Missouri Tigers Football Season Preview History
2011 Missouri Football Preview:
Mizzou had a different offseason than any other BCS school. When head coach Gary Pinkel put his team on a bus in May, it wasn’t to practice—it was to help to victims of the Joplin tornado tragedy. What they lost in conditioning time, however, the Missouri Tigers gained in camaraderie. Even with a veteran team like this, that might be just as important and weights and wind sprints.
Unfortunately for Pinkel, the superstar position is one of the few that is in need of a refresh. Blane Gabbert is now playing Sundays for Jacksonville, so the quarterback entering the season will be sophomore James Franklin. He has the most experience out of the very green QB crop, although two of the competitors, freshman Corbin Berkstresser and sophomore Ashton Glaser, were both All-State and look to challenge Franklin in spring camp. Whoever is under center, a healthy run game will help him ease into the routine better—and that’s where juniors De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence come in. The team rushed for an average of 194 rushing yards the last half of 2010, so it will look to at least start the year running more than passing, even if all the receiving corps is back from last season.
Defensively, the Tigers led the Big-12 and ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense. Luckily for them, the core of the unit will return and look to again dominate. On the front line, senior Dominique Hamilton will look to improve the team numbers after a season cut short by an ankle injury. Injuries also rattled the linbacking corps, which gave the newbies a chance to gain experience. The leader will still be Zaviar Gooden, who was rewarded with an 2010 honorable mention All-Big 12 selection after leading the team in tackles.
2010 Missouri Football Preview:
Missouri endured a difficult three-game losing streak in the middle of the season last year but was able to finish with an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Texas Bowl. The Tigers have the potential to eclipse that mark this year and contend for the Big 12 North title.
The offense will be lead by junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who had an impressive sophomore campaign by throwing for 24 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. The loss of a good chunk of wide receivers will be a challenge for Gabbert - the Tigers return only Wes Kemp from last year's starting lineup.
Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel has an impressive front seven, anchored by sophomore defensive end Aldon Smith, who racked up a school-record 11.5 sacks as freshman. The Tigers have a wealth of talent at linebacker as well. Junior Will Ebner and senior Andrew Gachkar both bring a significant amount of experience with them, and should be solid up the middle.
Missouri has a fairly easy non-conference schedule with games against McNeese State and San Diego State, plus they do not have to play Big 12 powerhouse Texas. If the Tigers can survive an October 30 date at Nebraska, it would not be too much of a stretch to pencil them in for the conference championship game.