Holy crap, Fightin' Kreklows!
2 days to South Carolina
PowerMizzou.com: It seems like South Carolina's ground game has gotten off to a strong start, averaging over 5-yards a carry, a number they haven't carried for a whole season going back at least to 2008. What are the reasons for that improvement so far?
Clark: Interestingly, most folks would say the running game is not producing as much in the last couple games. To clarify: USC was missing lead running back Brandon Wilds against UCF, and it looks like he will be out against Missouri as well. Nunez was the leading rusher against the Knight, going over 100 yards, but the running backs as a unit did not have a very good game. USC's offensive line has some experience and some talented players. When Wilds is healthy, he can grind out some yards. Shon Carson has had a few explosive runs, and Nunez certainly gives USC running punch from the quarterback position. There is still work to be done in that department, though.
Making an awkward situation less awkward (for now)
Nobody in the Mizzou media can turn a phrase like Joe Walljasper.
By doing what he did to get suspended, Mauk benched himself. Unless Lock bombs — and I doubt that he will — Pinkel would be crazy to turn back for any reason other than injury. A struggling offense at least has some clarity of purpose, and the outside negativity that can seep into a locker room is gone. There shouldn’t be any boos directed at the home team on Saturday.
As a coach, you can live with some mistakes from a true freshman, particularly one like Lock, who has NFL written all over him. This season, even if it becomes a significant step back from the SEC East championships of the last two years, serves a purpose.
All of this is unfortunate for Mauk, a guy with rare mental and physical toughness who won a lot of games and was always a standup guy when he lost, never blaming anyone else or shirking responsibility. But for Pinkel, this suspension is a blessing in disguise.
On both teams starting true freshmen quarterbacks...
Spurrier: "It is interesting. Around the country, I think more and more freshmen are playing. I don't know if guys get disgruntled or leave, get hurt or they flunk out. I don't know what's happening, but a lot of us are playing a lot of young players, freshmen. True freshmen are playing pretty much all over the country at times. But it is what it is. You just try to give your quarterback a gameplan so he knows what's going on and let him go play. Lorenzo Nunez, last week, we didn't know how he'd play because he really had never played much at all. He sort of swept up the game against Georgia, but we didn't throw much. We were just trying to get out of there without getting too embarrassed. Last week, we let him play. He threw the ball very well. Threw a lot of nice completions in there and, of course, ran with it well also. As coaches, you've just got to let them play and see what happens."
"Their other quarterback is a good player," Spurrier said of Lock, a true freshman with 37 snaps of game experience this season. "They may be a little more of a drop-back (passing) team with him instead out of the pocket running around with their quarterback. We’ll just have to wait and see. Most teams don’t really change their offenses all that much when they change their quarterbacks. The one they’re going to play now is excellent passer from the pocket. Who knows, maybe he plays better than the guy before him. Time will only tell."