When’s the last time you listened to Miles Davis?
I’m torn between whether or not I prefer Kind of Blue or Bitches Brew, but I think the former fits our theme better this week. Bitches Brew is very heady and, at times, somewhat inaccessible if you’re jazz-averse. On the other hand, Kind of Blue’s tracks are about as down the middle, cool as you like jams for the jazz-curious as you’ll find out there. It was my first real jazz record, and I still listen to it when I need some sensational vibes.
Honestly, if I could sum up Mizzou’s win over Vanderbilt, it would be those two words: sensational vibes.
Speaking of sensational vibes!
I don’t know if you could consider Steven Soderbergh “cool.” He’s obviously kind of a weirdo, as filmmakers go, prone to whimsies and experiments that eat into years of his career. But he has made, without a doubt, some of the coolest movies in Hollywood history.
You could make an argument that Ocean’s Twelve is the most grandiose entry in the Ocean’s canon, but nothing tops the suave, slick aesthetic of the original. I mean...
The lingering smoke? The black turtleneck and jacket combo? The one-two con man poker lesson? Immaculate. Incredible. Dare I say: perfect.
No movie — and I repeat, no movie — is as rewatchable to me as Ocean’s Eleven. Even when all of the surprises, twists and turns have been revealed after dozens of viewings I still find myself delighted and fascinated by the stylish vigor of the filmmaking. It always feels like I’m in good hands, which is exactly what I felt for the vast majority of Mizzou’s trip to Vanderbilt.
Maybe it’s the way that Kirby Moore’s offense has taken time to gel and develop cohesion over the first five weeks, but have you felt this confident about a Mizzou offense in the past 10 years. The 2014 offense was serviceable at best, and even Drew Lock’s best years were tainted by the early days of Josh Heupel working out his quirks. Sure, Drew Lock might throw for 500 yards, but Mizzou might also go three-and-out seven times in a row when they just need to kill some clock. There was no rhythm, no substance, all style.
Kirby Moore’s offense though? It’s a little bit of everything. Need some chunk yardage on first down? Theo Wease Jr. will be open on the outside? Need to establish the run? Cody Schrader and Nate Peat are taking turns showing their good qualities week in and week out. Need to take the top off the defense? Send in Marquis Johnson? Need literally everything else? Luther Burden III is waiting to add to his growing highlight reel.
There’s pace, there’s flash, and by god is there confidence. I think this is the most confident I’ve ever seen a group of players under Eli Drinkwitz. When Cook hurls that rock, he knows exactly where it’s going and that his man is bringing it down. When Burden sees green grass, he knows it’ll take more than one man to bring him down. When Wease sees the ball in the air with one man on his back, he knows that man isn’t beating him to the ball. It’s refreshing to see a group of players know their capabilities and be allowed to maximize them. Eli Drinkwitz’s hiring of Kirby Moore has allowed these players to do that. Kudos to him for letting the reins go.
When Mizzou went up 24-7 in the third quarter, I knew the game wasn’t in jeopardy. Yes, even when Vanderbilt started consistently moving the ball. Yes, when the defense started to look gassed. Because you know what happened in the immediate aftermath of both Commodore touchdowns? Brady Cook stepped back and twirled darts to Marquis Johnson and Luther Burden without much trouble.
That’s confidence in action. That’s a breezy heist in Nashville.
★★★★★ for the win over Vanderbilt, ★★★★★ for Ocean’s Eleven, the slickest, breeziest movie to watch and rewatch... ever?
One of the earliest offseason indicators — in my mind, anyway — that Brady Cook was well on his way to winning the QB-1 role was the announcement of a new NIL partnership between Cook and Imo’s Pizza. Cook and Luther Burden III became Mizzou’s official spokesmen for the St. Louis chain, a clear sign that Cook was the man to beat for the gig. Do you think Imo’s was going out on a limb for a star wide receiver and his backup QB?
