Comments Off on The Sports Wire: Rams Re-Sign Nick Foles, Dan Weigel & Herbie Teope
8:00 — Opening Monologue… Cardinals big win further evidence that Randal Grichuk is among the top rookies in the NL. But has he proven enough to make Jason Heyward expendable?
8:15 — The St. Louis Rams have re-signed Nick Foles. After hearing the news, I hated the move. But the more I look into it, the more I like it for the Rams.
8:30 — Mizzou Football Fall Camp Day 3… Morgan Steward is back, J’Mon Moore is in the doghouse & the biggest transition under new defensive coordinator Barry Odom.
8:45 — What are SEC Players saying about Mizzou? CBS Sports polled 42 SEC players to find out who they believe will win the SEC in 2015. 10 teams were named. Was MU listed among them?
9:00 — Dan Weigel joined the show. He wrote a great piece about Yordano Ventura’s struggles for Beyond the Box Score. He believes there is one thing Yordano needs to fix in order to reach his potential.
9:15 — Morgan Steward is the X-Factor Mizzou needs… Steward is finally back from his hip injury. What does his presence mean for the Tigers?
9:30 — Herbie Teope of Chiefs Digest joins the show… We get an update from Chiefs Training Camp on everything going on in St. Joe. Who is going to fill in for Dontari Poe?
9:45 — The BK Lounge… Donald Trump and Maty Mauk have one thing in common, and it’s the reason why I’m so intrigued by this 2015 Mizzou football season.
Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou joined BK on The Big Show on Friday. Gabe gave his opinion on how important it is that Maty Mauk’s teammates believe in Mauk, what a 3-4 would mean for Mizzou, and what kind of an impact Morgan Steward could have on the Missouri offense.
Cliff Corcoran of SI.com joined BK on The Big Show to discuss the Royals’ latest slide, Yordano Ventura’s struggles, Randal Grichuk’s case for rookie of the year, and he names his candidates for the Royals & Cardinals’ team MVP.
Comments Off on Mizzou Fall Football Camp: Day 2 Interviews
Mizzou took the field for day two of fall football camp bright and early this morning, and KTGR was there to bring you full coverage.
Matt and BK caught up with Mizzou defensive coordinator Barry Odom, quarterback Maty Mauk, running back Morgan Steward, wide receiver J’Mon Moore & Nate Brown, and running backs coach Brian Jones.
Mizzou defensive coordinator Barry Odom spoke with reporters for the first time on Friday at fall camp. He discussed the addition of Justin Smith to the coaching staff, Kentrell Brothers’ greatest strength, the ability to play the 3-4 with Mizzou’s current defensive personnel, and Odom explained why Monday mornings are his favorite part about coaching.
Maty Mauk says his receivers will get better because of the defense they go up against each and every day, going so far as to say Mizzou’s 2015 secondary could be the best in Mizzou history. Plus, Mauk assesses the battle for the no. 1 WR position between J’Mon Moore and DeSean Blair, the offense’s use of two tight ends in 2015 and how he improved his pocket presence.
Morgan Steward is finally back on the field after almost a full year of rehabbing a unique hip injury. He explained how the injury occured, what this process has been like and how close he is to 100%.
J’Mon Moore was listed as the no. 2 “X” receiver when the updated depth charts were released to the media on Thursday. Moore said he knew this was coming, and explained what led to his demotion. He also explained how he could get his starting spot back.
Nate Brown missed most of the spring with a sprained knee, but he was back on the field when Mizzou broke for fall camp on Thursday. He described his confidence level in his knee, his overall health, and how he responds to the doubters.
We caught up with Mizzou running backs coach Brian Jones and asked him what he expects from Morgan Steward in fall camp, how he believes Steward will respond to getting hit for the first time, and he compared Steward’s injury to a former Missouri Tiger.
Comments Off on Morgan Steward Discusses His Hip Injury
Matt and BK were in attendance for day 2 of Mizzou’s fall football camp, and BK caught up with running back Morgan Steward. Steward has been working his way back from a hip injury he suffered early in camp last fall. He explained the extent of the injury, and what the rehab process looked like.
More interviews and analysis from day two of Mizzou fall football camp is on the way.
