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Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks: Checking in on Mizzou's Offense

A couple of quick notes on Mizzou's offense headed into the weekend showdown:

--To me, the most notable thing about the Georgia-Mizzou game was that for all the talk about Mizzou's high-flying offense, the Tigers looked fairly pedestrian in their showcase game. They did gain over 370 yards, but about half of those yards came on a trio of big plays, and the Tigers had several three-and-out drives and couldn't seem to move the chains consistently to save their lives. The Dawgs had trouble moving the ball at times (particularly early on), too, partially thanks to Mizzou's strong defensive effort (more on that tomorrow), but UGA still owned time of possession by 5+ minutes. When you take that into consideration, it's little surprise that the Tigers struggled late in the game. Their defense was gassed, and Georgia's was fresh. That's a recipe for disaster. To be successful against a team of UGA's quality, you really need to be able to control the ball with some level consistency. Why did the Tigers struggle? The young, injury-plagued offensive line would seem to have been the main culprit. It struggled to contain players like Jarvis Jones, particularly as the game wore on. Things probably won't get much better for the group against Carolina. The Gamecocks defensive line is currently living in opposing backfields, and we're only giving up around 50 rushing yards per game. Sacks and no running game are no way to cure the problems that ail Mizzou. Getting the mobile James Franklin back might help some in this regard, but it won't solve all their problems.

--The flip side of the idea that Mizzou is a feast-or-famine offense is that they'll be playing against a short-handed Carolina secondary that may be vulnerable to a team with some serious talent at receiver. With D.J. Swearinger out, T.J. Gurley will get the start at Swearinger's safety position. Gurley is a good player that the staff has very high hopes for, but I'm not sure how comfortable I am with having a freshman in the last level against a team with as much explosive potential as Mizzou. Swearinger's absence also hurts us because Swearinger plays cornerback in our dime package, with Gurley manning the Swearinger's safety 1spot. It's unclear how we'll fill out this package now, or even if we'll use it at all. That's unfortunate, because Mizzou has some spread looks that put several receivers on the field. The dime package is useful against those looks. All I can say is that I hope Gurley is ready for the game of his young career, and I hope our rush gets to Franklin early and often.