2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Missouri Offense
Tweak the offense around the player, and not the other way around.
Drew Lock was an NFL passer with the right size, arm and skills, but Kelly Bryant is more accurate – at least he was at Clemson.
The Mizzou offense is loaded with dangerous weapons and playmakers, and Bryant has the skills to make them all shine. However, the offense has to be ready to adapt and adjust a wee bit.
The Tiger transfer to the new Tigers completed 66% of his throws in his 29 games of work for his old school, but he wasn’t the downfield bomber Lock was. On the flip side, Lock was a decent runner, but Bryant will add something totally different to the attack.
Bryant might be coming to Mizzou to 1) play and 2) be groomed by offensive coordinator Derek Dooley to become a stronger pro prospect. However, Bryant is way too mobile and and way too dangerous a runner to not be used for all he can do.
Biggest Key To The Missouri Defense
Okay, Missouri secondary – it’s time to show up. It starts with getting more pressure from a defensive front that only came up with 27 sacks, but that’s nothing new. The Tiger D has been just okay at generating consistent pressure over the last four years since Shane Ray and company came up with 44 sacks in 2014.
The secondary has to do its part, though, too.
The Tigers came up with just ten interceptions on the season – two in the first six games – and were hit for 200 yards or more in nine of the last 11 games. They were able to beat Purdue despite getting ripped up for 572 yards and three scores – but that was the aberration.
Oklahoma State was able to bomb away for 333 yards and four touchdowns in the bowl win, and Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa were able come up with big pass play after big pass play.
Worst of all, the defense melted down late against a passing-challenged Kentucky team in the 15-14 loss.
How much does this matter? Missouri went 4-0 last year when allowing fewer than 200 passing yards, and was 7-2 over the last three seasons when doing that.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Kelly Bryant, Sr.
Drew Lock is the prototype pro-style quarterback in terms of size and tools, right? He’s 6-4 and 227 pounds with a live, accurate arm. Bryant is 6-3 and 225 pounds with a live, accurate arm. – and a whole lot more mobility.
Bryant might have only thrown 13 touchdown passes in his big 2017 season as he led Clemson to the College Football Playoff No. 1 seed, but he also fit what the offense needed. No, he’s not the talent that Trevor Lawrence is, and he might not be the downfield passer Lock was for Mizzou, but he’s a great-sized, mobile veteran quarterback with something to prove.
If he can use all his experience and all his skills to push for around 3,000 passing yards and run for around 300, the offense won’t skip a beat.
Key Game To The Missouri Season
South Carolina, Sept. 21
Missouri has to be able to come up with the winnable SEC home game before stepping up the competition level.
The Tigers have lost three in a row to South Carolina, but this year this is their SEC opener with SE Missouri State the week before. Last year, this came off a loss to Georgia. On the flip side, the Gamecocks have to face Alabama before coming to Columbia, MO.
Considering there’s a week off to follow and Troy, Ole Miss, at Vanderbilt and at Kentucky up next, a win over USC should mean a massive start before getting a week off to get ready for Georgia.
– Missouri Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Missouri Fun Stats
– 3rd Down Conversions: Missouri 96-for-207 (46%) – Opponents 63-for-184 (34%)
– Rushing TDs: Missouri 27 – Opponents 11
– Punt Return Average: Opponents 10.1 yards – Missouri 2.6 yards