Missouri 2006 Preview - Offense
Missouri Tigers
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Missouri Tigers Preview 2006 - Missouri Tiger Offense

What you need to know ... Everything is in place for a better all-around year on offense even though quarterback Brad Smith is no longer running the show. As crazy as this might sound, the attack might be better and more effective since it can't rely on just one player to do everything. New starting quarterback Chase Daniel is a strong talent who'll spread the ball around well while bringing his toughness and attitude to the offense. The 1-2 tight end punch of Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman is one of the best in the nation, the receiving corps is big and fast, the running back corps is little and fast with four interchangeable parts led by Marcus Woods, and the line will be among the best in the Big 12 as long as there aren't any major injuries to the starting five.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Chase Daniel
38-66, 347 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Tony Temple
81 carries, 437 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Martin Rucker
47 catches, 567 yds, 1 TD

Star of the offense: Junior TE Martin Rucker and sophomore TE Chase Coffman
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore QB Chase Daniel
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Will Franklin
Best pro prospect: Coffman
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Coffman, 2) Rucker, 3) C Adam Spieker
Strength of the offense: Tight end, offensive line
Weakness of the offense:
Depth on the offensive line, quarterback experience

There's no replacing a talent like Brad Smith, who carried the Missouri offense for the last four years on his back for 48 straight starts. However, the cupboard is hardly bare with Chase Daniel an exciting young talent with good passing arm and a gritty attitude that might turn out to be a better overall fit for the offense than Smith was. Brandon Coleman has the size and speed to be a dangerous option, and Chase Patton, a star local recruit a few years ago, is still in the mix trying to find his way on the field.
The key to the unit: Getting more out of the passing game, especially deep down the field, and not making mistakes.
Quarterback Rating: 6.5

Projected Starter
- Chase Daniel, Soph. - 38-66, 57.6%, 347 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT, 39 carries, 57 yds, 1 TD
The surprise winner of the backup job last year, Daniel saw meaningful time in place of a dinged up Brad Smith leading the Tigers to a win over Iowa State with an impressive 16 of 23 performance for 185 yards and a touchdown. He's not going to run like Smith did, but he's not a statue with good mobility and speed. He's a tough competitor who should add more of a passing element to the attack over the next few years than Smith was able to.

Top Backups
- Brandon Coleman, Sr. 
Coleman moves back to quarterback from receiver, and he has a little bit of experience under center completing four of six passes in 2004. He's a big, 6-4, 215-pound runner with tremendous speed and a live arm. He'll have to be special to knock Chase Daniel out of the number one spot, but he'll get every chance to do it.

- Chase Patton, Soph.
Patton was one of the top high school prospects brought in under Gary Pinkel, but he hasn't gotten the shot to show what he can do on the field. He has been a good practice player so far and he has skills, but he has to be more consistent to get in the mix for the starting job. He's not the athlete that Chase Daniel and Brandon Coleman are, but he's a good runner with a great arm.

Running Backs
Missouri's backfield is loaded with the same back. Outside of redshirt freshman Connell Davis, all the backs are 5-8 and 200 pounds with tremendous quickness and hands. All of them have had a tough time staying healthy. Marcus Woods is the most talented of the bunch, and now he'll get more of a chance to shine without Brad Smith to occupy most of the carries. Tony Temple will be back from a shoulder injury to add a little bit more speed, and Jimmy Jackson and Earl Goldsmith will both be lugged into the system when needed. 
The key to the unit: Keeping everyone healthy and getting more work for Connell Davis to add another dimension.
Running Back Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Marcus Woods, Jr. - 93 carries, 435 yds, 4.7 ypc, 3 TD, 18 catches, 92 yds, 1 TD
Woods had a nice year, but it wasn't the season the breakout season the team was hoping for due to various injuries. He's small, but he's extremely quick with great hands as a receiver out of the backfield. With Brad Smith gone, more of the rushing workload will fall on Woods' shoulders, but can he handle it? He only has one 20-carry game coming against Oklahoma State last year, and he wasn't quite right the rest of the way after it.

Top Backups
- Tony Temple, Jr. - 81 carries, 437 yds, 5.4 ypc, 3 TD, 16 catches, 70 yds
Temple combined with Marcus Woods to handle most of the rushing workload from the backs before taking over full-time late in the year highlighted by a 100-yard day against Baylor. He's a home run hitter, but he can't stay healthy battling injuries all of last year and missing spring ball to heal up his shoulder.   
- Jimmy Jackson, Soph. - 37 carries, 182 yds, 4.9 ypc, 2 TD, 8 catches, 73 yds
Fitting the mold of Tiger backs, the 5-8, 200-pound sophomore is a small, quick back with good cutting ability, but he brings a bit more power than the rest of the prospects. He'll hopefully be 100% by the start of the season after breaking his foot in the bowl win over South Carolina.
- Earl Goldsmith, Soph. - 6 carries, 37 yds
A knee injury held back the speedy runner last year and now he appears ready to make more of an impact. He has all the skills to be a top all-around back in the Tiger system and should get plenty of chances to work more in the mix to keep the other small backs fresh.
- Connell Davis, RFr.
He's a change of pace back for a different reason than most adding more size to the mix. The 6-3, 205-pounder has wowed the team in practices and will get every shot at getting regular work in the rotation.

