2008 Missouri Tigers Football Preview
Mizzou 2007 Record: (12-2, 7-1 Big 12)
2007 Bowl: Cotton Bowl vs. Arkansas (W 38-7)
Missouri Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (49-37 at Missouri, 122-74-3 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Christensen
Defensive Coordinator: Matt Eberflus
Other Key Returnees: LB Van Alexander, CB Castine Bridges, LB Brock Christopher, TE Chase Coffman, S Justin Garrett, LB Sean Weatherspoon
Key Losses: WR William Franklin, OT Tyler Luellen, TE Martin Rucker, C Adam Spiker, RB Tony Temple, CB Darnell Terrell, DT Lorenzo Williams
Coach Gary Pinkel and his Missouri Tigers launched themselves into the national spotlight last year by winning the Big XII North and hanging around the national championship picture until December when they lost to the conference championship game to Oklahoma. With 14 starters returning, a dynamic offense and one of the leagues best defenses, Missouri will shoot for a BCS Bowl this year.
Quarterback Chase Daniel threw for 4,306 yards and 33 touchdowns as a junior and will once again lead the way for Missouri. Daniel’s favorite target, Jeremy Maclin, is back after having an amazing freshman campaign and there are plenty more receiving targets like Tommy Saunders, Danario Alexander and tight end Chase Coffman who are ready for a big year. Despite the explosive offense, the Tiger’s success comes from their defense. It is not flashy or even that spectacular, but in the Big XII only giving up 23 points per game is quite impressive. Stryker Sulak and Ziggy Hood will do a good job getting into the backfield and all three linebackers return, led by Sean Weatherspoon. The secondary needs to replace a couple starters, but players like Castine Bridges and Hardy Ricks are ready to play a bigger role.
A majority of the losses are on offense and finding a replacement for running back Tony Temple is tops on the list of things to do during the offseason. Jimmy Jackson performed well in a reserve role last year, managing nearly five yards per carry and reaching the endzone seven times. Jackson has good speed, but he will get plenty of competition from sophomore Derrick Washington and redshirt freshman De’Vion Moore. Both showed plenty of promise during the spring and if all three keep improving, the running back situation could be even better without Temple. The offensive line was great last season and replacing center Adam Spieker and tackle Tyler Luellen will not be easy. Inexperienced Tim Barnes will likely take over the center spot and the unit needs to mesh quickly if the Tigers want their offense to be even more productive than it was last season.
The Bottom Line for the Tigers:
One year of big success changes everything. Nobody had Mizzou circled on their schedule last year. But now the target is on their back and everybody knows that to win the Big XII one has to go through Columbia. If Missouri goes out and plays their game, they can get to the BCS game they missed out on last season, or even the National Championship. But if the pressure gets to them, the Tigers could tally a couple losses with trips to Nebraska and Texas on the schedule.
2007 Missouri Tigers Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 176.21 (38th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 314.07 (9, 3)
Total Offense: 490.29 (5, 2)
Scoring Offense: 39.86 (8, 4)
Rushing Defense: 122.07 (25, 4)
Pass Defense: 256.86 (96, 7)
Total Defense: 378.93 (59, 5)
Scoring Defense: 23.29 (37, 3)
Turnover Margin: .93 (11, 2)
Sacks: 2.21 (52, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.50 (31, 8)
By Joel Welser
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