Missouri Tigers football grades well in spring game

Nov 27, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Ish Witter (21) rushes against the Arkansas Razorbacks defense during the second quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Ish Witter (21) rushes against the Arkansas Razorbacks defense during the second quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

The Missouri Tigers Black and Gold spring football game was as successful as it could be, and Mizzou graded well enough in its exhibition game.

Today we’ll grade-out how the Tigers did on all aspects of their spring performance, while keeping in mind that the results shouldn’t be considered “all-inclusive.” This is merely a sample of where Mizzou stands now.

Quarterbacks – B+

Considering the performance of all three quarterbacks, I give the unit a B+. While Drew Lock didn’t shine, he did show some improvement in accuracy and timing on some short bullet passes, and did not throw any picks.

Missouri Tigers Football
Missouri Tigers Football /

Missouri Tigers Football

Lock’s long balls were often thrown just out of reach of his intended targets, but that may also be a result of him and receivers shaking off the dust. I still believe that Lock will show improvement come this fall, and even he acknowledged that he still has to work on the finer points of his game. The starting job is his to lose.

Quarterback Jack Lowary had a decent outing in the spring game. Lowary threw for the least number of passes than his counterparts, completing 8 of 15 for 113 yards. He also had some well-placed deep passes which seemed to just drop right in his targets’ hands.

Lowary only threw one pick, which occurred late in the fourth quarter, but he still finished the day with a 191.7 quarterback rating.

Quarterback Micah Wilson also showed a lot of promise, and could turn out to be a hidden gem on the Tigers’ roster, completing both short and long passes with good accuracy.

Wilson also tossed an interception late in the game, but still finished with a 71.4 QB rating.

Running backs – B

This position is a little tricky to grade, because it was without starters Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter. Not to worry though, according to head coach Barry Odom, their absence was a precautionary measure to guard against unnecessary injury.

So loosely, I would grade the running backs with a “B.” They still totaled 158 yards on the ground, but had Witter or Crockett been in the lineup, the backs would have probably blown the doors off of the defense.

Receivers – B-

There were highs and lows among the spring game’s receiving core. There were some outstanding catches, and some great connections on quick slant passes, but then there were also the dropped passes that haunted Mizzou’s passing attack in 2016.

J’Mon Moore was one actor in one of the dropped passes, a long bomb from quarterback Drew Lock, which slipped through his hands. While Moore was covered by a defensive back, the pass still looked fairly catchable.

Receiver Richaud Floyd had a good day, catching all four passes thrown his way for a total of 50 yards receiving. But the bigger plays came on scoring passes caught by Emanuel Hall, who hauled in a pair of touchdowns for the team.

If Missouri’s offense is going to be successful this year, the receivers are going to need to shore-up the passing game, in addition to Drew Lock working on fine-tuning those “almost” deep passes.

Defensive Line – A-

I really feel like the defensive line worked hard at putting pressure on the quarterback, and limiting the run game. The defensive line earned an A- due to this being a glorified exhibition game.

While the running backs gained 158 yards, a lot of those were big, explosive plays. The defense will have to work on limiting the explosive plays, but overall, the running backs were kept in check.

There were also few two-handed sacks on the quarterbacks, which may be a nod toward guys not going full-tilt in a spring game, so the ease of the defense to pressure the quarterback may have been slightly skewed.

Defensive Secondary – B

The defensive secondary showed promise late in the game, with two interceptions, and a stripped catch in the endzone.

The secondary also brought pressure on the quarterback, earning a sack late in the second quarter.

Overall, the defensive secondary played a respectable game. It’s difficult to accurately grade the secondary’s performance, as a lot of plays which would ordinarily go the other way, were whistled dead, due to the type of game.

The biggest areas for potential problems for the secondary are speed and the potential to commit some pass interference penalties. Otherwise, the secondary seems to be coming along into DeMontie Cross’s system.

Special Teams – A-

Special teams’ play really shined. Punter Corey Fatony pinned punts way back near the endzone, and kicker Tucker McCann nailed all three extra point attempts, and a 47-yard field goal attempt.

You might be thinking, no big deal, they should always produce that well. However, it was a windy day, which should give the Tigers a little more confidence in their special teams personnel.

My only concern is the punt and kick returners ability to secure the ball after the catch, and in some cases, catch the ball. Right now, that is a glaring problem which could make easy gains for an opponent to get an edge, which Missouri should have worked-out by the fall.