For any Missouri Tigers fan, the 2010 season should be considered a success. Despite losing to Iowa in the Insight Bowl, the Tigers finished the season 10-3, including key wins over Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The key to the Tigers’ success was quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2011 NFL draft. Now, the door is open for sophomore quarterback, James Franklin.
As previously stated, the Tigers’ offense now belongs to dual-threat quarterback, James Franklin. The new starting quarterback should not have many problems, however, mainly because of the fact that he has talented receiver, TJ Moe. Moe is any quarterback’s favorite receiver, as he has great hands and runs routes well, much like New England Patriots receiver, Wes Welker. The junior slot receiver finished 2010 with 92 receptions for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns.
Missouri’s starting tight end, Michael Egnew, will also help Franklin make the transition into the starting role, as he is a hybrid tight end, which means he can line up next to an offensive tackle, or he can line up as a receiver in the slot. In 2010, Egnew had 90 receptions for 762 yards and five touchdowns, which are pretty impressive numbers for a tight end.
Another key asset for Franklin is senior running back, De’Vion Moore. The returning starter led the Tigers in rushing last season, with 543 yards and eight touchdowns. The Tigers also have two other running backs, Henry Josey and Kendial Lawrence, who contributed on offense last year and will give the Tigers a balanced rushing attack.
From the days of Chase Daniel, to the days of Blaine Gabbert, the Missouri Tigers have been known as an offensive team. However, the Tigers’ defense broke out in 2010, allowing just 16.1 ppg and 203 passing yards per game. Those impressive stats were mainly because of key defensive players such as Aldon Smith, Andrew Gachkar, and Kevin Rutland. However, none of those players returned to the team in 2011, which means that several incoming players will have huge roles on defense.
Players such as Zaviar Gooden (85 tackles in 2010) and Kenji Jackson (3.5 tackles for loss in 2010) will have to step it up for the Tigers this season, as the team faces schools with highly potent offenses, such as Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State.
With a slew of newcomers on defense, Missouri Tigers fans will just have to wait and see if they can compete with the top teams in the Big 12.
Sept. 3 vs Miami (Oh)
Sept. 9 @ Arizona St
Sep. 17 vs Western Illinois
Sept. 24 @ Oklahoma
Oct. 8 @ Kansas St
Oct. 15 vs Iowa St
Oct. 22 vs Oklahoma State
Oct. 29 @ Texas A&M
Nov. 5 @ Baylor
Nov. 12 vs Texas
Nov. 19 vs Texas Tech
Nov. 26 vs Kansas (played in Kansas City)
The Tigers’ roster is a lot more talented than the experts are saying it is. Quarterback James Franklin could be highly successful in an offense with TJ Moe and Michael Egnew. However, the Tigers will likely fall victims to their schedule, as some of their toughest games are on the road, including Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Arizona St, and Baylor. Despite the tough schedule, I expect the Tigers to finish at 8-4, with a possibility of being 9-3.