I’m pretty open about my feelings toward St. Louis pizza — it unequivocally kicks mountains and mountains of ass — and I know many of you are just as passionate about the opposite side of the debate. That’s fine. You can continue to be small-minded in your view of what pizza is and should be. All the criticisms I’ve ever seen about St. Louis pizza — the crust is too thin, the cheese is weird, etc. — are formalist critiques that don’t hold up to wider scrutiny of pizza as an international dish. Oh, you think New York is the standard bearer for slices? Don’t tell that to anyone in Rome!
Of course St. Louis style pizza is a different experience than what you’ll find in the Big Apple, Detroit or Chicago (though we could certainly open a dialogue about deep dish vs. tavern style, the latter of which is far more similar to St. Louis style than any Windy City heads are ready to talk about). Why does that disqualify it as a legitimate entry in the wider pizza canon? Are you going to also tell me that Carolina barbecue isn’t good because it’s different than Kansas City barbecue when in fact it’s just different (and superior)? Tell me how you feel about Tex-Mex vs. Southern Mexican cuisine. Explain to me why Cantonese Chinese food isn’t actually Chinese because it’s different than Szechuan.
I rest my case. Even if you don’t have a taste for Imo’s (fine! great! enjoy your life, it’s so short!), you’re wasting your breath trying to convince anyone — this writer, in particular — that melty provel and heaps of toppings on a crispy cracker isn’t a delicious way to watch Brady Cook launch missiles into the Columbia sky.
For cruising to a delicious SEC road win, Mizzou gets 5/5 Imo’s Deluxes.
Disrespectful Play Index
I tried, y’all. I tried so hard.
As I said last week, I don’t want this to become the weekly “what did Luther Burden do” digest because, let’s face it, most of our site is already like that. Who can blame us though? When you’ve got a guy doing that kind of stuff every time he touches the ball, you want to talk about it every which way.
But this week, Luther Burden is going to share the DPI honors with the only other player on Mizzou’s roster that can hold a candle to the sophomore’s impressive season. And that’s the guy feeding him all those taste targets and receptions: Brady Cook.
I’m honestly a little surprised it’s taken Cook so long to feature on the DPI. He’s got that fire in him (it’s the hair) and has a lot of reasons to be gassed up as Mizzou’s resident Zero to Hero. But not until this week was he making throws like the one you’ll see featured below. Not just making them, making them consistently.
As a reminder, here are our categories:
Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the play? (0-20)
Category 2: How hard did the defense try? (0-20)
Category 3: How much did his teammates help? (0-5)
Category 4: What did the player do immediately afterward? (0-20)
Category 5: How did everyone not involved react? (0-15)
Category 6: Is there a backstory/context to consider? (0-20)
And here’s the play up for honors this week.
- Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the play?
From the time Connor Tollison snapped the ball to the time Brady Cook hurled it up for Luther Burden III to catch, 1.78 seconds had transpired. Did you know that four babies were born in that time? Only four! The earth has so many people on it, and only four of them came into this temporary existence in the time Brady Cook held the ball on this play. What I’m saying is, that’s pretty fast.
I’m also transfixed by the fact that Luther Burden still has about 10 yards to run before he even catches the ball. That’s (a) exceptional touch by Cook and (b) exceptional route-running by Burden. There’s a reason we generally don’t approve of fade routes at Rock M Nation: because they’re hard to pull off with college level talent. But Burden and Cook, playing at their current level, are built different. 19/20
- Category 2: How hard did the defense try?
I don’t generally experience schadenfreude during sporting events, but how can you not feel at least a little bad for this poor schmuck covering Luther Burden. He’s on an island against maybe the best receiver in the country playing with every ounce of confidence and swagger in the Milky Way galaxy. This man is in a dead ass sprint to catch LB3, and Burden has already got his sights on touchdown number two. Credit to Clark Lea, he has his team giving their all. But this is what life teaches you, four babies who were born during the time when Brady Cook was throwing the ball: hard work doesn’t pay off. 18/20
- Category 3: How much did his teammates help?
