pass: 6-of-8, 26 yards (3.25 avg.)
Total: 11 plays, 34 yards (3.09 avg.)


Offense

Quarterback
Drew Lock — 50
Micah Wilson14

Running Back
Ish Witter — 30
Larry Rountree -- 28
Dawson Downing — 6

H-Back
Albert Okwuegbunam -- 28
Kendall Blanton — 9
Jason Reese — 8
Alec Abeln -- 1

Tight End
Kendall Blanton — 9
Alec Abeln — 4
Albert Okwuegbunam — 3

Wide Receiver
J’Mon Moore — 39
Emanuel Hall — 37
Johnathon Johnson34
Nate Brown — 26
Dominic Collins — 20
Richaud Floyd — 16
Steven Spadarotto — 11
Albert Okwuegbunam — 6
Daniel Ellinger — 4
Jason Reese — 1

Line
Paul Adams -- 50
Trystan Castillo — 50
Tre’Vour Simms — 50
Tyler Howell — 34
Adam Ploudre — 33
Kevin Pendleton — 30
Yasir Durant — 29
Samson Bailey — 14
Jonah Dubinski — 14
AJ Harris — 14
Thomas Grossman — 1
Kyle Mitchell1


Defense

End
Marcell Frazier — 35
Tre Williams — 25
Jordan Harold — 23
Nate Anderson — 21
Chris Turner -- 14
Franklin Agbasimere -- 11

Tackle
Terry Beckner — 38
A.J. Logan — 22
Kobie Whiteside -- 19
Markell Utsey — 16
Rashad Brandon — 13
Walter Palmore -- 12
Akial Byers -- 10
Chris Turner — 6
Marcell Frazier — 4
Tyrell Jacobs — 4

Rush End
Marcell Frazier — 8
Jordan Harold — 5
Tre Williams — 3
Nate Anderson — 2
Franklin Agbasimere — 1

Linebacker
Terez Hall — 47
Brandon Lee42
Cale Garrett — 39
Eric Beisel25
Joey Burkett -- 20
Jamal Brooks — 7

Nickelback
Joshuah Bledsoe — 20
Cam Hilton -- 14
Tavon Ross12

Cornerback
Adam Sparks — 74
Logan Cheadle -- 62
Finis Stribling — 12

Safety
Kaleb Prewett — 51
Anthony Sherrils — 42
Thomas Wilson -- 20
Ronnell Perkins — 14
Jordan Ulmer -- 12
Anthony Hines9