This week, there’s a lot less “good” to talk about, obviously. There were the occasional positives.
Nick Bolton looked pretty good, though he struggled with missed tackles as well. Jalen Knox did a few nice things, though his long drop was an error that would prove to be extremely costly. Ennis Rakestraw had a couple pass breakups. I thought Jarvis Ware had himself a decent game, too. Their scheme against Kyle Pitts was mostly good.
It just wasn’t good enough on all fronts. All of these individual efforts weren’t consistent enough to sustain the Tigers.
- After being a main reason for the win against Kentucky, the offensive line was, in my opinion, the biggest sore spot of the day. They couldn’t win the line of scrimmage and couldn’t protect their quarterback. The interior struggled getting consistent push, and that made it somewhat hard to run the ball. Obviously, it’d be unfair if I didn’t mention that the majority of the starting linemen were unavailable, but I still expected more from the backups.
- Quarterback play wasn’t great, but it certainly wasn’t bad either. Connor Bazelak missed on a few throws, but he couldn’t get any help from his receivers or his aforementioned offensive line. There were too many drops, and too many of them came on key downs to convert and extend drives. That simply can’t happen. This was easily Bazelak’s worst game so far this season, but I think it had more to do with his surrounding cast than it had to do with him.
- I’m sure that the missing starters along the offensive line had something to do with the game plan, but I was pretty frustrated with the lack of rushing attempts in general, and especially the lack of touches for Larry Rountree III. I am of the belief that he is the most talented, most consistent offensive player on this roster, and I think his usage should indicate that every week. The recipe in both wins so far this season was getting Larry Rountree heavily involved early. He had over 100 yards in each win and got over 10 attempts in each first half. He was a factor that the defense had to account for in the box, and when they started to creep up to stop the run, that’s where the success in the passing game came from. When you pass on first down as many times as Missouri did (21 times) and neglect getting your bell cow the ball, you are setting yourself up for failure.
- Overall, this game is one to forget. The Tigers were undisciplined, didn’t make the plays they should make, and just weren’t as focused as they needed to be to compete. There are mitigating factors to explain why they didn’t play as well, and this doesn’t necessarily affect my expectations for how good this team and program could be, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.
I am a former defensive lineman. I am a Missouri football writer. I am a fan. I acknowledge all of these things at the preset of this section. We have got to be honest though:
The hit that Trajan Jeffcoat leveled on Florida QB Kyle Trask wasn’t a dirty hit.
Was it late? Sure.
Was it deserving of a flag? I don’t think so.
Am I surprised that the Florida offensive line took exception to said hit? Not in the least. They should be mad. Your most important player just got leveled.
None of the interaction before the half surprised me, until at THIS point when it was escalated:
WATCH Dan Mullen GO AFTER the Missouri PLAYERS.— NE Georgia Recruits (@NE_GA_Recruits) November 1, 2020
This brawl is % Dan Mullen’s FAULT. You can go after refs or opposing coaches but you NEVER go after opposing players. @ClayTravis @finebaum @MrCFB @slmandel @BarrettSallee @SEC @CoachesHotSeat @Mansell247 pic.twitter.com/HFLGBlwW6V
Mullen, 47, said postgame that he didn’t even see the hit live. Said he was on the field to restrain players, and get them off the field. That would’ve been a good idea. That seems like something that an adult would do.
Too bad Mullen was screaming at Mizzou defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, and being restrained by his own staff. Don’t worry though, I brought receipts:
So it begs to question: How are you restraining your 19-23 year old players, when you yourself need to be restrained by your own staff? Just asking for a friend.
It was a bad display for college football, and for the record, punching someone with a helmet on is one of the dumbest things one can do. There’s no place for it. There will be suspensions handed down to Missouri players and there will be suspensions handed out for a few Gators, too. They’ll all deserve it. No complaint here.
But, if you’re suspending 19-23 year old football players for not keeping their emotions in check, what does that mean for the 47 year old who not only instigated, but inflamed the brawl? Shouldn’t he know better?
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