Missouri Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Missouri Tigers
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Missouri Tigers Preview 2006 - MU Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Seamless Transition? – There were some who thought that former QB Brad Smith’s final two years in Columbia were sub par, but those will be the same people who will cry the loudest with Smith no longer taking snaps as a Tiger.  Smith finished his career fourth overall in total yardage in college football history.  Timmy Chang.  Ty Detmer.  Philip Rivers.  Brad Smith.  That’s how good he was.  So, how is the transition going to be under sophomore Chase Daniel?  Seamless change or hiccups all over the place?  Even with Smith in the lineup last year, Daniel was able to get himself on the field as a true freshman, after leading his high school, Southlake Carroll, to a mythical high school national championship in 2004.  The new Tiger leader looks more like a linebacker in the backfield than he does a QB, and the stark contrast to Smith was evident from the first snap he took in 2005.  Whereas Smith was such a dynamic runner, the all-time greatest rushing QB in history, Daniel is a better ‘blend’ of pass/run abilities and should hurt teams more through the air than Smith did in his final two years at the helm.  But, where Daniel has some big shoes to fill is in the game breaker role.  You could see when things got tough in the Independence Bowl against South Carolina, head coach Gary Pinkel literally called direct snaps to Smith and let him run wild, like a schoolyard game in sixth grade.  Daniel probably doesn’t have that type of ability, but he can still keep a play alive with his feet and then bury an opponent with his arm.  No matter what happens, 2006 will be different.  How seamless that transition is at the QB spot could determine the outcome of this season for Mizzou.

2nd and Seven – Tight Ends in Abundance – You know, tight ends are getting more and more athletic, but Missouri’s taking this whole two tight end thing to a whole new level.  The Tigers might have the two best tight ends in the Big XII – Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, which should make Daniel very happy.  Both tight ends finished the year with 47 catches to tie for the team lead, but it’s the number of different ways that they can get the ball that makes them special.  Coffman can run deep fades down the sideline, going up over short corners, while Rucker can get open anywhere between the numbers.  It’s one thing to have one rock solid TE to rely upon, but the Tigers have two studs.  It’s a nice problem to have.

3rd and Three – Big XII’s Best Secret – The all-time leading sack artist at Missouri is going to line up again this year at DE for the Tigers.  What?  Who?  Brian Smith, that’s who.  This guy is an absolute blur off the edge, and is really an outside linebacker living out his defensive end dreams.  At 235 pounds, Smith can get lifted off his feet, IF an OL gets his hands on him.  But, what you’ve got to like about him is the fact that the Tigers use him on inside slants, attacking 300 pound guards to get some other guys free off the edge.  He’s not afraid to mix it up, but when he turns on the jets off the corner, a QB is going down.  Teams know how good Smith is, even if you don’t.  But, we’ll keep this secret to ourselves.

4th and One – What’s a Bowl win worth? – Down 21 to 0, looking as if there were a million other places they’d want to be, the Tigers were in deep trouble in the Independence Bowl.  But, one 98 yard interception later, and this team may have turned a major corner.  If South Carolina punches that one in to make it 28 to 0, how ugly does it get?  Instead, Marcus King took one to the house, and in the process may have laid the foundation for the 2006 season.  Sure, it took a superhuman effort by Smith to vault the Tigers into the lead in the fourth quarter, but that one play ensured that there would be a competitive second half.  So, what does that one win do for the Tigers?  If you question what a bowl win does for a team, just go down to Austin, Texas and ask Mack Brown what the 2005 Rose Bowl meant to the 2005 national championship season.  That doesn’t mean that the Tigers will be going to Tempe, but a solid 8 or 9 win season should be within reach.

Related Stories
Missouri 2006 Preview - Offense
 -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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