Listen to Matt and BK weekdays from 4-6 pm on ESPN 100.5 or 103.1 FM in Columbia or online at KTGR.com.
Comments Off on Mizzou Fall Football Camp Day 1: Football’s Back
Mizzou took the practice field for the first fall practice on Wednesday. The biggest news of the day was that Missouri released an updated depth chart. Woot woot.
Depth chart notes:
1) Running back Morgan Steward is back on the field getting meaningful reps for the first time since last August. He looked like he was able to run full speed in the short amount of time we were able to watch the players go through individual drills.
2) The starting offensive line saw no changes. From left to right it is Connor McGovern, Taylor Chappell, Evan Boehm, Mitch Hall and Nate Crawford. It sounds like the team really wants McGovern to take over that left tackle spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chappell and Hall solidify their spots at the guard positions in fall camp, as well. The real camp battle will be at right tackle where Crawford, Clay Rhodes and Malik Cuellar could all end up starting.
3) J’Mon Moore was relegated to the second team to start camp. The starting wide receivers are currently DeSean Blair, Nate Brown and Wesley Leftwich. I would be surprised if those three are the starting receivers when Mizzou takes on Southeast Missouri State. I still see Moore cracking that starting lineup. Cornerback Kenya Dennis and free safety Ian Simon both mentioned Moore as one of the receivers that stood out in 7-on-7 over the summer.
4) Walter Brady is still listed as the starting defensive end opposite Charles Harris. This isn’t exactly a shock, as JuCo transfer Marcell Frazier was not listed on the depth chart yet; don’t read too much into that. Only four true freshmen were listed. That left defensive end position remains one of the spots to watch throughout camp. We’ll know more about who fits in where after a scrimmage or two.
5) The are no surprises when it comes to the back seven on the defense. Michael Scherer, Kentrell Brothers and Donavin Newsom are the starting linebackers with Kenya Dennis and Aarion Penton starting at cornerback and Ian Simon and Anthony Sherrils starting at safety. That back seven has the *potential* to be among the best in the SEC. Brothers sounds extremely motivated, by the way. More on that in a moment.
6) Coach Pinkel named his four senior captains. Missouri’s coaches and players have selected Russell Hansbrough, Evan Boehm, Kenya Dennis and Ian Simon as the team’s 2015 team captains.
1) Head coach Gary Pinkel: Pinkel met with the media for the first time at Mizzou fall football camp to discuss what his team accomplished over the summer, what they hope to accomplish in the coming weeks, and he gave an interesting explanation on how Missouri could mask its deficiencies at wide receiver and defensive end. Here’s the video of my Periscope of Pinkel’s Q&A if you would prefer to watch.
2) Senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers: We talked to Brothers about fishing, the motivation of being left off the All-SEC team, and where he has improved the most in the offseason.
3) Senior cornerback Kenya Dennis: Dennis answered questions about his new roles under defensive coordinator Barry Odom, his newly acquired captainship, and which wide receivers impressed him most in the summer. Here’s the video from my Periscope of Kenya’s Q&A if you would prefer to watch.
4) Senior running back Russell Hansbrough: I talked to Hansbrough about becoming a team captain despite being a quiet guy, what it would mean to him to finish with more than 200 carries in 2015, and where he feels he’s improved the most over the summer.
5) Senior center Evan Boehm: Boehm reflected on what it means to him to achieve his dream of becoming a Mizzou football team captain, he gave the story of the manliest thing he’s ever seen Connor McGovern do, and told the story of the first time he did leg day with McGovern. Spoiler alert: It didn’t go well for Boehm.
6) Senior safety Ian Simon: Simon is going to be a fan favorite this year. He spoke openly about the Kansas rivalry, his role as a leader in the secondary, and why he believes that Kentrell Brothers will be so motivated in 2015.
Mizzou football coach Gary Pinkel joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to discuss his football team as we are less than 24 hours away from the start of fall camp. We asked Pinkel about his expectations for the wide receivers, the importance of Terry Beckner Jr. contributing early and we find out how involved Coach will be in the south end zone complex. All of that and more in our conversation.
Some highlights from our conversations with Coach Pinkel:
“There are a lot of similarities defensively…. I think we’ll become a little bit more multiple.”
