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Pregamin’ UT Martin

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MIZZOU FOOTBALL IS BACK AND SO IS PREGAMIN’ SO LET’S SHOOT DOWN SOME SKYHAWKS AND CRACK SOME COLD ONES

Forgive me, my Photoshop skills are rusty
Josh Matejka

Gameday Schedule

Don’t forget your clear bags!

Where to Watch

So Fresh and So Clean, Clean

The classic black-and-gold look. It really is week one!

Get Hype!

There’s definitely a more cinematic take to this year’s videos — which I appreciate! — but that may always be the case in Week One.

What the “Experts” are Saying

[Editor’s note: For this year’s Masthead Q&A’s, we’ll be rotating contributors each week to keep things fresh. But because this is Week One, everyone is getting involved!]

For the first time in a few years, Mizzou is coming off a bowling season, and expectations are high. Drew Lock wants a Heisman; Mizzou placed seven players on All-SEC lists; recruiting seems to be on the uptick. Which ongoing storyline are you most interested to see play out now that football is back?

Chris Bohkay, Featured Writer: I’m most interested in seeing who picks up the slack in the wide receiver position as it’s clear that the TE and RBs are pretty set up for success. But who will replace J’Mon Moore as Lock’s security blanket is most compelling to me. I’m really hoping Nate Brown can show out.

Mitch Hill, Podcast Producer: Derek Dooley’s Offense. Heupel’s offense was fun to watch, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes that pace was not always the best option, especially if the drive resulted in 3-and-outs, which made the job on defense a little more difficult. I am interested to see how the pace is there and what this offense looks like/Lock’s feel in a new system.

Pete Scantlebury, Senior Football Editor: For me, it’s whether the days of D-Line Zou are gone, or if a new generation will stand out. Of the unknowns on the defense, the line is the more important one (for me, anyway). A great defensive line can mask issues everywhere else on defense. This is the third season in which we have not had Craig Kuligowski coaching the defensive line; while I think his presence was a bit overrated, we’ve had a revolving door of DL coaches since. Can Brick Haley make an impact in Year 2? That’s got to be the hope, considering it’s Terry Beckner and then just a bunch of dudes right now.

Josh Matejka, Editor: Call it an easy out, but any opportunity to watch Drew Lock sling it is the absolute best. I haven’t had this much fun watching a quarterback since Chase Daniel, and I’m going to take advantage of it while I can. He makes the people around him better, he always brings the potential for a big play and he’s got a ton of swagger.

Ryan Herrera, Football Beat Writer: I’m really interested to see how Drew Lock’s numbers are affected in Derek Dooley’s new offensive scheme. Can he match/exceed what he did last season? Will his numbers go down with the longer overall play counts? Will Dooley unlock some secret ability in Lock that takes his game to an even greater level? I, for one, want to see Lock break his own SEC passing touchdown record, but I’m not entirely sure if Dooley’s new offense will allow it. Week One is our first chance to see how Lock and Dooley’s system mesh in a game situation, and I think we’ll have a early idea of how the season will play out after that.

Jack Parodi, Football Beat Writer: Drew Lock’s draft stock. Missouri’s gun-slinger has the best odds (+300) to get drafted first overall come 2019, according to BetDSI Sportsbook. When you look at the guy, he’s the type of player that gets an NFL scout’s blood flowing: tall, big arm, and a multiple-year starter in the SEC. If he can have a year similar to last and play well against powerhouses Georgia and Alabama, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not just the first quarterback, but the first player off the board in next year’s draft.

AlaTiger: The Dooley Drama – can he coach, or is he just a skilled communicator? I lean towards the former. His stint at Louisiana Tech taught him all the wrong things about how to run a program like Tennessee. Those lessons won’t impede him as Mizzou’s OC, because he will have complete control of offense with a defensive-minded boss. But with this much talent on the offensive side of the ball, he might look like a genius even if he can’t coach. He could quite possibly go from underhyped to overhyped in the course of one season, which will be fun to watch.

kristina: It really does feel like it’s been forever since I’ve watched a Mizzou football game. Long off-season, I guess. How Lock and Beckner Jr. finish off their Mizzou careers. Run the touchdown play.

