1) Missouri won a football game 34-24 over Central Michigan on Saturday. We have already covered a lot of aspects about that. But here’s a big thing that I think is being lost, especially on defense. This is the very first game in a new scheme for a team that is still relatively young. Missouri played 25 players for at least one defensive snap. Of those 25, 21 played at least ten snaps. Of that group, I’d consider 10 of them experienced. My qualification for experienced is this: They’ve been a significant contributor for one year or more at Missouri at the position they played on Saturday. So that means half the guys that got significant playing time on Saturday were either: Getting it for the first time, getting it for the first time at Missouri, getting it for the first time at the position they played, or often a combination of those three factors.
Someone told me last week, “You might look up after four games and think we’re not good on defense and then look up in week six or seven and think, hang on now.” In other words, thinking this defense was going to be in mid-season form on day one simply doesn’t make any sense. Now, you can still argue that even if they weren’t in midseason form you’d hoped for better than what it was against CMU. That’s up for debate. The 475 yards is quite a bit, but Missouri gave up only 24 points, had 9 sacks, forced two turnovers and played well enough to win. I’d say it was a solid B or B- effort defensively.
2) Looking at the same experience qualifications on offense, here’s what I come up with: Missouri played 21 players on offense. Just 17 of them played ten snaps or more (oddly, one of those who didn’t was Boo Smith, who started). Of those 17, I’d qualify 11 of them as experienced. So Mizzou is more experienced on offense than defense. Four of those who fall into the “inexperienced” category are Dominic Lovett, Mookie Cooper, Elijah Young and Chance Luper. I’d look for significant contributions from all four this season. So I think like most teams you can expect some improvement throughout the season as those guys get more comfortable. But simply looking at the experience factor, I think Missouri is closer to being a finished product on offense than it is on defense.
3) Given the improvement you’d expect to see, especially on defense, I wonder if Missouri would like to flip the schedule.
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