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Mizzou Links: Wes Clark's leadership and Mississippi State's visit

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Dak Prescott will have a pretty new supporting cast this year at Mississippi State, but he'll be pretty familiar with it by the time the Bulldogs visit Missouri in November. Plus: Wes Clark's becoming a leader, and Shane Ray's in love with a hellcat.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Mizzou Tigers pennant What's On

We had to figure there would soon be a video of the Mizzou Basketball football game at Faurot...

More Basketball
Post-Dispatch: Clark is ready to be more of a leader at Mizzou

If there’s any consolation from watching the final month of the season from the sideline, Clark seems to have gained an appreciation for his potential as a team leader.

"There’s a big difference from being one of the best players on the team to being a player on the bench all the time and being a motivator," he said. "I learned from it. It taught me to be a better teammate, and be more of an encourager, more of a leader, more of a motivator."

Clark’s taken that approach to working with Mizzou’s batch of freshmen, especially point guard Terrence Phillips.

"Wes has been a big asset to me," the rookie from Oak Hill Academy said. "When we played pickup (recently), I had a chance to win the game but I didn’t have a go-to move. He pulled me aside and said, ‘In this league, young fella, you have to have a move to go to down the stretch. If you’re going to be a leader of this team you’ve got to have some moves. Get in here and work on it.’"

Mizzou Tigers pennant Sounds pretty interesting

MUtigers.com: TIGER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

The initial Tiger Leadership Institute class consists of 55 student-athletes, chosen to bring a variety of backgrounds, races, experience levels and attitudes together for a common goal: to grow as leaders. The goal will be to have several TLI graduates, namely those who are currently Tiger underclassmen, return for the program's second year as mentors to the new class.

"When you think of Mizzou's mission statement, ‘Preparing Champions for Life’, this is exactly what we're going to do," Lambert said. "It's about providing the best possible experience for our student-athletes during the four or five years they are here. And then we're preparing them for the next 40 years, 50 years of their lives beyond that."

Mizzou Tigers pennant It's preview season

Mississippi State
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Get to Know a 2015 Opponent: Mississippi State

But Where's the Help?: Four main things contributed to the dazzling success of the Mississippi State offense last season. One, Dak Prescott. We've already been over him. Two, a line that returned three starters and 81 career starts. Three, a bowling ball on legs of a running back in Josh Robinson. And four, a five-pronged receiving attack of player that caught at least two passes a game, so defenses couldn't key on just one. How much of that does Mississippi State return this season? Well, Prescott's back. So that's good. The Bulldogs have two starting linemen returning in senior left guard Justin Malone and the confusingly named junior right tackle Justin Senior, who have combined for 30 career starts. Robinson's gone, left early to be a sixth-round draft pick and took his 1,203 yards with him. Some combination of junior Ashton Shumpert (274  yards in 2014), redshirt freshmen Dontavian Lee and Aeris Williams (who I think was in Game of Thrones) and junior Brandon Holloway (294 yards in 2014) will get the chance to fill in for Robinson and provide the yin to Prescott's yang in the run game. Of the top five receivers, only Wilson and 6-2, 207-pound junior Fred Ross (30 catches, 489 yards, 5 TD) remain, though big-play threat senior Joe Morrow (20.2 yards per catch on 17 catches) returns as well. A big part of the efficacy of a spread offense -- especially one that runs a play every 23 seconds of game time like the Bulldogs -- is the fact they can come at you from anywhere at any time. If a defense knows the Bulldogs only have two or three reliable weapons this season rather than, like, eight, it makes them so much easier to stop.

BYU
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Get to Know a 2015 Opponent: BYU
PowerMizzou: Study Guide: BYU

Reason for Missouri to worry: BYU finished 20th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 121 yards per game. That should be a concern as Missouri tries to figure out its offensive line, and considering the Tigers' backbone is its rushing attack.

Reason for Missouri to rest easy: BYU struggled to develop a consistent pass rush, however. The Cougars ranked 70th nationally in sacks, and 60th in tackles for loss. The Cougars' leader in sacks among defensive linemen had 1.5 in 2014.

Mizzou Tigers pennant BE CAREFUL IN THAT THING, SHANE

Almost done. You will be with me soon enough I need a name for her though #challegang #hellcat #forgiato

A photo posted by stingray56 (@stingray56) on

Rode in one of these when Spencer was test-driving it a while back. Fun fact: you can't actually speak or inhale when this thing is accelerating. It reaches inside of you and sucks the breath right out.

[T]he Hellcat is a performance car that can't really hit corners with confidence. Neither could a Saturn V rocket, but still. Its handling is pretty good for a car loaded with a nuclear reactor's worth of power up front, but if you're a performance technician hoping to get a WRX with a muscle car engine, well you probably don't understand physics, economics or several other disciplines at the same time.

I took this car on the curvy surface roads of Augusta. Every time I hammered the throttle (again: tapping your toe to get maybe 20 percent of the engine's capacity) it just wanted to barrel through the trees, possibly a living room or two, and come out unscathed and not even panting on the other side of the bend. This car is a locomotive without a track. Treat it accordingly.