SUPER HAPPY HIGHLIGHTS AND POST-GAME INTERVIEWS.
I will say, that might be the most relaxed I've ever seen Gary Pinkel after a loss. He seems to know as well as anybody how much of a rebuild this offense is having to undertake on the fly. (And if you're the optimistic type, you figure he knows how good his offense might be in another year or two.)
The Florida defense is better than alright, J'Mon, but I appreciate you thinking that. Better than thinking "They were so much better than us, and I don't know how we could ever beat them."
On how much Florida's defense had to do with the offensive struggles:
"I think they are a really good defensive football team. I think Mizzou is a really good defensive football team. So that's the good news coming out of this. We just made mistakes they didn't make. I think their quarterback [Will Grier] did some good things. It's a 10-point game until the second half. The turnover for a touchdown, that's difficult and that's something that's not very good but that's just the difference in the game. Two turnovers, they had none and they moved the ball better than us. But both sides played pretty good defense."
On Drew Lock's performance:
"There's a lot of things, we have to go back and evaluate it. You can point to quarterbacks all you want. He's going to learn from it, it's not going to be the first or last interception. It's going to make him better but that's something you deal with as a young quarterback. You can give their defense a lot of credit, they're very, very good. But we have to execute better and in a game where it's close, and this was a close football game, you can't have 15-yard penalties on scoring drives. You've also got to protect the football."
Offense bad (so why am I smiling?)
It's a season full of new experiences for a younger, more inexperienced Missouri team. Lock continues to embody that reality best. He was hit early and often for the first time in his short career, getting sacked three times and hurried five more.
"Like I told Connor (McGovern), he was apologizing," Lock said. "Shoot, I'm a fresh body, man. Use me while you can. It's not that bad actually. A couple of them are like, 'Oh, crap. That's a grown man hitting me.
"It's football. That's going to happen."
Love this kid. A prima donna, he is not.
Against the best defensive line they faced this season, the Tigers rotated Taylor Chappell and Nate Crawford at right tackle in Crawford’s return from an ankle injury suffered at Kentucky two weeks ago. Chappell got his second straight start at the position. Mizzou tried a similar rotation with Brad McNulty and Alec Abeln at left guard, but after Abeln allowed a first-down sack deep in Gators’ territory late in the second quarter, McNulty replaced him for the second half.
A game of inches
Freshman quarterback Drew Lock zipped a throw to senior Wesley Leftwich running behind a pair of Gators defenders in front of the MU sideline on the first play from scrimmage, but the gain got capped at 19 yards after Leftwich stepped out of bounds.
After an 8-yard rush by Russell Hansbrough, Lock threw deep toward the other sideline and found sophomore J’Mon Moore running alone. He hauled in the 32-yard completion at the Gators’ 6 but stepped out of bounds before he had a chance to run into the end zone.
Missouri had to settle for a field goal.
Lock said after the game that he and the receivers are still a "work in progress" when it comes to getting on the same page on option routes. That showed up on a 1st-and-10 from the Florida 35, right after Lock made a nice throw on the move to Ish Witter as Brantley was wrapping him up for a 12-yard gain. Lock play-faked to Witter and looked deep for Ray Wingo. He thought Wingo was releasing outside of Maye, but Wingo went inside. Lock threw outside and Wingo threw up his hands as the ball fell harmlessly to the turf in the end zone. There'd be a couple more of those busts later in the game, but usually as a result of crippling pressure from Florida. This time, it was simple miscommunication. The drive ended in a 53-yard Baggett field goal attempt that sailed just left. Missouri would travel inside the Florida 35 just one more time in the game, not until the fourth quarter.
The right team very clearly won, but I'd have loved to have seen the life in the stadium if either Leftwich or Moore had remained in bounds and Baggett's field goal had drifted in. A 14-10 game comes with different second-half play-calling, different energy, different everything. Florida probably still wins, but it's a more encouraging result at the very least.
Checking in on basketball
So how'd volleyball do this weekend?
Decent, and almost great.
Mizzou 3, Mississippi State 1
MUtigers.com: @MizzouVB Defeats Mississippi State, 3-1, In SEC Road Opener
Alabama 3, Mizzou 2
MUtigers.com: @MizzouVB Drops 3-2 Contest Sunday At Alabama
And how'd soccer do?
LSU 2, Mizzou 1
MUtigers.com: @MizzouSoccer Suffers 2-1 Defeat to LSU
Mizzou 2, Georgia 0
MUtigers.com: @MizzouSoccer Posts Clean Sheet in 2-0 Win Over Georgia