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Pregamin’ Florida

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HALLOWEEN HAS PASSED AND MIZZOU AIN’T DEAD, Y’ALL

Crikey! She’s a beaut!

Gameday Schedule:

Another week, another dope hype video:

So Fresh and So Clean, Clean:

What the “experts” are saying:

1. Mizzou has a win streak. In this season. Who knew? What - if anything - did you see in last week's win that encouraged you this team is figuring things out?

jaeger - To be fair, I didn't actually see the game this week. I was at a conference and couldn't get away to watch. But based on commentary and highlights, it was encouraging to see that the defense seemingly has continued trending upward (welcome back, AJ and TJ!) and that the run game was established and fairly effective against a competent UConn front seven. I think this team might be figuring things out in terms of looking like a bowl team, which is an improvement, but we're still a long way from hitting where we should be talent-wise. I do feel a lot more optimistic about the next four weeks, though.

switzy227 - Just like last week, defense. My faith in the offense is on steady enough ground. Seeing the D cause disruption and get some good stops is really nice, though.

Chris Bohkay - Saw some solid D, a continued strong showing by the offense and nothing that really caused any blood boiling, so all good and a road win to boot!

dcrockett17 - The offensive and defensive lines really had their way with an inferior (but not hopelessly overmatched) opponent. They did exactly what we should have expected them to do. In many ways their performance affirmed what we saw from the offensive line versus Kentucky and much of the Georgia game. On the defensive line, what we are seeing is how having one more quality guy (Logan) is starting to open things up for everyone. Now that he doesn't need to do everything, Beckner is beasting. That front four did as fine a job creating consistent pressure--if not quite "havoc"--as we've seen in a couple years.

Mitch Hill - Obviously the offense scoring a lot was a nice development, but I think the play of the defense is what is most promising.The D Line is starting to click and that will be key in this final stretch of games IF Mizzou hopes to get to 6 wins.

AlaTiger - The defense was positionally sound enough that bend don’t break worked. Eventually the Huskies made mistakes.

Josh Matejka - I know, I know. It’s only been Idaho and UConn. But you can’t kill my optimism for seeing a defense that finally looks functional.

2. There's been a lot of talk lately about Drew Lock's play over the past month. Hell, Bill even wrote about his October numbers. But what about you? Are you convinced Lock has finally turned a developmental corner?

jaeger - The biggest sign in favor of, "Yes, the development is real," is his performances against Georgia and Kentucky. He's carved up cupcakes ever since Heupel got here, but he hasn't proven the ability to do the same thing against SEC competition. The fact that he did that, particularly against a national championship contender in Georgia, is encouraging. I hope he can keep it up, and I'm more optimistic about it than I was a month ago.

switzy227 - Mostly. I would like to see more of that seam passing and slants, though, since the ridiculous cushions UConn was giving aren't always going to be available.

Chris Bohkay - Happy the kid has shown progress over the past month, nice to see, however he hasn't really faced a fully competent defense as yet, so again, holding judgement until we see the same maturity against a quality opponent.

dcrockett17 - I'd say he's close to turning a corner. That he has improved substantially is undeniable. Where I see it most is in the quality of his incompletions more than his completions. I see more throws out of bounds when the reads aren't there. He's recognizing when the defense has won and living to play another down. That's what maturation looks like. Florida will be an interesting test. Set aside all their coaching change nonsense, the interesting matchup is Huepel vs Randy Shannon's defense. What I need to see from Lock is whether he has answers for a team that doesn't fear the WRs and is committed to taking away those "easy" quick tosses out to the boundary. That is, can Lock play the game inside the numbers? South Carolina took the boundary away and Lock didn't have answers. It is my belief that the coaches mostly have not trusted his maturity or accuracy in the middle of the field. To his credit, he has improved (if not steadily) on his maturity and his ball placement--even since the USC loss. To make this concrete, I'll believe Lock's turned a corner when I see game plans with more routes that carry receivers into the middle of the field. On those plays, timing and placement--and trust--are vital. I saw some of that vs. UConn. That was meaningful. I hope to see more. I really hope Lock's up to the challenge.

Mitch Hill - The Georgia game is why I think he is turning the corner. That's a legit defense that he moved the ball and made deep plays on. Let's see if that happens against a Florida Defense that had a less than stellar performance last week. If he lights it up this week, then I'll say he has finally turned said corner.

AlaTiger - Lock played pretty well versus a stout Georgia defense, so it’s not all smoke and mirrors. Now the question is can he do it consistently?

Josh Matejka - Yes and no? I think Lock is starting to curb some of his worst tendencies: making bad decisions, staring down his receivers, etc. But at the same time, we’ve thought the same thing before and he’s proven us wrong. Give me another solid outing this week - and a win - before I’m on board 100%.

3. This game will likely decide whether or not Mizzou makes a bowl this year. And it comes against a Florida team with elite playmakers... and an interim coach. What do the Tigers need to do to come away with win number 4 this weekend?

jaeger - Teams playing for interim coaches are totally unpredictable. Sometimes they come out fired up and steamroll, other times they crumple. Florida has enormous talent, so I think the biggest thing will be coming out hot. First offensive possession, punch 'em in the mouth, and hopefully they'll curl up and hope for season's end.

switzy227 - Cause a couple turnovers while avoiding their own; smart utilization of the run game; maybe a little trickeration.

