The State of Mizzou by Dan Irwin

So, welcome back to Tiger athletics. Even if you’re looking to take a mini-vacation from all the outlandish things that took place around the program this past year, you’re going to be saddened with the amount of cultural references that will socially bury this squad.

The distinct leader of the team, Gary Pinkel–with all of his foresight and experience–is gone. In his place are the men he trained for just such an occasion, with the obvious lamb being former player Barry Odom.

It’s so simple; just don’t lose bad. Don’t be the Bob Stull Tigers from 1992 that lose by 70 points, and everything will be okay. But making any kind of claim with the current offense that Mizzou is boasting, could be a reach.

Offense is “meh,” while the defense could be on a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ type level. Even with the dismissals of Harold Brantley and Walter Brady, the Mizzou defense appears to be good enough to still run a 3-4 scheme (with three defenders on the line of scrimmage, and four players on the second level).

The running back spot has gotten some help from Oklahoma transfer Alex Ross, who currently sits at the top of the running back hierarchy, just ahead of Ish Witter. Ross’ inate ability will shine for Mizzou, possibly in the Tigers’ first game against West Virginia on September 3.

What should Tiger fans expect? Here’s a good nugget in the midst of sadness; a better receiving game. Sophomore quarterback Drew Lock has looked very good at points throwing the ball during the spring. His receivers have looked better…than last year.

IF Missouri can open up a running game, they stand a chance to beat a West Virginia team who lost a lot of key players in the off-season. There’s no doubt about it; this is the year you want to be playing West Virginia, especially when they’re vulnerable.

Missouri is rising. If their newly-confident offense can work on any kind of level like they believe they are capable of playing at, it could be another long year in the SEC East. €€

Dan Irwin is the Editor of the Mizzou Report. Follow him on Twitter @irwinsports.

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