Anchored down: Coaching to blame for Mizzou’s struggles?

It’s time to ponder whether Mizzou football has a prayer of making a bowl game this season.  It was an afterthought before the season began, as the Missouri fanbase was convinced that the Tigers would be able to replicate their recent success.  

However, signs of futility were first noticed in the UConn game, as the Tigers struggled to move the ball and needed some good fortune to squeak out a 9-6 win.  The story of Mizzou is starkly different than it was 5 or 10 years ago.  Back then, the offense ruled the game with dynamic playmakers, and a playbook that utilized that talent.  The defense only had to keep pace with the opposition on the way to a likely victory.  Now, the exact opposite is the case.  The defense is vaunted, dynamic, and full of playmakers.  The issue is the offense cannot keep pace with the likes of Kentucky, or in today’s game, lowly Vanderbilt, whose student body would struggle to name their last SEC victory.  Lowly is becoming an accurate description of the Missouri football program.  

Josh Henson

The play-calling has been bland and predictable, the offensive line play has been erratic, and the offensive side of the ball is increasingly moribund.  Maty Mauk was vilified by the fan base for making bad decisions, throwing into traffic, and being generally disappointing.  From there, the genesis of the Drew Lock era began, and it’s not much better.  Lock has the look and the arm and the talent, but has little supporting cast to put those traits on display.  Receivers cannot get open with any regularity, blocking has been suspect, and the running game hasn’t opened up the opposing defense to the pass.  Frustration has set in, and this season looks like a lost cause.  

I can understand that a young quarterback can struggle with implementing a college-level offense.  How many times have we seen a great college quarterback struggle mightily in their rookie professional season?  The exceptions to the rule are few and far between.  However, I’m becoming increasingly suspicious of the coaching taking place on the offensive side of the ball.  I would say with some certainty that Lock has the ability level of a young Chase Daniel.  The talent level of the receivers and linemen are also better, at least on paper.  Daniel was a master of the comeback route, the quick release, the slant.  Why aren’t these same plays being called with Lock?  Given the struggles of the offensive line protecting the Quarterback, why are there 20 yard out-routes being called?  Why is the running game being abandoned during the 2nd quarter?  Is Josh Henson the long-term answer as the OC, or is Gary Pinkel just keeping him around out of loyalty?  

As we speak, the two time defending SEC East champions look like a shell of their former selves.  The good news is:  there’s always next year.  Hopefully some fundamental changes come to the program from a recruiting and scheme perspective on the offensive side of the ball.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *