2010 Missouri Preview – Offense
Missouri C Tim Barnes
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Missouri Tiger Offense
Preview 2010 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: Predictably, the offense had consistency problems in a year of transition, and now the hope will be for more rushing production, steadier play, and even more explosion to a passing attack blew up at times and finished second in the Big 12 in passing efficiency. Blaine Gabbert is one of the nation's rising star quarterbacks, and while he loses his two top targets from last year (Danario Alexander, who caught 113 passes, and Jared Perry, who made 46 grabs), he has a very big, very promising receiving corps to work with. Four starters return to a line that was great in pass protection and should be even better, but the ground game has to be stronger after a mediocre 2009. The hope is to balance out the production, after averaging 285 passing yards per game and 127 on the ground, but the bread will still be buttered with the air attack.
Star of the offense: Junior QB Blaine Gabbert
Passing: Blaine Gabbert
262-445, 3,593 yds, 24 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Derrick Washington
190 carries, 865 yds, 10 TD
Receiving: Jerrell Jackson
37 catches, 458 yds, 2 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior WR Jerrell Jackson
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR T.J. Moe
Best pro prospect: Junior OT Dan Hoch
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Gabbert, 2) Hoch, 3) OT Elvis Fisher
Strength of the offense: Passing Attack, Line
Weakness of the offense: Consistent Rushing Production, Proven Backup QB
Projected Starter: The talk throughout the 2009 offseason was that Blaine Gabbert was a far better talent than Chase Daniel, the Heisman-caliber star who helped Mizzou turn a corner. The 6-5, 240-pound junior has the size, the arm, and the skills to continue to push the ball down the field far more often than Daniel did, and he has the potential to go from very good to special. On a banged up ankle, Gabbert connected on 59% of his passes for 3,593 yards and 24 touchdowns with nine interceptions, and he was mobile with 204 rushing yards and three scores. The picks came in bunches with five in a two-game stretch against Nebraska and Oklahoma State and with two against both Colorado and Navy. Mistake-free in the other nine games, he has to keep the errors to a minimum, but his best day, a 468-yard, two score day against Baylor, resulting in a loss.
Projected Top Reserves: Is James Franklin really able to step in and shine if he has to? The multi-talented true freshman has 6-2, 220-pound size, excellent athleticism, and a live arm with the ability to put the ball anywhere he wants to. Great on the move, he's accurate when throwing on the run and dangerous when in the open field. Last year as a senior in high school he threw for 23 scores and ran for 18 more, and there's a chance he could be used as a runner here and there in place of Gabbert just to add another wrinkle to the offensive equation.
Junior walk-on Jimmy Costello was the No. 2 option last year and got a little bit of mop-up work completing 9-of-17 passes for 64 yards and two interceptions. At 6-3 and 225 pounds he has great size and has been good enough in practices to hold his own, but now he could get pushed back in the equation with so many other prospects waiting to see time. He's just experienced enough to be ready to be thrown in if there's an emergency.
There's another Gabbert ready to roll when the first one is done. True freshman Tyler Gabbert , Blaine's brother, isn't quite the same prospect because of his size (checking in at just 6-0 and 190 pounds), but he's a good pro-style passer with a good arm and great accuracy. He won't see the light of day for a few years, but he'll compete for the starting job in 2012.
Watch Out For … Franklin. There's no question that Blaine Gabbert is the starter and the franchise for the next few years, but Franklin is a dangerous, talented No. 2. Costello was a serviceable backup option last year, and now the Tigers have a weapon waiting in the wings.
Strength: Interesting backups. Blaine Gabbert could be the most productive quarterback in the Big 12, but if something happen, there are several interesting options to choose from. Franklin is an X factor, Costello is a decent emergency option, and redshirt freshman Ashton Glaser , the former Arkansas Player of the Year, is the perfect fit for the spread. However …
Weakness: Backup experience. For a team that's going to be shooting for the Big 12 title, and has a realistic chance to pull it off, everything might go kaput if something happens to Gabbert. Yeah, there are plenty of options backing up the star, but are they ready? Costello can't lead the way to a North title, and Franklin is a true freshman.
Outlook: Gabbert had a strong first year, and that was with a banged up ankle for half the year. With a more experienced line up front, and a more balanced attack to take the heat off, he should be even more effective. While there are excellent prospects to develop over the next few years, there will be problems if something happens to the No. 1.
Unit Rating: 8
Projected Starters: Senior Derrick Washington followed up an All-Big 12, 1,036-yard, 17 touchdown season with 865 yards and ten scores. With great hands, a nose for the goal line, and good ball security, he's a reliable runner who's a proven receiver with 65 career catches for 503 yards and three scores. The 6-0, 225-pounder is a tough, shifty runner who has just enough speed to tear off yards in chunks, averaging 4.6 yards per carry after running for 5.9 yards per run in 2008. Working more as a workhorse, running it 190 times after carrying it just 177 times two years ago, he'll be a steadying force for the offense once again, and he'll occasionally be explosive.
Projected Top Reserves: At 5-9 and 195 pounds, De'Vion Moore isn't a big runner, but he has home-run hitting wheels finishing second on the team with 258 yards and a score in a limited role last season after running for 231 yards and a score in 2008. The junior has the athleticism and the talent to play a far bigger role, but he was supposed to be a main factor last year, too, and wasn't. More of a good insurance policy than a No. 2 back, he'll put up big numbers if anything happens to Derrick Washington.
Sophomore Kendial Lawrence is another very quick, very athletic Tiger back who can dart in and out of traffic and potentially crank out yards in chunks. At 5-9 and 190 pounds, he's not all that big and he's not all that powerful, but he's really, really fast and he can be used as a receiver. He's an almost perfect third down back who could do big things when he gets into space.
Adding more bulk to the mix is true freshman Greg White, a 6-1, 215-pound pounder who was a nice pickup for the program. Not just a big bruiser, he's a great athlete earning Arkansas all-state basketball honors. The Tigers got him away from the Hogs, as well as Oklahoma and other top programs, and he could eventually be a workhorse. In a perfect world, he redshirts this year and becomes the team's power back next year in place of Derrick Washington.
Watch Out For … a lot more work. The running game was pushed into the background a bit last year, even though there was more balance (467 passes to 444 rushes) than it might appear, but the coaching staff wants to make more of a commitment to the ground game.
Strength: Experience. Washington, Moore, and Lawrence were the top three rushers from last year and they're back to form a strong trio. It'll be a major disappointment if they don't combine for at least 1,500 yards (after combining for 1,342 last year).
Weakness: Yards per carry. The line was fine and the passing game was taking the pressure off, but the ground game only averaged 3.7 yards per carry with Washington averaging 4.6, Moore 4.1, and Lawrence 4.2.
Outlook: The backfield is full of quickness and experience, and now there needs to be a bit more production. Washington has been a nice player who has the potential to be an all-star scorer, while there are plenty of dangerous weapons around him. There need to be more big plays and more impact runs, and this group should do it.
Unit Rating: 7.5
Projected Starters: As the only returning starter to the receiving corps, junior Wes Kemp has to grow into a No. 1 role at the Z position. At 6-4 and 225 pounds he has excellent size to go along with just enough speed to work at the outside X position from time to time, but he has to do far more after making 23 catches for 418 yards and three scores. He only caught more than two passes in four games and had his high game of four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Illinois.
Junior Jerrell Jackson is a 6-1, 190-pound speedster with nice skills and smooth running ability. Used a bit as a runner and also as a No. 3 target, he made 37 catches for 458 yards and two touchdowns highlighted by an eight-catch, 142-yard, one score performance against Iowa State. He became a bigger part of the passing game as the season went on and should be a threat to be the team's most dangerous receiver at the H.
Taking over at the outside X will be sophomore Rolandis Woodland, a 6-3, 200-pound prospect who got a little bit of work last year making five catches for 26 yards (with four of those coming in the final three games). While it's asking too much for him to be another Danario Alexander right away, he has the same build and skills to blossom as a dangerous deep threat.
Hampered by an ankle injury early on, Michael Egnew ended up seeing a little bit of time making three catches for 25 yards working both as a tight end and a receiver. Now he's healthy and he has the size and the talent to become the next top Tiger tight end talent with 6-6, 225-pound size and wide receiver athleticism.
Projected Top Reserves: True freshman Marcus Lucas has the ability to be a No. 1 star right away. At 6-5 and 205 pounds, the size is there to create major matchup problems, and he has the athleticism to make big plays deep at the outside X. A star this offseason, he's going to make a push for playing time and if this offseason was any indication, he could be the offense's breakout star.
Is sophomore T.J. Moe a defensive back or a receiver? The 6-0, 190-pounder was the 2008 Missouri Player of the Year running for 2,029 yards and 30 touchdowns and threw for 2,557 yards and 31 scores. A phenomenal all-around athlete, he has been out of commission for the last two years recovering from a broken foot, but now he's healthy and ready to roll. A star this spring at the H, he should be a reliable pass catcher and a weapon who'll get the ball in his hands in a variety of ways.
Trying to get over a shoulder injury to be a factor at tight end is Andrew Jones , a 6-5, 235-pound junior who only caught eight passes for 43 yards after making 20 grabs for 146 yards as a true freshman. Very talented, a decent blocker, and with tremendous upside as a receiver, he should shine this fall once he's finally healthy.
Watch Out For … Woodland. He'll get his chances to hit the home run on a regular basis, and while he might disappear for long stretches, the ability is there to be a game-changer at the outside X position.
Strength: Size. Missouri has no problem getting big, fast targets who look the NFL part (even if they don't have the same skills). Woodland is 6-3 and 200 pounds, Jackson is a strong 6-1 and 190, and Kemp is 6-4 and 225 pounds. There's more size among the reserves.
Weakness: Danario Alexander. When one receiver catches 113 of the 274 completions, he'll be missed. Throw in the loss of No. 2 receiver, Jared Perry, and the Tigers have a bit of an experience and production gap to deal with.
Outlook: Last year the receiving corps had to get over the loss of Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman, and this year there are more replacements to be made. The team simply reloads with great new players, and there are several waiting for their chance to shine. So who's going to be the new No. 1 to step up and star? The chances will be there for someone to take the Danario Alexander/Jeremy Maclin job by the horns.
Unit Rating: 7
Projected Starters: Missouri has become a factory for strong centers, and senior Tim Barnes is keeping up the tradition. The 6-4, 310-pounder had a good season in the middle of the Tiger line, but he wasn't elite and didn't step up his play quite as much as expected. Even so, he has lived up to his billing as one of the team's top recruits a few years ago as he has grown into the job. While he'll get more of a look at guard at the next level, he should be an all-star center in his final season at Mizzou.
Barnes might be the leader of the line, but junior Elvis Fisher is the burgeoning star. The honorable mention All-Big 12 performer started every game as a freshman and was a rock again last year getting the call in all 13 games at left tackle. At 6-5 and 300 pounds he has a good frame and he moves extremely well in pass protection as a polished, consistent pass protector. As long as a banged up shoulder doesn't give him a problem, he'll be an all-star.
Honorable mention All-Big 12 junior Dan Hoch started every game at right tackle, and he's just scratching the surface of his talent. Very tall with a great frame that's hard to get around, he's excellent against speed rushers and is improving as a run blocker. The Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year in 2007 was considered by everyone to be the top prospect coming out of Iowa in 2008, and he has shown he could play from the moment he stepped on the field.
A nice backup over the last few years, junior Jayson Palmgren is ready to take over a bigger role at right guard. However, he has the unenviable task of replacing all-star Kurtis Gregory, the anchor of the line over the last few seasons. The 6-2, 305-pounder is a strong run blocker with mauling skills, but he has to keep developing. He has to show early on that he can handle the bigger role.
Junior Austin Wuebbles is a two-time, first-team All-Academic Big 12 star, but now he has to be an all-star on the field, too. The 6-4, 305-pound right guard started every game last year and was steady, but not so great that he can't be pushed for playing time. While he's a nice run blocker, he's at his best in pass protection with good quickness and lateral movement. He should be a steady producer for another two years.
Projected Top Reserves: Redshirt freshman Justin Britt had a terrific offseason and appears to be ready for playing time sooner than later. The 6-6, 270-pounder is built for tackle, and he might move back to his natural position, but he'll work at left guard where he'll push Austin Wuebbles for the job. He might be young, but he's extremely talented and he's ready to get some work.
6-6, 305-pound sophomore Jack Meiners was one of just two true freshmen to see time on the O line in the Gary Pinkel era. With the ability to move around where needed, Meiners will likely start the season as the backup left tackle, but he has the ability to go to the right side, too. A great prospect, he'll be one of the first players in the rotation on the outside to get him more work, but he's ready to start now.
Sophomore Travis Ruth will spend the year working behind Tim Barnes at center before likely taking over next year. The 6-3, 305-pounder can play guard, too, but he's too valuable in the middle and appears to be the next in line of great Mizzou centers. He got in a little work last year, but he spent the rest of his first season getting bigger and stronger. Now he's ready to take over if needed.
Watch Out For … Britt. He's not necessarily going to push Wuebbels out of the left guard job, but he has been good enough to get a long look at playing time somewhere. He could shine at tackle when given more of a shot.
Strength: Pass protection. The Tigers allowed just 20 sacks in 467 pass attempts, and they should be even better with Fisher and Hoch back on the outside. They'll give up sacks here and there, but they're steady bookends to work around.
Weakness: Consistent run blocking. The Tigers have the talent and the experience, and now the ground game has to work on a more regular basis. The passing game was so proficient that the running attack often took a back seat, but there's no excuse for the backs to average just 3.7 yards per carry.
Outlook: All-star guard Kurtis Gregory is gone, but everyone else is back from a line that was good last year in pass protection, but wasn't strong enough on a consistent basis for the ground game. There are plenty of talented players about to emerge as stars, and even though this is a veteran bunch, there's only one senior starter with four juniors manning the other four spots. As always, the Mizzou line will be a plus.
Unit Rating: 8
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2010 Missouri Defense |
Missouri Depth Chart
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