Barry Odom’s Tigers suited up today for the annual Black & Gold game, a tradition allowing Mizzou fans to get out to Memorial Stadium by the tens and see their favorite football team go toe-to-toe with themselves, save all the guys you really know.
I jest, I jest. It’s great to have football back in any form, and all it really did was whet my appetite for the upcoming season. But instead of wistfully waiting for fall, let’s take a look at what we learned after today’s game.
1. Starters held out
Obviously the Black & Gold game is a glorified scrimmage, so we’re not going to see all the big names out and running. Today’s game must’ve seemed almost unrecognizable to a casual fan. Most of the big names — Terry Beckner, Jr., Damarea Crockett, Ish Witter, Marcell Frazier — were all out for one reason or the other.
This isn’t really anything to worry about in and of itself: some guys are rehabbing, and others are just resting. But it was slightly disappointing not to see some of the big names we’ve been excited about since last season.
2. Lock disappoints... himself
It’s hard to get a read on a guy who wasn’t out on the field too much, and Drew Lock only took a few series. But during an in-game TV interview, he said he was disappointed in his own performance, namely decisions he made.
The opinions on Lock seem to be higher in Columbia than around the country. Most pundits view him as a gunslinger without a lot of detail or touch in his game. That’s a fair, if short-sighted, analysis of Lock’s young career. And everyone seems to agree he must take another step if Mizzou is going to get back to bowl eligibility this fall. If nothing else, it’s good to see Lock recognizes that and is working to improve.
HIGHLIGHTS: Check out some of the biggest plays and moments from @MizzouFootball's 2017 Spring Game! pic.twitter.com/Y8WZ2d8Rew— Mizzou Network (@MizzouNetwork) April 15, 2017
3. Is that ... is that a defense I see?
In a strange twist of fate, last year’s Tigers were all flash and no grit, an offensive “firepower” that had to score and score a lot to win games. Consider the Tennessee game last year: 740 yards of offense and a 26-point loss to show for it.
Again, it’s hard to get too excited about anything in an exhibition game, but the defense performed well enough to mention. After a rough first quarter where they allowed 14 points, the defense allowed 13 the rest of the way. That’s against backups and young guys, but still. Against the Heupel-driven offense, and in the face of last year’s futility, any momentum is good momentum.
Bonus: Kaleb Prewett, a much-anticipated defensive back, looked great.
4. Tucker McCANn
Perfect day for everyone’s favorite beleaguered kicker. He knocked home 3 PATs — a fact I will not take for granted after his struggles last year — and booted a 47-yard FG with some extra room. It may seem a small step, but an improved Tucker McCann will go a long way toward getting the Tigers back to where we want them next season.
5. NOBODY GOT HURT!
Obviously this is the biggest takeaway for a team already dealing with injuries to some of its key players. Coaches can and will do everything they can to minimize the risk in the spring game, but this is still football. A few guys were shaken up and walked off the field limping. But no one tore up any knees or broke any arms so, all joking aside, we can safely consider the Spring Game a win for Mizzou.
⚡️ “#Mizzou Spring Game 2017”— ROCK M NATION (@RockMNation) April 15, 2017
Check out this moment for game updateshttps://t.co/WY72AgUxYt
Spring game takeaways: Mizzou fans are extremely unathletic.— Colton Pouncy (@CTPSports) April 15, 2017
This "player vs. fans" 40-yard dash at the #Mizzou spring game was oddly riveting. That kid on the outside can fly. pic.twitter.com/1zEXsxDlmT— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) April 15, 2017
Mizzou spring game attendance: 16,457— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) April 15, 2017
We predict the "Defense" team will need more rushing yards and pass attempts if it wants to win this game #analysis #Mizzou pic.twitter.com/L4MdqyEJbE— KTGR Big Show (@KTGRBigShow) April 15, 2017