Chris Bohkay - Play a complete game with balance on offensive side of the ball. Need to throw some runs in with that arm cannon thing they have going on.

dcrockett17 - They must tackle. Randy Shannon has been a head coach whose offenses were pretty conventional as I recall. So I'd be shocked if he's thinking anything other than, "We're gonna win with our defense, special teams, and an opportunistic/mistake-free offense." I don't think the Gators will try to fool us. (Though I'd wager a decent sum we see some kind of Florida kick fake and they're definitely gonna come after a punt block on Fatoney.) They're mostly gonna line up and seek to out-execute us with whatever they think are their best plays, which are likely to be obvious on film. To win, on defense Missouri's players have to be where they're supposed to be and make the stops they're supposed to make. (Duh.) I've learned not to expect turnovers from this group but they've gotta get stops. On offense, it's gonna be like Georgia. There'll be chances to make plays. When the hole is there guys have to hit it. When the ball is in the air guys have to get it. Finally, a team like Florida is always gonna have some 4- or 5-star hoss returning kicks or punts. We cannot give them cheap points or field position like we did with Deebo Samuels. I suspect our offense can create more scoring opportunities. We can't give that right back in the kicking game.

One last thing: <whispers> the FG kicking has been pretty dang solid this season after a rough start.

Mitch Hill - Don't turn the ball over and start fast. You can't afford a handful of 3-and-outs to start the game. That puts the defense in a very difficult place. What I would really like to see is the first play from scrimmage be a deep shot of Hall. Just see what happens.

AlaTiger - Stopping the run is key. Put Florida in passing downs and hope the pressure from the line and blitzes is enough to help the secondary.

Josh Matejka - Florida’s offense is just about as woeful as Mizzou’s defense has been, so they’re turning to Malik Zaire for a boost. If Mizzou can control the run game and keep Zaire honest, it shouldn’t be too hard to outscore the Gators. But that’s a big if. If nothing else, Florida has some athletes that the last two teams didn’t have.

4. BONUS QUESTION: Mizzou has had a rough go with recruiting the past few weeks. How nervous are you about the upcoming class, and what do you think would ease your concerns?

jaeger - Eh. I like what I've seen out of Micah Wilson, and I don't think anybody is likely to leave that's irreplaceable. Win 3 out of the last 4, get to a bowl game, and then worry about recruiting. Finish strong and some of those decommitments may recommit.

switzy227 - I am not nervous about the class at all. They, like all classes, will ultimately be successful (or not) based on their play on the field.

Chris Bohkay - I'm of the mind that it's hard to get upset about kids who have never suited up for Mizzou. And frankly, with how September and most of October went we shouldn't be surprised when better teams come calling for players committed to Mizzou. But I'm not concerned unless we have no recruiting class to speak of.

dcrockett17 - In terms of what it's gonna be, I don't think we really know much until after the bowl season. Some of these decommitted guys may come back. Still, the ceiling appears to be no better than the usual -- mostly a bunch of 3-stars that can be coached up with an occasional stud. Fortunately, I like many of the young guys already in the program. In a vacuum, I think Mizzou needs more depth than it needs front line starters coming in the door next season but in context we have to consider what might have been. Once we do it's hard not to be disappointed. This would have been a great year to have a random, totally unsustainable run of good luck at turning opponents over to bolster this defense. It's not been that year unfortunately. That said, we do need to be able to go back and look at things in a vacuum too. There's little use in getting worked up about recruiting unless you're talking about an elite prospect. With everyone else, it's so much more about what happens once their in the door than it is about getting them in the door. In other words, recruiting "star" rankings are most reliable at the very top and very bottom. Between those endpoints they're not all that diagnostic. That's not a flaw so much as the fact that there are too many factors that matter, quality of coaching high among them. If you're not getting "elite" guys get good kids that can run for their position that you can coach up. Odom definitely has plenty of opportunity and time to do that.

Mitch Hill - I am not very concerned. Sure, it isn't ideal. But when you are going after recruits that have schools like LSU, Alabama, etc. interested in them, you're going to lose out on some. That's what happens when you are going after well known recruits versus the diamonds in the rough. ALSO, Winning would help a lot.

AlaTiger - I’ll pay attention on signing day, but I’m a lot more interested in how whomever signs performs down the road.

Josh Matejka - Eh. More nervous than I was a few weeks ago, but Odom and Co. have proven they know how to evaluate talent. So maybe the ceiling isn’t as high as it was before, but I still think they’ll sign a lot of really useful players.

5. You know the drill. PICK EM

jaeger - I really have no idea on this one. Let's play the homer and say Mizzou comes out on the first play from scrimmage and hits on the Lock-Hall connection for a 75-yard TD. Florida folds but the talent level is enough to keep Mizzou's defense on its heels a little bit. Final score Mizzou 54, Florida 28.

switzy227 - I'm going to ride the win streak. Mizzou comes away with a close one 31-24.

Chris Bohkay - Until Mizzou shows me they can beat a quality SEC opponent, I'm still skeptical, so UF excited to be with Shannon 31 - Mizzou 25

Mitch Hill - Mizzou scores too much for a struggling Florida Offense to keep up. Mizzou 38 UF 24. Fingers Crossed.

AlaTiger - There’s a wide variance of potential outcomes on this one. Let’s go with something like 35-28 Mizzou.

Josh Matejka - It never hurts to be optimistic. Mizzou 31 - Florida 24