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2018, a solid base defense, and oh, those intermediate throws

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The NFL scouts may be onto something when it comes to Drew Lock.

NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Texas vs Missouri
Will he stay or will he go? I think you know where I stand on the issue.
Troy Taormina-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’ 33-16 Texas Bowl loss to Texas 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. This time, I also italicized the players who we know won’t be back next year to show you the spots Missouri will have to be filling.

The thrilling conclusion of Year 2 of ... Snap Chats...


Takeaways

  • Maybe those NFL scouts are on to something, the ones who said Drew Lock should work on his intermediate throws before declaring for the draft.
  • Against Texas, Lock was only 3-of-8 for 57 yards and a telegraphed interception (another thing to work on...) on passes that went between 10 and 19 yards from scrimmage. When you add in the throws that went between 0 and 9 yards (so all passes between 0 and 19 yards from scrimmage), Lock was only 8-of-17 for 105 yards and that interception.
  • Not great.
  • Missouri went to the screen well a bunch against Texas, completing 8-of-10 passes for 62 yards behind the line (and an Albert Okwuegbunam fumble). The Tigers also hit on only 2-of-7 bombs (throws of 20 yards or more) for 102 yards and the Johnathon Johnson 79-yard touchdown.
  • Lock was 1-of-2 for 23 yards on bombs in the first half (one that, had it been thrown a little better, might have sprung Kendall Blanton for more yards), and 1-of-5 for 79 yards in the second.
  • Half the throws were behind the line or 20 yards past it. Half the throws were within 19 yards of the line. 10-of-17 for 164 yards and a score on the long and short, 8-of-17 for 105 yards and a pick on the “intermediate.”
  • And, while we’re picking at holes in Lock’s game: 30 of the 34 throws went outside the hashes, 13 to the left, 17 to the right. He went 2-of-4 for 27 yards in the middle of the field.
  • Lock was 9-of-13 for 148 yards and a score to the left, 7-of-17 for 94 yards and a pick to the right.
  • It’s hard to tell how much of this is the offense and how much of this is Lock, but the criticisms of Lock — doesn’t make enough intermediate throws, ignores an entire section of the field, sometimes forgets that safeties exist — appear to have some legs.
  • And that’s why Lock should stay for another year. But seriously, though, if Missouri can bring in an offensive coordinator/quarterback coach that can teach him to get some better touch on short routes and read more of the field, he can really rise up some boards.
  • Or, if they keep running this offense, maybe he can put up cartoon numbers next year, bludgeon teams with stats and give them no choice but to draft him high. Either way, his stock has room to grow.
  • Missouri ran with a tight end attached to the line about as often as one in the backfield against Texas, which was a change from the rest of the year. The Tigers were far more multiple in the 3-0-2 — 52/48 pass set — than the 3-1-1 — 70/30 run set — and had far more success in yards per play: 8.84 yards vs. 3.92 yards.
  • But here’s the thing, which will double as yet another appreciation of Texas punter Michael Dickson: I don’t know if that was the plan going in. Missouri tends to push its tight end up to the line in its max protect sets, so when they’re bunching up the set to prevent negative plays deep in their own end. And the Tigers ran 45.6 percent (31 of 68) of their plays at their 20 or worse, thanks in large part to Dickson.
  • Also, consider this: Missouri ran the 2-receiver, tight end-attached, H-back set (2-1-2) only nine times all season. Again, a max protect set. The Tigers ran it six times against Texas and got only 12 yards out of it.
  • Dickson took Missouri out of its regular offense with his golden leg.
  • Balance in the 4-wide set was pretty brutal: 13 plays, all passes. And the Tigers only got 63 yards from them.
  • The base 4-3 defense was very good against the Longhorns, giving up only 3.37 yards a play and getting two sacks on 19 pass plays.
  • The only minor quibble: no turnover potential, and all three of Texas’ touchdowns came against it.
  • The Dime was, again, hit-or-miss. What else is new? Texas was 3-of-10 on third downs against it. Which sounds pretty good...but less good when you consider the Longhorns were facing an average of 11.4 yards to go on those third downs.
  • A 16-yard gain on a 3rd-and-15 screen in the fourth quarter against the Dime was especially deflating.
  • Jason Reese had his most usage in a while in the Texas Bowl, playing on 15 of 68 snaps. A nice sendoff for the senior from the state. He was obviously the tight end Missouri liked the most split wide, so it’ll be interesting to see who steps into that role. Brendan Scales? Logan Christopherson?
  • ....Messiah Swinson?
  • Emanuel Hall lasted only 18 snaps before getting shut down. That probably had a little something to do with the lack of success on deep passes as well, you think?
  • That offensive line is going to be boss next year. #AndThatIsWhyDrewLockShouldComeBack
  • Jordan Harold and Marcell Frazier both went all 13th Floor Elevators (“You’re Gonna Miss Me?...anyone...?) in their final games at Missouri. Harold had a career day and Frazier was out on that field for all but seven of the Tigers’ defensive snaps.
  • I know everyone’s geeked about Tre Williams (with good reason), but end may be a bit of an issue at the beginning of next season.
  • And so might the other tackle spot alongside Terry Beckner. Nobody seemed to be able to supplant A.J. Logan by the end of the year. So is it just Jordan Elliott’s spot that others were keeping warm (and hope all the offseason hype around Elliott is justified)? Or will Rashad Brandon/Walter Palmore/Kobie Whiteside emerge from the slurry?
  • The linebackers should be a strength next year, the corners should be...seasoned?...at least (Adam Sparks and DeMarkus Acy did show some improvement signs over the season’s last half, to be fair), and Kaleb Prewett should be solid at safety.
  • Now...what to do with that other safety spot? Cam Hilton, Ronnell Perkins and Jordan Ulmer all seemed to waft in and out of favor as the season went on. Does the answer come from one of those guys? Does Joshuah Bledsoe keep playing a specialty set nickelback role, or does he get a look at safety? Does Tyree Gillespie emerge as a viable option after a redshirt year burned entirely on special teams?
  • Going to be interesting to watch. I’d put one safety along with one end, one tackle, one cornerback (you’ve got to think Christian Holmes can compete there) and one outside receiver as spots to watch for the Tigers heading into 2018.
  • Of course, quarterback could still be added to that list as well...