It’s opening week, which means a whole lot of tradition around college football programs and fans. What’s your favorite Week One tradition, if you’ve got one? And if you don’t have one, pitch us one you’d start up.

Chris Bohkay: My personal traditions are two fold. The Thursday night the season starts (yesterday night!) I get together with a friend and we go get burritos and then find a bar and drink lots of beer and watch the games that are on that night. A fun thing that happened two years ago when I did this: two LSU fans walked in, fully decked out, stride up to the bar, ordered two Coors Light and two glasses of ice. They proceed to pour the Coors into the glass of ice, pound the beers, drop money on the bar and roll out. It was the weirdest thing I’d seen in sometime.

My second tradition is to get up on Saturday, go for a run, watch Gameday — missing the “Coming to Your Citaaaay song, ‘cause I hate it — and then, if I’m lucky, meet up with the DC Jimmies for the Mizzou game (if I’m not in Columbia).

Mitch Hill: I mean, if you are not working during the game, the best tradition is rolling out of bed around 9ish, turning on College Gameday and then once 11AM hits, it is football all day and all night because Pac-12 after dark is a tradition unlike any other. Outside of that, this is not really a tradition, but seeing tailgating back in season is something that always gets me pumped for football and the fall. There’s nothing quite like College Football Saturdays and that starts at the tailgate, whatever time you want to start that.

Pete Scantlebury: Are there specific Week One traditions that are different than Week Two or Three? Either way, my favorite part of real Week One (not the Fake Week One of last Saturday, SAD!) is getting amped up for Thursday night college football and then being let down because it’s a lot of crappy football. Disappointment, then, is my favorite on-going college football tradition.

Josh Matejka: I usually like to keep it low key for the first game of the year since, ideally, the game is over in about half the time. I’ll usually get together with some friends, watch Gameday and then enjoy the rest of the games. I will say, however, I always save my first pumpkin beer of the year for opening week.

Ryan Herrera: My favorite Week One tradition has got to be that first tailgate of the year. There’s nothing like running around Greek town or heading over to the stadium lot, Tiger ears and cowboy boots stretching as far as the eye can see, and cracking open a cold Natty Light with Dixieland Delight blaring in the background. If anything should make Missouri accepted by the rest of the SEC schools, it’s that this place really knows how to tailgate.

Jack Parodi: Throwing an absolute absurd amount of money on a double-digit parlay that most certainly will not hit. Right now, I have some money on a parlay including Texas Tech, Michigan, Auburn, Alabama and California. I won’t say how much I put on it, but if it hits... I’ll be a very happy man. It may not be a tradition that most people partake in, but gambling is one of my personal favorite parts of college football. So many games to choose from!

AlaTiger: I’m always so hyped the first Saturday of football season that I have to burn off some energy before the 11:00 a.m. games start or I will drive myself and those around me crazy. My tradition has been to go on a long run and then knock out some chores to keep myself occupied beforehand and then allow me to gorge on football without interruption. Since my orthopedist has banned running for me, I now have to come up with something new.

My new thought is spending the pregame time at the local beer emporiums collecting beers from the home states of the teams I will be most likely to watch that day, and then quaffing those beers as I watch the games.

kristina: Sadly, I don’t have much of one, outside of telling my other half and the kids I’ll be OOC for a few hours starting around three. I even helped get a meet-up moved to Monday so I wouldn’t miss the game (insert DVR jokes as you wish.) If I had more Mizzou fans as friends — and yes, clearly this means I don’t hang with the right type of people — I’d love to do some yard games and grilling before the game (Insert, “Is it called bags or cornhole?” argument here.)

These early season blood donor games are supposed to be training camp lite. But as we saw with Missouri State last year, things can go haywire very quickly if the team isn’t locked in. Name two specific things you need to see from Mizzou to come out of Saturday feeling good.

Chris Bohkay: (1) Dominate on defense and have the game feel over at the end of the first quarter; I’m thinking 2012 Mizzou v SE Louisiana 62-10 kind of a game. (2) Nobody gets hurt!

