A note from Bill C.:
A few months ago, I announced that it was time I found someone new to take the reins at Rock M Nation.
Let’s be honest: I haven’t brought much new to the table in a while here, have I? Our beat-writing game is as strong as it’s ever been, and I love being able to say that. And we keep finding new voices to make the site interesting. But that only peripherally had to do with me.
Fact is, it’s been a while since I was truly obsessed with this site. To use Gary Pinkel parlance, I do what I do: links posts throughout the year, previews and BTBS during football season, Study Hall posts during basketball, random history stuff during the summer. I could do that in perpetuity and have no regrets, but honestly? This place deserves to be freshened up a bit, and I’m not going to be the person who freshens it up. This has been the case for a while, and I’ve been selfish to keep on as long as I have. [...]
[A new] person will inherit an exciting team of writers, video potential, a podcast editor, and the capability for enormous things on the football side. We have quite a few folks who probably would have written even more in recent years had I been on the ball enough to use them appropriately.
The tools are here. I just need to find the right person. Is it you?
I can’t be happier with who we found. I’m sure you remember Pete Scantlebury from his time at PowerMizzou; he has spent the past few years with the Cox Media Group’s SEC Country (among others) project. He’s smart, he’s way funnier than I am, and I am confident he will bring the freshness I have for a while felt this site needs.
Pete will take over as football editor, more or less serving as a site co-manager with Sam Snelling. We will have a few more contributors to introduce moving forward, but for now, let me just say ... WELCOME (BACK), PETE.
Now let’s hand the mic over:
Much like Hollywood and its fascination with reboots, I’m back on the Mizzou beat and hoping to skew younger, grittier and darker.
Kidding, obviously. About my targeted demographic — but not the fact that, after a few years away from Faurot Field and Barry Odom and Drew Lock, I’m back in the fold. I’m back writing about my alma mater and the program I covered for eight years, this time with a fan-centric (and light-hearted) focus at Rock M Nation.
While I was at PowerMizzou.com (wassup Gabe), I greatly admired what Bill Connelly and his gang grew at Rock M, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. Hopefully, you’ll stick around as I grow into this new role. I’m not going to re-invent anything that Bill, Sam, Matt, David, etc. have been doing. I’m going to fit into Rock M’s voice, find my spot and maybe get a little weird.
With that in mind, let’s talk about great returns in recent Mizzou history.
733,217. Pete Scantlebury returns to the Mizzou beat.
“Why are you asking me for a comment on this?” — Sports media reporter Richard Deitsch, The Athletic
5. Missouri’s return to Atlanta in 2014
I don’t care that Missouri got throttled by Alabama in the SEC Championship Game in 2014 — that whole season was a black-and-gold double bird to the SEC establishment. Missouri won the East in 2013 on the back of a dominant, efficient offense and opportunistic defense. Missouri won the East in 2014 with a dominant defense and a chicken-with-its-head-cut-off offense.
After the jokes about Missouri’s first season in the SEC, after hearing SEC media members question Missouri’s credentials, 2014 was the perfect path to Atlanta. Yeah, it was largely infuriating for fans — imagine how that team could have done without musical chairs on the offensive line to start the year, or with competent quarterback play — but it still won the damn East for a second straight year.
4. Return of the Mack — Mack Morrison
Yeah, it’s not specifically for Mizzou, but it’s also not NOT specifically for Mizzou.
3. The Game of Many Returns — Mizzou vs. Florida, 2014
Without a doubt, my favorite game I’ve ever covered. Folks, this was a tough one to maintain PROPER JOURNALIST DECORUM in the pressbox, because I could not stop myself from cackling with laughter as Darvin Ruise, former Missouri linebacker and noted fashion guru, returned an interception for a touchdown. It was Missouri’s fourth return for a touchdown that night. It was a 42-13 win, and Missouri tossed the final shovelful of dirt on Will Muschamp’s Florida tenure.
It also gave rise to my favorite Maty Mauk moment after the game, when Mauk told reporters “We ran the ball pretty well.”
Missouri ran the ball 31 times for 99 yards.
2. Shane Ray scoops and sprints to end the 2013 season in the Big D
My favorite singular play during my previous stint covering Missouri football. I was already down on the sideline as Oklahoma State was driving late, and saw this whole play develop from behind — so Ray was running at me for the game-winning touchdown.
It was another year that Missouri was a game away from a national championship appearance, but this was the perfect bookend on a transcendent year. Fans saw the potential for 2007 in the team of 2006; I don’t think many people believed the 2013 team would rip through its regular season after 2012. It was the perfect ending to my favorite year covering the Tigers.
1. Drew Lock, Terry Beckner Jr. and Jontay Porter all announce their returns
Proud to be a TRUE SON... pic.twitter.com/xNK4aTfCGT— Drew Lock (@DrewLock23) January 9, 2018
Has there been a better year for Missouri returns than 2018? Ok, semantics — Beckner actually announced his return in December 2017, but he’s coming back for the 2018 season. In football, Missouri gets its best offensive player and defensive player back on a team that, despite what people in the South will say, has a real chance to make the SEC East as wacky as it was in 2013.
And then there’s Porter. Man, thank the Good Lord that Missouri took older brother Michael in this package deal, because now the Tigers get a second year from Jontay. All-SEC freshman team, co-Sixth Man of the year, Porter’s return gives Missouri fans another reason to hope for year two of the Cuonzo Martin Experience.