Remember football? That game with the pointy ball that occupies Saturdays in the fall? Because of the basketball coaching change and Michael Porter Jr. news, we haven’t been spending a lot of time talking about it, and you haven’t spent a lot of time asking about it. That’s probably a good thing, really. Regardless, let’s check in on the pointy-ball sport!
My favorite Mizzou football link of the week: this SEC Country piece from Ollie Connolly on Drew Lock. (Well, it’s like five different pieces crammed into one, but one of them is on Lock. Just Ctrl-F his name.)
There are some nice GIF examples in play, but the gist of Connolly’s analysis:
Heupel is somewhat hamstrung by his quarterback. Lock lacks nuance. He’s a power thrower who delivers fastballs on every throw and hasn’t shown the ability to bounce through multiple progressions. When the predetermined throw is there, and he’s launching the ball down the field, he looks like a superstar.
Lock needs to get better on second-level “bucket” throws — where he’ll have to alter his trajectories and the velocity of his delivery. [...]
Those physical traits handcuff Heupel and the offense to some extent, but it’s from the neck up that Mizzou really needs to see improvement — most notably his eyes, which often limit the offense to being half-field read only.
If Lock can improve his feel within the pocket, the offense can expand and be far more consistent against better competition.
I don’t think I agree with the “fastballs on every throw” part, but the single-read progression part is obviously dead-on. His progression in this regard will determine whether Mizzou tops out as a top-30 or top-40 offense (the Tigers were 42nd in Off. S&P+ last year) or whether the ceiling is higher.
I remain optimistic in that regard, and for one simple reason: Lock was a true sophomore last year, learning his second offense in two years and getting used to actually having options of any kind (unlike 2015). You tend to make your biggest leaps in college between year 1 and 2 and between year 2 and 3. He definitely pulled off the former last year. Now we get to find out about the latter. Having that much more of an experienced receiving corps around him won’t hurt.
- Blake Toppmeyer looks at what we’ve learned in spring practice so far. The most interesting part to me: a freshman running back might force his way onto the field. Again.
- Good story on Harold Brantley having to put his life back together in a couple of different ways after his 2015 car wreck.
- Damarea Crockett felt like he was “barely making it” ... while rushing for 1,000 yards. Can’t wait to see what he’s capable of when he feels like he’s got his feet underneath him.
- Feel like catching up with former Tiger defensive end Walter Brady? Here you go. And why did he get kicked off the team? A pretty unfair situation, according to his mother at least:
“His younger sister was supposed to move to Missouri (to) come stay with him (at his three-bedroom apartment),” Sada said. “There was an extra room, but this other teammate decided he wanted to move in. Walter said no. This guy took (it) upon himself to try to move in anyway and that’s when things went south. It got escalated from there. It got physical.”
- Brick Haley’s got a two-year contract wth a base salary of $400K.
- Found this while prepping my SB Nation Toledo piece this week: Gary Pinkel recently returned to Toledo for a school of business summit. “Don’t be a leader if you don’t want to solve problems. It’s a problem-solving business. You are going to wake up every day to problems, and you have to have answers, and you have to fix things, and you have to get things right. I never had problems at all, and then when I became a head coach, I had all kinds of problems. I had to change my attitude and say, ‘Bring it on.’ I would wake up and say, ‘Bring anything to me, I’m going to kick its butt. I’m going to solve every problem.’ Just changing my attitude did that.”
- St. Louis Lutheran North coach Carl Reed has had a busy offseason of travel so far. That’s the cost of having some strong recruits to show off.
This is the first links post in a long time that didn’t lead with Michael Porter Jr. But there are still some MPJ links for you to consume.
- PowerMizzou looked back at the history of the No. 1 recruit. It’s been a long time since a top prospect chose a team that wasn’t at or near the top of its game.
- Winning the McDonald’s All American MVP award was just one more honor to add to the pile for MPJ. Either way, he “can’t wait to come home.”
- Johnathan Williams III knew Mizzou was going to stink for a couple more seasons. That was the primary motivation for his departure. “Not winning was the hardest part.”
- It wasn’t very well publicized, so we completely missed it, but J’den Cox ended up finishing second in the voting for the Hodge Trophy. Penn State’s Zain Retherford, who trounced Mizzou’s Lavion Mayes in the national finals, took the award. He’s a damn stud. This opens the door for a really interesting debate about the merits of Cox vs. Ben Askren atop the Mizzou’s Greatest list. Cox won three national titles and medaled at the Olympics, while Askren won two titles and just qualified for the Olympics. But at the same time, Askren was the more purely dominant wrestler. I guess when Cox wins the Outland Trophy this fall, that’ll tip the scales.
- It’s a top-25 showdown! Mizzou Baseball hosts No. 9 Florida for a three-game series beginning tonight at 6:30 pm CT and continuing tomorrow at 2pm and Sunday at 1pm. It’s the first ranked-versus-ranked series at Mizzou since 2008. Wow.
- Have I mentioned that SEC Tennis is ridiculous? Because SEC Tennis is ridiculous. Mizzou plays at No. 5 Vandy and No. 11 Kentucky this week.
- Mizzou Track & Field has another weapon: sophomore Gabi Jacobs, who recently posted a top-10 mark in the discus.
- Mizzou Soccer freshman Zoe Cross will play for England’s U19 team in the upcoming U19 European Championships.
- Next stop for Mizzou Men’s Golf: Franklin, Tennessee.