Mitch Hill: A defense that forces turnovers (interceptions, please) and an offense that controls the game. Go up-tempo if they need to, but also grind it out a little bit and control that clock. If I see those two things in this game, that would be fantastic.

Pete Scantlebury: The first is a dominant defensive effort. A complete defensive effort. I think that would allow everyone to breathe a huge sigh of relief, because Missouri won’t play a dominant offense until Georgia. A complete defensive effort will set the stage for September. We all saw what happened when the defense didn’t show up in Week 1 last year.

The second is that Drew Lock does not take a snap in the second half. That would be a very good sign of a complete win. Which this needs to be,

Josh Matejka: I need to see Drew Lock not suit up for the second half. Get him his four or five touchdown throws in the first half and sit him on the bench. If he’s out there any longer, this game will likely be a disaster. I also need to see the defense lock the Skyhawks down, almost completely. It’d be really nice, but not totally necessary, to see them pitch a shutout until the game is pretty much over.

Ryan Herrera: First, this secondary needs to play lock down defense. I don’t expect UT-Martin to show off some high-powered offensive system, and I think the Skyhawks will utilize their running game a lot more than they’ll throw any deep passes. When the ball does find its way over the Tigers secondary, though, those corners and safeties need to prove that they are a strength and not a weakness on this defense. And second, Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree III need to show us they can coexist as a running back tandem. We all know how good they are individually, and they’ve both proven they can work well in schemes relying on multiple running backs. However, they have yet to a part of the same running duo, so I need to see that they can succeed in sharing carries before I get too excited about them splitting time.

Jack Parodi: Everyone will look solid at the end of Saturday’s game, but I’ll have to see (1) the secondary play well and shut down UT Martin’s passing game, and (2) Lock adjusting to Derek Dooley’s system seamlessly, looking like he didn’t skip a beat from last year.

AlaTiger: DEFENSE. DEFENSE. DEFENSE. UT-Martin has a pretty decent running back. Does the front seven shut him down? Do our defenders maintain lane integrity? The Skyhawks passing attack is not to be feared, so if the secondary does not shut it down completely, it does not bode well for the rest of the season. No blown coverages, no going for the giant hit instead of the sure tackle. In short, I want to see none of the awfulness we saw from the defense in last year’s opener.

kristina: Yeah, however to not have a start like last year’s, please. Anything. Hold on to the ball and try and limit the rage-throw-the-remote-at-the-TV penalties. A kickoff return TD to start would be fun.

PICK ‘EM. Let’s hear your score prediction and who rings up the most ridiculous stat line during what should be a blowout.

Chris Bohkay: Mizzou 66 - UT Martin 5

Mitch Hill: A lot to not enough; maybe Missouri 60, UT Martin 17? Really hard to pick the score here, so let’s just go with that. Albert O has at least four touchdowns.

Pete Scantlebury: Not seeing any lines out there for this game (for good reason) but I feel like this is the safest bet for an FCS blowout sacrifice in recent Missouri history. Missouri 58, UT-Martin 13. Biggest stat line is the combined performance of Damarea Crockett and Larry Poundtree, who combined for 360 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Josh Matejka: Behind 6 combined touchdowns from Crockett, Rountree and Albert O, Missouri puts the Skyhawks down in a 65-17 win.

Ryan Herrera: Missouri 51, UT-Martin 17. I’m really trusting the defense here to not allow a repeat of Week One last year against Missouri State. I’m thinking they clamp down throughout the game, and the offense runs all over the Skyhawks on the way to a quick and easy blowout. Drew Lock ends up with “just” five passing touchdowns compared to the seven he racked up in Week One last season, but he still somehow surpasses the 521 passing yards he put up agains the Bears.

Jack Parodi: Mizzou wins 63-7. Emanuel Hall totals a pair of touchdowns on nine receptions for nearly 200 yards. Lock it in.

AlaTiger: It has to be Lock, if only because Rountree and Crockett will split carries. 6 TD, 0 INT, 511 yards. Tigers win, 59-10. If you can’t be really optimistic in the first week, why be a fan?

kristina: 42-10. Albert Okwuegbunam scores like four of the touchdowns. So happy this is print and I don’t have to butcher his last name. MIZ!