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Missouri-South Carolina: Missed tackles, a missing tailback, and moving to second reads

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South Carolina forced Drew Lock to hold onto the ball longer, and that was not a good thing for Missouri.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Missouri
Moments like Jason Reese’s touchdown gallop were few and far between for Missouri against South Carolina.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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’ 31-13 loss to South Carolina 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...

Takeaways

  • The goal of the fastball spread offense is to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands, and quick. Drew Lock has run into trouble over the past couple years when an opponent has done what South Carolina did on Saturday — cheat up on the first reads and force him to read a little bit.
  • Lock took an average of 2.66 seconds from touch to release against the Gamecocks. That average was inflated by seven passes in which he held the ball in his hands for more than three seconds. All but one ended in an incompletion.
  • On plays in which he held the ball for less than 2.5 seconds, he completed 13-of-24 passes for 241 yards, a touchdown and a telegraphed interception. On plays in which he held the ball for more than 2.5 seconds, he completed just 1-of-8 for 4 yards, with an interception.
  • For all the video-game numbers Lock has put up, he still has a ways to go in reading and throwing against halfway capable defensive backfields.
  • He was, though, also victimized by five drops that would have accounted for at least 51 yards and a touchdown to Johnathon Johnson. J’Mon Moore was responsible for two drops, and Johnson, Dimetrios Mason and Jason Reese had one each.
  • Damarea Crockett’s tailbone injury put a little bit of a crimp in Josh Heupel’s playcalling. The play distribution did an about face from before Crockett got hurt to after: a 58/42 run split before the injury, a 42/58 one after.
  • Yes, some of that was passing to try to get back in the game. But the run/pass split was 4/7 (36.4/63.6) after Crockett went out and it was still a one- and two-score game.
  • Missouri ran a tackle-over, unbalanced 3-1-1 set (move one tackle next to the tackle on one side of the line, have the attached tight end be the tackle on the other side) eight times. Each time it did, South Carolina’s defenders made hand motions that made it look like they studied it on film, knew it was coming and had a defense prepared for it.
  • The results kind of bore that out: Missouri got only 30 yards on eight plays with an unbalanced line.
  • I’ve seen people argue that time of possession doesn’t matter as much as some say. That can be true if your offense finishes those quick drives (which Missouri’s isn’t) and your defense is good (which, right now, Missouri’s isn’t).
  • When you’ve got a faulty defense piling up minutes, the other thing that starts piling up is missed tackles. Missouri’s tackling was pristine for a quarter and a half, then the Tigers had three missed tackles on the final 11 plays of the first half. In the second half, as the offense left its defense stranded for longer (67.1% of the half), Missouri missed 15 total tackles on 12 plays, or a third of the Gamecocks’ plays in the second half.
  • Missouri missed a pair each on Ty’Son Williams’ 32-yard run and Hayden Hurst’s 2-yard touchdown jet sweep in the fourth quarter, which was the backbreaker. But I don’t want to foist too much blame on the defense because, as I’ve mentioned, the offense didn’t help it all that much. And, in this particular instance, a horrible punt return miscue forced the Tigers to trot right back out there after they thought they had a stop.
  • The 3-1-1, 3-0-2 and 4-0-1 continued to hold their balanced, run-heavy and pass-heavy characteristics from Week 1. But after being the main set against Missouri State, the 3-1-1 was relegated to tertiary status against the Gamecocks.
  • Missouri continued to be a mostly Nickel team, running out of it 76 percent of the time against South Carolina. And if you thought Kaleb Prewett and Brandon Lee were interchangeable at that outside slot, tell that to the three instances in which Prewett subbed in for Lee on a third-and-long in the middle of one of Lee’s drives.
  • After being nothing short of a disaster last week, the Dime redeemed itself, forcing two incompletions on two third-and-longs. This week it was Anthony Sherrils and Joshuah Bledsoe playing the extra, in-box DB slots, instead of Anthony Hines and Cam Hilton.
  • Crockett held a 26-11-6 rep advantage over Ish Witter and Larry Rountree before his injury — or 60-26-14, in percents — then Witter played all 26 snaps the rest of the way.
  • Kendall Blanton didn’t start, but he held the rep advantage (32) over Jason Reese (27) and Albert Okwuegbunam (10) for the second straight week. Again, Heupel used at least one tight end on every single play, even though Okwuegbunam split out more often than he was attached or in the backfield.
  • Moore did not leave the field and, for the second straight week, Emanuel Hall came off the bench and out-repped Mason. And, frankly, he’s playing better than Mason right now. So I don’t see why that trend wouldn’t continue.
  • Marcell Frazier and Jordan Harold both payed about 80 percent of the end snaps this week, and Nate Anderson found his way into the regular rotation. Against slow-paced teams like Missouri has faced the first two weeks, the starters playing that often shouldn’t be a fatigue problem. Once Purdue starts trying to match Missouri’s tempo next week...well...Chris Turner and Anderson better be ready.
  • Terry Beckner is the clear No. 1 among the tackles, playing 68 percent of the snaps and even working his way to the edge — with Frazier going inside — for one of those Dime plays. Rashad Brandon and Markell Utsey split reps down the middle.
  • The linebacker “ORs” on the depth chart mean as much as the paper they’re printed upon. Cale Garrett had a 87-13 rep advantage over his “OR” partner Eric Beisel, and Terez Hall had a 78-22 advantage of his “1A,” Joey Burkett.
  • Speaking of depth chart lies: starting safety Jordan Ulmer. Nah. Not only that, but the true freshman only saw seven snaps behind senior Thomas Wilson, who was nowhere to be seen on the depth chart at the beginning of this week. It’s almost like they don’t care if those are accurate or not...
  • The safety spot continues to be a conundrum. It makes sense that they’re slow-playing Ronnell Perkins as he recovers from his hamstring injury (plus he got shaken up on a tackle in the second half and didn’t return), but Hines and Hilton were nowhere to be seen this week after being rotational players last week. So, in two weeks, the pecking order has gone from Sherrils-Ulmer-Hilton-Hines-Wilson-Perkins to Wilson-Sherrils-Perkins-Ulmer-Hines-Hilton.
  • DeMarkus Acy and Logan Cheadle played every snap. I’m not sure that’s a great thing, given Acy’s struggles in the early going. Cheadle has played well but, if there’s nobody else on this roster that the Tigers are confident enough in to give meaningful SEC snaps...it’s not a great sign for the depth of that position.
  • If you want a deeper look into the numbers, keep reading...

