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Why can’t Badie be the bellcow?

Tyler Badie is going to be one of the leaders of the Mizzou offense, and in 2021 I think he’s in line for an expanded role.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve always wondered what Tyler Badie would look like as the featured running back at Mizzou: a real guy who can stay on the field all three downs and be impactful.

We’ve seen his ability in flashes, and that was because there was usually another back who was pretty talented. Larry Rountree III and Damarea Crockett were in the rotation during his freshman season in 2018, and the past two seasons Rountree was established as the thunder to Badie’s lightning.

Now, in his senior season, I’m starting to think he might get the chance to be the lead back of the offense.

He’s not as big or as imposing as Rountree, but he’s not overmatched from a size standpoint. The official roster has him listed at 5’8” and 194 lbs. which isn’t too terribly far from Rountree, who was more of a bruising style of running back but was 2 inches taller and 16 pounds heavier.

Then, you turn on the film and watch the plays that he makes in between the tackles. He hits holes quick, decisively and is capable of breaking tackles and making the defense pay.

Like this:

Sometimes with running backs, they can be so eager to make a play that they react too quickly and miss the cutback lane that happens so much when inside zone is called. I noticed that Badie has a nice way of staying patient and waiting for the cutback to appear.

With this particular play, not only does he wait until just the right moment to make his cut, he turns the burners on and loses the rest of the defense. Obviously, Tyler Badie is fast - that’s not breaking news - but I don’t know if he gets credit for how fast he truly looks on gameday.

Obviously, this is probably the trait that Badie is most known for, but as a pass catcher he has a lot of versatility to his game. They trust him to run most of the routes in a given route tree, including “option routes” - patterns that don’t have a predetermined route - and instead, have the receiver “read” the defensive coverage and make a post-snap decision on where to go - and Badie has been crisp and accurate in his execution. He has reliable hands, and if one drew up the ideal player to receive a screen pass, it’s Tyler Badie.

However, a dimension to his game that is underrated is the ability to make contested catches. Normally, we wouldn’t associate that trait with running backs but Badie had four to five catches last season where he was battling with defenders downfield and managed to come away with the ball.

Like so:

Badie isn’t going to be the only running back that receives snaps for this team. Elijah Young and Taj Butts will probably have some chances to get some burn. However, in 2020 many (including Coach Drinkwitz) walked away from games wondering why Badie wasn’t utilized more, and now there is no Larry Rountree to explain why. My hope is that we receive a heavier dose of Badie in the 2021 season.

Badie is explosive, is one of the best pass catchers out of the backfield in college football, and there’s no reason why he can’t be an every down back. So the question is...

Why can’t Badie be the Bellcow?

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