Drew Lock When Throwing...

Left
Behind the Line: 4-of-4, 21 yards, fumble lost
0-9 yards: 2-of-3, 14 yards
10-19 yards: 2-of-3, 34 yards
20+ yards: 1-of-3, 79 yards, TD
Total: 9-of-13, 148 yards, TD, fumble lost

Middle
Behind the Line: 1-of-1, 4 yards
0-9 yards: 0-of-1
10-19 yards: 0-of-1
20+ yards: 1-of-1, 23 yards
Total: 2-of-4, 27 yards

Right
Behind the Line: 3-of-5, 37 yards
0-9 yards: 3-of-5, 34 yards
10-19 yards: 1-of-4, 23 yards, INT
20+ yards: 0-of-3
Total: 7-of-17, 94 yards, INT

—————

By Distance
Behind the Line: 8-of-10, 62 yards, fumble lost
0-9 yards: 5-of-9, 48 yards
10-19 yards: 3-of-8, 57 yards, INT
20+ yards: 2-of-7, 102 yards, TD


Offensive Set Success

3-WR/2-RB
Run: 12 for 62 (5.17 avg.)
Pass: 7-of-13, 159 yards (12.2 avg.), TD, fumble lost
Total: 25 plays, 221 yards (8.84 avg.), TD, fumble lost

3-WR/1-TE/1-RB
Run: 16 for 69 (4.31 avg.), TD, fumble lost
Pass: 4-of-7, 35 yards (5.00 avg.)
Bad Snap: 1 for -10, safety
Total: 24 plays, 94 yards (3.92 avg.), TD, fumble lost, safety

4-WR/1-RB
Pass: 6-of-12, 71 yards (5.92 avg.), INT
Sack: 1 for -8, fumble lost
Total: 13 plays, 63 yards (4.85 avg.), INT, fumble lost

2-WR/1-TE/2-RB
Run: 4 for 8 (2.00 avg.)
Pass: 1-of-2, 4 yards (2.00 avg.)
Total: 6 plays, 12 yards (2.00 avg.)

—————

Defensive Set Success

4-3
Run: 30 for 95 (3.17 avg.), TD
Pass: 12-of-17, 83 yards (4.88 avg.), 2 TD
Sack: 2 for -13 (-6.50 avg.)
Total: 49 plays, 165 yards (3.37 avg.), 3 TD

Dime
Run: 3 for 17 (5.67 avg.)
Pass: 3-of-7, 41 yards (5.86 avg.)
Total: 10 plays, 58 yards (5.80 avg.)

3-4
Run: 4 for 17 (4.25 avg.)
Pass: 2-of-4, 43 yards (10.8 avg.)
Kneel: 1 for -5
Total: 9 plays, 55 yards (6.11 avg.)

Nickel
Run: 2 for 2 (1.00 avg.)
Pass: 0-of-1
Total: 3 plays, 2 yards (0.67 avg.)


Offense

Quarterback
Drew Lock — 68

Running Back
Ish Witter35
Larry Rountree — 33

H-Back
Albert Okwuegbunam — 16
Kendall Blanton8
Jason Reese — 6

Tight End
Kendall Blanton — 15
Albert Okwuegbunam -- 14
Jason Reese -- 1

Wide Receiver
J’Mon Moore55
Johnathon Johnson45
Dominic Collins — 41
Richaud Floyd — 22
Emanuel Hall — 18
Nate Brown13
Jason Reese — 8
Albert Okwuegbunam — 7
Kendall Blanton — 3

Line
Paul Adams68
Trystan Castillo68
Tre’Vour Simms — 68
Kevin Pendleton58
Yasir Durant — 57
Tyler Howell — 11
Adam Ploudre10


Defense

End
Marcell Frazier — 51
Jordan Harold — 42
Tre Williams -- 26
Chris Turner7
Nate Anderson1

Tackle
Terry Beckner — 49
A.J. Logan — 32
Walter Palmore — 20
Rashad Brandon — 16
Kobie Whiteside — 12
Akial Byers3
Marcell Frazier — 3

Rush End
Marcell Frazier — 10
Jordan Harold — 3
Tre Williams — 2

Linebacker
Terez Hall — 71
Cale Garrett -- 68
Brandon Lee58

Nickelback
Joshuah Bledsoe — 13
Cam Hilton — 10

Cornerback
Adam Sparks -- 71
DeMarkus Any — 67
Logan Cheadle4

Safety
Kaleb Prewett — 71
Anthony Sherrils70
Cam Hilton — 1