Drew Lock Average Release Time: 2.66 sec.
Drew Lock When Holding for Less Then 2.5 sec.: 13-of-24, 241 yards, TD, INT
Drew Lock When Holding for More Than 2.5 sec.: 1-of-8, 4 yards, INT

—————

Play Distribution...

...before Damarea Crockett hurt
Run: 25 for 127 (5.08 avg.)
Pass: 8-of-18, 139 yards (7.72 avg.), TD, INT
Distro: 58.1/41.9
Total: 43 plays, 266 yards (6.19 avg.), TD, INT

...after Damarea Crockett hurt
Run: 11 for 57 (5.18 avg.)
Pass: 6-of-14, 106 yards (7.57 avg.), INT
Sack: 1 for -6
Distro: 42.3/57.7
Total: 26 plays, 157 yards (6.04 avg.), INT

—————

Unbalanced Line
Run: 4 for 11 (2.75 avg.)
Pass: 1-of-4, 19 yards (4.75 avg.)
Total: 8 plays, 30 yards (3.75 avg.)

—————

Missouri Missed Tackles

1st Half (on field for 58.2%)
3 on 3 plays (9.38%), 34 yards after contact

2nd Half (on field for 67.1%)
15 on 12 plays (33.3%), 85 yards after contact

Total (on field for 62.7%)
18 on 15 plays (22.1%), 119 yards after contact


Offensive Set Success

3-WR/2-RB
Run: 22 for 109 (4.95 avg.)
Pass: 5-of-9, 89 yards (9.89 avg.)
Total: 31 plays, 198 yards (6.39 avg.)

4-WR/1-RB
Run: 6 for 51 (8.50 avg.)
Pass: 6-of-14, 70 yards (5.00 avg.), INT
Sack: 1 for -6
Total: 21 plays, 115 yards (5.48 avg.), INT

3-WR/1-TE/1-RB
Run: 8 for 24 (3.00 avg.)
Pass: 3-of-9, 86 yards (9.56 avg.), TD, INT
Total: 17 plays, 110 yards (6.47 avg.), TD, INT

—————

Defensive Set Success

Nickel
Run: 32 for 138 (4.31 avg.), TD
Pass: 14-of-19, 163 yards (8.58 avg.), TD
Sack: 1 for -8
Total: 52 plays, 293 yards (5.63 avg.), 2 TD

3-4
Run: 4 for 34 (8.50 avg.), TD
Pass: 3-of-6, 14 yards (2.33 avg.)
Total: 10 plays, 48 yards (4.80 avg.), TD

4-3
Run: 3 for 8 (2.67 avg.)
Pass: 1-of-1, 10 yards
Total: 4 plays, 18 yards (4.50 avg.)

Dime
Pass: 0-of-2


Offense

Quarterback
Drew Lock — 69

Running Back
Ish Witter — 37
Damarea Crockett — 26
Larry Rountree — 6

H-Back
Kendall Blanton15
Jason Reese — 12
Albert Okwuegbunam — 4

Tight End
Kendall Blanton 9
Jason Reese — 8

Wide Receiver
J’Mon Moore 69
Johnathon Johnson49
Emanuel Hall — 35
Dimetrios Mason — 34
Richaud Floyd — 20
Kendall Blanton — 8
Jason Reese — 7
Albert Okwuegbunam — 6

Line
Paul Adams69
Trystan Castillo — 69
Tre’Vour Simms — 63
Kevin Pendleton59
Tyler Howell 57
Adam Ploudre16
Yasir Durant — 12


Defense

End
Jordan Harold — 43
Marcell Frazier — 40
Chris Turner13
Nate Anderson 4
Terry Beckner 1

Tackle
Terry Beckner — 45
Rashad Brandon — 26
Markell Utsey — 26
Walter Palmore — 23
Kobie Whiteside 13
Marcell Frazier — 1

Rush End
Marcell Frazier 14
Jordan Harold — 11
Chris Turner8
Nate Anderson — 2

Linebacker
Cale Garrett — 59
Terez Hall — 53
Joey Burkett15
Brandon Lee — 14
Eric Beisel9

Nickelback
Kaleb Prewett 52
Joshuah Bledsoe — 2
Anthony Sherrils 2

Cornerback
DeMarkus Acy — 68
Logan Cheadle — 68

Safety
Thomas Wilson61
Anthony Sherrils — 47
Ronnell Perkins — 21
Jordan Ulmer — 7