clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

We did it! Takeaways from Mizzou’s win over Arkansas

New, 26 comments
NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

We made it, everyone! We did it! Give yourselves a pat on the back and a stiff pour of your drink of choice. The Mizzou football season is over. And I think it’s safe to say it didn’t go quite like any of us would have hoped.

But we’re not here to bemoan the past! We’re here for ~*takeaways*~, so let us revel in yesterday’s Battle Line victory and look to next year.

1. Running backs on running backs on running backs

Yesterday’s running numbers weren’t great when you remove Anthony Sherrils’ fake punt and Johnathon Johnson’s 82-yard sweep. But it’s hard not to be excited about this backfield next year, even looking past Damarea Crockett.

Ish Witter is who he is, but he has shown ability as a north-south running back in the past and his explosiveness saw an uptick as the season went along. I think it’s more of an exposure thing with him, and he’ll do well as Crockett’s backup next year. Sadly he didn’t show a lot yesterday because of an injury, but I’d say his role is pretty cemented net season.

Nate Strong isn’t a bad fallback either. I’d posit that Strong, when healthy, should’ve been getting regular looks all year, sometimes at Witter’s expense. He showed yesterday that he’s a bit inexperienced as a runner at this level; he goes sideline-to-sideline far too often when he could just take what’s given him. But he’s definitely got some elusiveness to him, and he’ll be a nice third look for the offense.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Tennessee
Nate Strong carried 25 times and scored twice in Mizzou’s final two games.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

2. Hope for the defense?

The defense was this year’s big disappointment, but it had its moments in the second half of the season. Holding Arkansas to zero points in the second half yesterday isn't nothing.

Moving forward, having hope for this unit is optimistic at best. Mizzou is losing many of its best players, including (probably) Charles Harris. And some its returning stars are coming off injuries. So next year’s defense could be volatile.

But there are still a lot of pieces that could turn this year’s disappointment around. The defensive line still has talent: Marcell Frazier came on strong at the end of the year and should lead the pass rush along with names like Nate Howard, Josh Moore, and younger guys like Tre Williams.

Terry Beckner Jr. will be back, injuries notwithstanding, along with A.J. Logan and Markell Utsey. The secondary loses its most talented player by a long shot (Aarion Penton) but returns almost everyone else. Same with the linebackers, save Michael Scherer and Donavin Newsom.

And last but not least, Barry Odom is still a great defensive mind. If we can be hopeful of anything as Mizzou fans, it’s that Odom will right this ship.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Missouri
Marcell Frazier had 1 TFL in the first nine games of the season and 7.5 in the final three games.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

3. The usual suspects

We’ve talked about them all year: Crockett, Drew Lock, Johnson, J’Mon Moore. These are the talents that lead the offense next year.

Crockett was out of yesterday’s game for obvious reasons, but the usual suspects showed out. Drew Lock was efficient and made some spectacular throws, most of which were dropped. Johnson and Moore combined for more than 200 yards receiving on eight catches. And despite their occasional brick hands, Dimetrios Mason and Emanuel Hall showed their exceptional athleticism and ability to get open. That shouldn’t change next year.

With all the uncertainty surrounding the defense — seriously, will Demontie Cross be back? — Josh Heupel and the offense are likely to carry this team.

4. I think he McCann

Aside from the defense, Tucker McCann has been a thorn in this fanbase’s side all year. As he is a scholarship kicker, fans rightfully expected more from him than a kid with shaky confidence and shakier accuracy.

But McCann ended the year on the right note — or at least a normal note — making all his PATs and FGs in the last two games. An offseason’s worth of coaching will do McCann good, and it’s appropriate to expect a much improved kicker come 2017.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri
Tucker McCann made his last 8 PATs of the season and hit a field goal at Tennessee. Baby steps.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

5. The case of BO

All year, a segment of fans has somehow questioned Barry Odom’s ability to lead an SEC team. Yes, Odom has not been the best coach in his first year. Questionable time management, coaching hires, and scheme changes have all been frustrations.

But if you accept those shortcomings as the trappings of a first-year head coach, it’s hard not to be excited about Barry Odom’s future. Yes, he’s a True Son. And yes, the players seem to love him. And yeah, his passion is fun to watch.

I think after the two seasons Mizzou football has gone through, it should be considered that the 2016 team got better as the year went on, winning two of its last three games against two not-bad teams.

It seems like an eternity since Mizzou lost to Georgia on the final play of the game. And while many of Mizzou’s faults can be traced to Odom this year, many of its successes can be as well.

Maybe I’m just the eternal optimist. Maybe it will take a few years. Hell, maybe I’m wrong entirely. But I’m still excited to see what Odom can do with this program.

That’s a wrap, folks. See you in 2017.


Thanks to everyone who read and interacted with these takeaway posts this season. Y’all had to put up with some disastrous puns. It means a lot if you kept coming anyway.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to transfer this optimism to the basketball court.