“Opportunities open up with stuff like (Harold Brantley’s injury)…I think that’s exciting for everybody.”
Is Connor McGovern still expected to start at left tackle? “Yeah, I think we’ll do that.”
“We have a lot of (offensive linemen) that have played a lot… Now it’s about who plays where.”
“The best teams I’ve had are really good on both sides of the football.”
“I think Ish Witter is going to be involved (in the RB rotation). There’s no question about that.”
“We’re seeing Morgan Steward look much better. That’s a huge change in the past 2 months.”
Morgan Steward is “one of the best young running backs I’ve seen here.”
“Russell Hansbrough is one of the great running backs in this league. I think he’s proven that.”
“We’re definitely playing (Chase Abbington) at running back.”
“We used to go 2 TE roughly 70% of the time (with Rucker & Coffman). Culkin & Reese are also very talented.”
Comments Off on What a Mizzou 3-4 defense would look like
Change is not easy. People, by and large, don’t like change. People want Shakespeare’s to be on the corner of Ninth and Elm, and they want their Missouri defense to have four defensive linemen rushing the passer.
Well, Shakespeare’s has moved (temporarily, at least). And Mizzou might have to use some three-man fronts in 2015 out of necessity. Markus Golden and Shane Ray, who combined for 23 sacks in 2014, have both moved on to the NFL. Matt Hoch and Lucas Vincent added 6.5 sacks of their own last season, and both have since graduated. Harold Brantley, an All-SEC caliber defensive tackle, was lost for the season when he got in a wreck on Highway 63 in Columbia last month.
What’s left along Missouri’s defensive line is a talented, but hugely unproven cast of characters.
Charles Harris is the team’s most experienced returning defensive lineman, and he only played an average of 25 snaps per game in 2014, according to David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune. The only other defensive linemen that have any playing experience are Rickey Hatley, Josh Augusta and AJ Logan; but Logan is more of a technicality than a reality – he’s only participated in nine career snaps.
With so little experience, and so little proven depth, Missouri moves into an uncomfortable position of not knowing what it has along its defensive line heading into the 2015 season.
Insert new Missouri defensive coordinator Barry Odom.
Odom played the 3-4 defense in his time as the defensive coordinator at Memphis, and did so with huge success. Memphis went from 80th to 44th to 11th in scoring defense under Odom’s leadership. His track record is rock-solid. Odom is considered one of the best young defensive minds in the country. Could this be a situation where the right man landed in the right job at the right time? Let’s explore that for a moment.
Missouri’s strength defensively, depending on who you ask, is either its cornerbacks or its linebackers. Both units are incredibly deep with young, talented players. The biggest issue for Missouri defensively, as we have explained in this article, is the defensive line. Add all of that up, and you have a team that could make the transition to the 3-4.
If Missouri chose to go that route – and I expect the Tigers to at least utilize some wrinkles of the 3-4 – what would it look like? People seem to have a misconception on exactly what playing a 3-4 means.
The 3-4 defense requires a few things.
1) A Nose Tackle – This would likely be Josh Augusta and AJ Logan’s job in Missouri’s 3-4. Whoever plays the nose will be asked to take on multiple blockers, and keep those offensive linemen away from the inside linebackers in order for those linebackers to make plays on the ball carrier.
2) Defensive Ends – These defensive ends would not be what Missouri is used to. They don’t look like Shane Ray or Markus Golden or Michael Sam. Instead, they look a lot like Harold Brantley. The typical 3-4 defensive end is at least 6-foot-3-inches tall and weighs north of 280 pounds. Missouri has a few players that could fit that criteria, including Rickey Hatley and a pair of freshmen in Terry Beckner, Jr. and Tyrell Jacobs.
3) Outside Linebackers – Every 3-4 defense is different, just like every 4-3 defense is different. Some coaches like to have two pass rushing outside linebackers. The Kansas City Chiefs are an example of this – they have Tamba Hali and Justin Houston at outside linebackers. Other coaches may prefer to use one outside linebacker as a pass rusher, and the other as a traditional outside linebacker. I haven’t been able to dive into Memphis’ film from Odom’s time there, so I’m not sure which category he fits in. But with Missouri’s depth at linebacker and (lack of) experienced pass rushers, my guess is that Odom would go with Donavin Newsom and Clarence Green at one outside linebacker spot with Charles Harris starting on the other edge.
