Following a 1-2 start to Missouri’s football season, offensive coordinator Josh Heupel found the problem with the Tigers’ offense: It’s everyone.
When a team is struggling to do anything right, much like the Missouri Tigers have over the last two weeks, coaches and players alike find ways to identify the problem, and then (hopefully) correct it.
Such was the case on Monday, when Tigers’ OC Josh Heupel identified Missouri’s problems on offense as “everyone,” but him, or so it seems.
In an interview with Dave Matter of The St. Louis Dispatch, Heupel made the generic cliches that all coaches and players alike generally make, regardless if the season is tanking or the team is undefeated, or somewhere in between.
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We’ve heard them all. “We came out and played as a team; at the end of the day, they played better than we did, and made a few more plays than we did to seal the win,” etc.
Most interestingly, Heupel seemed to point to all of his players on offense, but never owned any responsibility, even though he’s only the one calling the plays.
"It was everybody on offense. Offensive football, you’ve heard me say it all the time, it’s 11 guys operating as one. Everybody kind of took their turn the other day. When you do that you’re not going to be very successful. That’s why we didn’t move the football and have any rhythm or consistency on offense."
As I read more of Matter’s article though, I began to see why Heupel may even be reluctant to accept any part of the responsibility: This is new territory for him.
According to Matter, this is only the fourth game in Heupel’s career, in a supporting role, where the offense was held to a single-digit score.
Heupel is neither accustomed to embarrassing losses, or an offense which doesn’t average 36 points per game. Against Missouri State, Heupel probably thought he had the offense worked out for Mizzou.
If that’s the case, then there’s a very minute part of me that thinks, maybe the offense will get its act together, and will come out of this awful slump it finds itself in. But then, there’s the rest of me that says, “Nope, this is Missouri this year, and until anything changes, it will be status quo.”
I can’t completely buy into Heupel’s deflection of responsibility, though, because this isn’t his first year on Missouri’s coaching staff. Interestingly, while Heupel was taking his unit down a notch or two, head coach Barry Odom was trying to keep the team united.
This really looks like a disorganized communications mess among the coaching staff, or at the very least between Odom and his offensive coordinator. If that’s the case, then it’s just another reason why Missouri has to make some changes, and they need to come as swiftly as possible.