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If you could add any one recent non-quarterback to the current Missouri offense, who would you go with? Would you upgrade the weapons with Danario Alexander, DGB or Chase Coffman? Would you look to upgrade the offensive line with one of Justin Britt, Mitch Morse or Evan Boehm? Do you attempt to solve the running game issues with one of Tony Temple, Henry Josey or Tyler Badie?
I love questions like this. Sure, it’s all hypothetical, but I do think it can serve a purpose, as well. What is this team missing? What kind of player would do the most to improve their results as a team?
For you, the answer was clear as mud. The votes were all over the map, but the winner - by a slim margin - was former Missouri offensive lineman Mitch Morse!
I get the rationale. Morse was the ultimate chess piece along the offensive line as a player who could basically plug whatever hole the team had at any given time. He started out at center, kicked out to right tackle, and finished his career as one heck of a left tackle. He was strong, but he was also one heck of an athlete. He was also as smart as any player I covered in my time at Mizzou. If I were to add any former offensive lineman, he would also be my choice.
I also love the choice of Badie. We saw what he can do in this offense. We know he can carry the load, if needed, and he’s also one heck of a pass-catcher when utilized in that capacity. He also would have rated highly on my list of selections, but he would not have been number one.
My choice came down to two players: Danario Alexander or Jeremy Maclin. The explanation is pretty simple, really. Missouri’s offense could desperately use another weapon in the passing game. Dominic Lovett has accounted for just 26 percent of Missouri’s receptions, but more than 34 percent of the Tigers’ receiving yards. He and Luther Burden III are the only Missouri players with multiple receiving touchdowns. Some of that is on the quarterback, no doubt, but some of it is on the lack of dynamic options on the outside.
Alexander and Maclin would certainly change things in that regard.
Alexander might have put together the single most dominant Missouri wide receiver season I’ve seen in my lifetime, but I decided to go with Maclin because of his fit in the offense. Alexander is a “go-up-and-get-it” type of receiver. He wins at the catch point and he muscles up defenders. He needed his quarterback to give him a chance down the field. I’m not sure if that would fit as well with this specific offense. The offensive line doesn’t give Cook enough time and Cook doesn’t have the strongest arm.
Maclin, much like Lovett, has the ability to win immediately. He can get the ball at or near the line of scrimmage, make a man miss, and he’s gone. Think back to all the shocking plays at Missouri where Maclin simply outran the defense. That’s the kind of player this team is missing. I still think Burden could eventually become a similar type of player, but it’s incredibly difficult to adjust at that position as a true freshman.
For all of those reasons and so many more, if I could add one recent non-quarterback offensive player to Missouri’s team this season, it would be Jeremy Maclin.
If only we could get a return of The Mac.