Sure, the offensive line stops Vanderbilt from immediately punching through the trenches and putting Cook on his ass. But does that qualify as help or, “the standard at which you’re expected to compete in middle school football”? It’s all Cook and Burden on this one. 5/5
- Category 4: What did the player do immediately afterward?
Of all the disrespectful celebrations Luther Burden has uncorked during this young season, hitting a little shimmy in front of the road fans after they’d had a twinge of life injected into them is my favorite. Deeply and cruelly hilarious stuff.
I also like that Cook gave it to them a little too (I assume he is, anyway.) No one deserves to talk shit like Brady Cook at the moment, and I’m all for him taking every opportunity.
To cap it off, Burden gives his helmet a few clean smacks on his way back to the bench. Is he saying “put some respect on me” or “respect the oval Tiger”? I will do the former, but not the latter, sir. Doubling down on celebrations is a nice touch, though. 18/20
- Category 5: How did everyone not involved react?
Pretty standard stuff. The stakes weren’t quite so high at this point which likely feeds into the lack of drama. 5/15
- Category 6: Is there a backstory/context to consider?
Not really, but I do think the game state at this point in the contest makes this play much funnier and far more disrespectful. Vanderbilt spent much of the fourth quarter clawing their way back into the game. Their offense finally found a groove to move the game back to a manageable 24-14. Mizzou, of course, responded quickly to which Vanderbilt, of course, responded quickly once again. After a Mizzou punt, Vanderbilt had the opportunity to really make it a game before Austin Firestone (of all people) iced the game with Mizzou’s first sack of the game on Vanderbilt’s 19.
Bing bang boom, done and dusted. Mizzou gets the ball back in the red zone with less than five minutes to go and a two-score lead. At this point, Mizzou could lean on Cody Schrader and bleed the Commodores out a bit.
But is that what they did? Of course not! Because we bullied Eli Drinkwitz online and now he’s aggressive apparently! After two stuffed runs, Brady Cook lobbed this watermelon up to LB3 to not just kill the game, but forcibly stomp on its neck. I love the audacity of putting a team and a crowd in its place after giving them false hope for 20 minutes. 20/20
Brady Cook and Luther Burden’s game-killing touchdown was 85 percent disrespectful to Vanderbilt and its fans.
Superlatives and Awards
Best Prospective NIL Deal
Theo Wease Jr. is only six-feet-two-inches tall. I know this. I can read his biography page on MUTigers.com.
But when’s the last time a Mizzou player played this tall?
I think my answer is Albert Okwuegbunam simply due to the fact that he was 6’5” and stronger than any defensive back that ever tried to cover him. So obviously he’s got a little something on Wease. Hell, maybe I’m looking at Wease with rose-colored glasses because I can’t remember the last time a Mizzou receiver went up and made a contested grab look so easy like he did on Saturday.
Theo Wease has been everything Mizzou could have asked for when they plucked him out of the transfer portal. He’s not putting up monster numbers alongside Luther Burden, but he’s been incredibly dangerous in the red zone and has proven he can get open to give Brady Cook another dangerous outlet when Burden is drawing too much attention. He plays with the height and stature of a receiver who knows he’ll get the job done when his name is called. For that reason, I’m proposing we get Theo Wease Jr. an NIL deal with El Rancho.
Do you always need a trip to El Rancho? Hell no. If El Rancho was your primary sustenance, would you be in a good spot? Hell no. But is it helpful to have for the times when you desperately need a greasy plate of vaguely Mexican inspired food after too many pints/cocktails/shots? Hell yeah.
The Himothy Award for Most “Him” Performance
Come on now.
FBS Leader in Receiving Yards:— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 1, 2023
Luther Burden III: 641 Yards pic.twitter.com/hgp48frRQQ
Let’s not get cute with this one. Dropping two touchdowns and 140 yards in the first SEC road game of the year? Two perfectly executed fade routes to the back corners?
GTFOH, Luther you dog.
Best Meme Award
For continuity within this post, I have to give this a shout...
As well as this...
Though I have to say my favorite goes to Rock M staffer himself, Sammy Stava for the in-jokes.
Down Worst Award
You hate to see it!