The wide receivers are big and fast, but they're overshadowed by the nation's best tight end tandem of Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman. Both tight ends can catch tying for the team lead in grabs with 47 last season and both are dangerous at making big plays down the field. Will Franklin needs to break out on the outside to help the passing game become more productive, and a good rotation needs to develop in a hurry to open things up for the marvelous tight ends. The rating is high because of the tight ends.
The key to the unit: Get more deep plays from the receiving corps and hope for the same production out of the tight ends as last year.
Receiver Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- Will Franklin, Jr. - 40 catches, 448 yds, 10.3 ypc, 2 TD
Franklin is poised for big things. He's 6-2, 205 pounds and fast moving into Sean Coffey's former spot at the X to use his size and speed to be one of the team's most dangerous weapons. He was kept under wraps a bit last year making most of his plays from short to midrange, but his 4.4 speed and next-level leaping ability will shine through this year as a deep threat. 

- Brad Ekwerekwu, Sr. - 32 catches, 282 yds, 8.8 ypc, 4 TD
The crusty veteran of the group, Ekwerekwu will take over the H role to take more advantage of his experience and size. He's 6-4 and 215 pounds with good hands and moves in the open field. Along with his talents on the field, he's an All-Big 12 academic performer.

- Tommy Saunders, Soph. - 12 catches, 99 yds, 8.2 ypc, 1 TD
The former walk-on will take over at the Z position using his basketball player athleticism to create matchup problems. He's a physical 6-0, 210-pound athlete who won't make any all-star teams, but will be a reliable third receiver.

- Tight end Martin Rucker, Jr. - 47 catches, 567 yds, 12.1 ypc, 1 TD
A two-year starter, Rucker led the team in receiving yards and earned a few All-Big 12 accolades. He's a big 6-5, 245-pound target who doesn't get enough credit for his blocking skills. He was a bit overshadowed by newcomer Chase Coffman on a national scale, but now he's ready to get his due recognition as he'll be on the Mackey Award short list.

Top Backups
- Tight end Chase Coffman, Soph. - 47 catches, 503 yds, 10.7 ypc, 4 TD
He'll be an All-American before his career is up. At 6-6 and 230 pounds he has the size to outmuscle most defenders, and he has baby-soft hands that haul in everything thrown his way. He's fast enough to be used as a big wide receiver if needed.
- Jason Ray, Jr. - 1 catch, 7 yds
Expected to be a breakthrough player last year, the talented Ray broke his collarbone and missed almost the entire season. He has good size at 6-1 and 210 pounds and great hands. Expect him to push Tommy Saunders hard for the H spot, but he can play at the Z if needed.
- Greg Bracey, Jr.
Speed, speed and more speed. The 6-2, 200-pound junior is one of the stars of the Tiger track team and is the team's fastest player. He was used mostly as a kick returner last year with four returns for 86 yards, and now he has to be a factor as a deep threat along with Will Franklin at the X.

Offensive Linemen
Four starters return to the line with a fifth player, guard Monte Wyrick, more than good enough to step in without a problem. Tackle Tyler Luellen and center Adam Spieker are All-Big 12 talents who'll keep the ground game going, while tackle Joel Clinger and guard Mike Cook form a good right side. The only problem is experience among the reserves, but talent isn't an issue with Kurtis Gregory, James Stigall and Dain Wise three of the best young talents to come in during the Gary Pinkel era. All they need is playing time.

The key to the unit: Quickly get the reserves enough playing time early so there can be a decent rotation.
Offensive Line Rating: 8.5

Projected Starters
- OT Tyler Luellen, Jr.
The 6-7 Luellen is a talented, experienced blocker who appears to be on the verge of becoming an all-star. He has a long frame with a good reach as a pass protector and good strength for the running game. He has finally cleaned up a banged up shoulder that was giving him problems for the last few years, so it'll be interesting to see how much more effective he can be.
- OG Monte Wyrick, Jr.
Wyrick is one of the team's strongest linemen and should be fine as the only new full-time starter. He has to replace the talented Tony Palmer at left guard, but he has a little bit of starting experience and he has the size at a team-leading 320 pounds.
- C Adam Spieker, Jr.
One of the Big 12's best linemen, Spieker is back for his third season as a starter and will be the anchor of the veteran line. He's a strong 310 pounds and a dominant, consistent run blocker. He's a strong pro prospect.
- OG Mike Cook, Sr.
Cook went from being a good reserve to a solid starter holding down the right guard job all season. He's not going to be an all-star, but he's consistent and rarely gets beaten in pass protection.
- OT Joel Clinger, Sr.
The 6-6, 315-pound senior brings attitude to the line. He's an aggressive run blocker who turned in an All-Big 12 season on the right side. He's a rock-solid pass protector.

Top Backups
- T Louis Pintola, Sr.
A quality reserve over the last few years, he'll be a quality backup on the left side behind Tyler Luellen. He's fine after a scare from a melanoma removed from his arm.
- G Ryan Madison, Soph.
After starting out his career at center, the 300-pound sophomore will look to be a dependable reserve at one of the guard spots. He'll start out backing up Monte Wyrick on the left side.

Related Stories
Missouri Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006
Missouri Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006
Missouri Preview 2006 - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006

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