Missouri Football: Ways the Tigers can avoid embarrassment at Kentucky

COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 2: Quarterback Drew Lock
COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 2: Quarterback Drew Lock /
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COLUMBIA, MO – SEPTEMBER 2: Damarea Crockett
COLUMBIA, MO – SEPTEMBER 2: Damarea Crockett /

Patrick McHugh

Missouri should stick mostly with running the football, because’ Kentucky’s defensive secondary is its strength. The Wildcats cover well, and manage to come up with interceptions. Any time Lock faces a good secondary, he has a bad day.

I think the Tigers should give the ball to running backs Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree early and often. Ish Witter seems to be struggling, and every time Rountree touches the ball, he makes positive plays.

With wide receiver Dimetrios Mason’s departure from the team, other receivers, like Nate Brown, will have an opportunity to shine, because Mason wasn’t producing at all.

Finally, I hope the defense focused on tackling over the bye week, because they haven’t tackled well, and will get manhandled by Snell and Co. Kentucky employs a run-first offense, so if Mizzou contains the run well enough, then the Tigers may have a shot to make it a game.

On the sidelines, both coaching staffs will be playing their own chess match. If it comes down to coaching wits, then I think Barry Odom will get out-coached by Bob Stoops.

Kentucky 34, Missouri 13

Eric Quackenbush

A precedent must be set tonight. If players make bad plays, then there has to be consequences. This isn’t a first or second week of the season ball game. Missouri is playing its third conference game of the season in week six.

COLUMBIA, MO – SEPTEMBER 23: Wide receiver Johnathon Johnson
COLUMBIA, MO – SEPTEMBER 23: Wide receiver Johnathon Johnson /

Quarterback Drew Lock is a junior, now. The mistakes he is making yet again this year, are inexcusable. For the talented young man that he has shown he can be, it’s alarming that he still can’t play well against the upper echelon of SEC programs.

Lock has to make smart plays. While this defense isn’t tops in the league, it’s still a very good defense. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel should dial up more twin tight end sets on passing downs and have receivers run shorter routes that keep the ball close, so that Lock doesn’t telegraph the ball to the wrong team.

Better communication with his receivers and less predictable plays from the sideline could go a long way to make this a more competitive effort than we’ve seen from the Tigers. The receivers also have to do their part in securing the ball after the catch – in order to do that, they must also make the catch, first.

I am a firm believer that the old style of ground-and-pound football is the most successful, when a team has the right personnel to execute. Missouri has the right personnel to affect time of possession and at least a couple of scoring drives in their favor.

On the ground, I think the Tigers need to get Crockett involved in the game early, and feed him the ball for a while. Larry Rountree has shown that he can be effective as a third-and-medium option when the offense needs a conversion.

Next: Missouri hits the road for Kentucky

Defensively, the best chance Missouri has is to make Kentucky beat them through the air. If the defensive front and linebackers can put up enough of an effort, they might be able to keep the Wildcats under control on the ground, which would be acceptable, if the offense can gain positive yards.

Kentucky 43, Missouri 21