#35 Missouri Football 2012 Preview

Missouri Tigers

2012 Overall Rank: #35
#9 SEC
Missouri College Football 2012 Team Preview
Missouri Team Page


Missouri has been in the mix in the Big 12 for the last few seasons.  They have not won the conference, but they have certainly put up stellar numbers and posted good records. Gary Pinkel has the spread offense raging in Columbia.  Quarterbacks like Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert have put up huge numbers under his tutelage.  Stars have been born out of Missouri’s system.  It will be interesting to see if it works in the SEC as SEC schools generally do not look at an offense that is pass first.  The transition will be tricky.  

2011 Record: (8-5)
2011 Bowl:  Independence Bowl vs North Carolina (W 41-24)
Coach: Gary Pinkel (85-54 at Missouri, 158-91-3 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: David Yost
Defensive Coordinator:  Dave Steckel

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Henry Josey, RB, 1,168 yards
Passing: James Franklin, QB, 2,865 yards
Receiving: T.J. Moe, WR, 649 yards
Tackles: Andrew Wilson, LB, 98
Sacks: Brad Madison, DL, 4.5
Interceptions: E.J. Gaines, DB, 2; Zaviar Gooden, LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Kendial Lawrence, WR Marcus Lucas, DL Brayden Burnett

Key Losses: TE Michael Egnew, DL Jaquies Smith, S Kenji Jackson, DL Dominique Hamilton, DL Brad Madison, K/P Trey Barrow

Interestingly enough, Missouri’s best offense was the running game.  The receivers forced defenses to cover which opened up holes for Henry Josey to the tune of nearly 1,200 yards.  His effectiveness helps out the rest of the offense.  The Tigers racked up 475 yards per game, 12th best average in the country.  However, Josey is expected to redshirt this season after tearing up his left knee. Josey could potentially be back by the end of the season, but it is unlikely.  That leaves Kendial Lawrence as Missouri’s main rushing threat.  He rushed for 566 yards and five scores in 2011, but is not at the same level as Josey.  Even with a solid year by Lawrence, the Tigers will be scrambling to find a secondary rusher to do what Lawrence did last year.  Quarterback James Franklin returns from a respectable season looking to pump up his numbers a bit.  The defense was in the top three within the Big 12 in rushing defense and scoring defense.  They held teams to under 24 points per game (in a high-flying offensive league).  They also rarely turned the ball over, keeping them in close games.

The defense’s main drawback was in the secondary.  There are a lot of pass-happy teams in the Big 12 so it is difficult to stop everything.  But the Tigers gave up over 250 yards per game.  The entire defensive unit gave up 380 yards per contest.  That would wear out any defense.  Safety Kenji Jackson was the leading interceptor in 2011.  He has moved on.  Someone will have to step up and generate turnovers to reverse fortune on that side of the ball.  Missouri was generally in the middle of pack in the Big 12 in most other facets of the game.  They would do well to start generating more sacks.  They averaged two per game in 2011.  Going against SEC quarterbacks could provide them with some opportunities to get after the passer as long as other teams are throwing the ball frequently.

The Bottom Line:
Missouri is a good program and Pinkel has a good thing going.  He gets really good players to come in and he knows how to coach up unknown prospects into stud Division I contributors.  However, this switch to the SEC could spell trouble for the Tigers.  Though the SEC is unfamiliar with this style of offense, Missouri has not quite seen defenses like this week in and week out.  If the passing attack gets shut down, then the rushing attack suffers.  Lawrence needs to pound away in order to get something going.  It will be fun to see how Missouri fairs this coming season.  Winning eight games again would be a welcome result at the end of the fall.

Projected Bowl:  Liberty Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 244.00 (9th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense:  231.54 (64, 6)
Total Offense: 475.54 (12, 5)
Scoring Offense: 32.85 (30, 6)
Rushing Defense: 127.38 (29, 3)
Pass Defense: 252.62 (94, 5)
Total Defense: 380.00 (61, 4)
Scoring Defense: 23.54 (44, 3)
Turnover Margin: .23 (40, 4)
Sacks: 2.00 (54, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (33, 4)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#91 Sheldon Richardson

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#1 Dorial Green-Beckham
#93 Evan Boehm