Look...I’m not that smart. But I do feel like I have a pretty good grasp on Missouri football. And I know that me saying that this game was going to be super close and uncomfortable is the last thing that needed to be heard. But...
...in this case I was right. And, also, Mizzou won! So it’s all good. Here were the big takeaways:
Tyler Badie is ready to be the #1
It was a popular discussion point of the offseason: can Tyler Badie handle to work of a primary back in the SEC? Well, after one week, the answer is an emphatic “yes”. 25 rushes for 185 yards and a touchdown PLUS 40 yards on 4 targets and a touchdown is heavy, effective usage and he looked like he could do more. Whatever diet or workout regimen he had over the summer is working: dude looked yoked and was running through contact as well as burning dudes. It was MAC competition, yes, but that was a good team that he just abused. Preliminary results are that Badie can be a #1.
This offensive line pecking order is not settled yet
The other point of intrigue this offseason was who the starting five offensive linemen were going to be. While the depth chart set out a top ten the quality of play on Saturday certainly doesn’t indicate that the positions are set in stone. By my count all ten saw the field at some point - and in various combinations, to boot - and none of them had a ton of success against a salty Chippewa defensive line.
The Blaze Alldredge Experience (TM) is a wild one
He certainly wasn’t perfect but wow did Alldredge make some plays. 9 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 2 quarterback hurries is more than Nick Bolton did in any single game last year. However, the downside to this was Alldredge struggled in containing the Chippewa running game. Part of that was the Tiger interior linemen frequently got washed out but he tended to over-pursue and leave the cutback lane wide open. Regardless, if Alldredge plays the pass-rushing, havoc-focused linebacker and Devin Nicholson can be the tackling machine, Steve Wilks can better scheme his boys going forward. The fact that Alldredge was upset with his performance and could quite possibly end up being SEC Defensive Player of the Week is a fun world to live in.
The Tiger Defense is a work in progress
Breaking news: you don’t overhaul your defensive system and immediately get better. Steve Wilks’ 4-2-5 might not be a complete 180 difference from the Walters 4-2-5, but learning new designations, assignments, vernacular, and play-calling style means some hesitancies and some missed assignments which we saw plenty of on Saturday. Wilks is getting used to the college game too, as well, and the Tiger D really didn’t start to see success until the second half. They have 60 minutes of experience and some game tape to try and get better but they need to do it fast since they have a huge test next week.
Missouri is 1-0
That’s important! Your Tigers are undefeated after playing a C+/B- game against a good G5 opponent. Missouri is not a program that just gets wins and certainly is never entitled to any victory. They have to earn everything they get so it’s important that we celebrate every victory as well. It wasn’t a perfect game but this was a good test for a young, volatile team with a lot of “new” on it. They experienced adversity and pulled through and that’s what counts. Now they travel to Lexington to take on a Kentucky team that detonated one of the worst teams in the country early on Saturday. M-I-Z.