4) Inside Linebackers – There are two inside linebackers in a 3-4; a Mike and a Will. The mike linebacker is typically the more physical, thumping linebacker. The wil is the more athletic linebacker that constantly flows to the ball. For Missouri, these roles would likely be filled by Michael Scherer (Mike) & Kentrell Brothers (Will).
With all of that in mind, here’s how I think Mizzou’s 3-4 defense would look if they took the field today:
Comments Off on MIZZOU FOOTBALL POSITIONAL PREVIEWS: DEFENSIVE BACKS
Over the past few weeks weeks, BK has previewed position groups on the Mizzou football roster in anticipation for the 2015 season. Our positional previews began in the first week of July, and we finish it up today, two days before the start of fall camp (are you excited yet?).
We’ll finish up our previews today with the defensive backs.
BK’s Projected Depth Chart:
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kenya Dennis, SR.
John Gibson, RS Jr.
Logan Cheadle, Soph.
Tavon Ross, RS Fr.
Anthony Sherrils, RS Soph.
Cortland Browning, RS Jr.
Ian Simon, RS Sr.
Thomas Wilson, Soph.
Tavon Ross, RS Fr.
Aarion Penton, JR.
Logan Cheadle, Soph.
Finis Stribling IV, RS Fr.
Kenya Dennis, Aarion Penton and Ian Simon are returning starters. Logan Cheadle, Thomas Wilson, Anthony Sherrils and John Gibson all have plenty of experience. This is hugely athletic, skilled and experienced secondary coming back for Missouri. Dennis and Penton are two very physical corners that aren’t afraid to get up in a receiver’s face. Cheadle and Wilson stepped right in as a freshmen and were so impressive at fall camp that Coach Pinkel opted against redshirting the talented defensive backs. And then there’s Tavon Ross, who missed preseason camp, redshirted for 2014, and then tore his ACL in spring ball. Of all the backups listed in the defensive backfield, I think Ross has the best chance of making a big impact in 2015. If you’re wondering why, just watch his high school film. It’s incredible.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
There’s a lot to like. Penton and Dennis form as good of a cornerback duo as Missouri has had under Gary Pinkel. Simon is an experienced safety, and whomever fills in next to him – whether it be Sherrils, Browning, Wilson or Ross – will bring physicality and athleticism to the back end of the defense. Add in the depth at corner with Logan Cheadle, John Gibson and Finis Stribling IV and you have the makings of a damn good secondary.
Missouri’s biggest defensive question heading into the 2015 season is how they will replace the production they lost along the defensive line, and the truth of the matter is that they may not be able to. But if the secondary is as good as many believe it is, then maybe the defensive line won’t prove to be quite as big of a problem. Over the past couple years, the secondary has been bailed out – at times – by the incredible amount of pressure the Mizzou defensive line has applied on opposing quarterbacks. In 2015, the roles might have to be reversed. Instead of the defensive line creating havoc in the backfield, the defensive backs may be relied upon to shut down opposing wide receivers, giving the defensive line time to get to the quarterback. There’s give and take in every relationship. The Missouri defense is no exception.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
You’re grasping at straws if you’re looking for a major weakness in Missouri’s secondary. At cornerback, Missouri has experienced starters that played at a high level in 2014. Their backups are young and experienced – Gibson has made some spot starts in his career – and have a ton of athletic potential. If you look at safety, Missouri has the leader of the secondary in Ian Simon, and two or three young players that could push for the starting spot opposite him.
The only real “knocks” against the Missouri secondary is that we don’t know how they will perform without the benefit of three All SEC defensive linemen (Shane Ray, Markus Golden and Harold Brantley), and it’s difficult to know for sure how they will respond to being without their ‘rock’, Braylon Webb, for all of 2015.
I think Mizzou fans can and should expect a lot out of the secondary. Kenya Dennis could fight for a spot on the All SEC team when all is said and done. Aarion Penton is not likely to be far behind. Ian Simon is prone to taking bad angles from time to time, but overall he’s a very good safety and a guy that everyone on the team wants to go to war with. Add in the young talent behind those top-end players, and Missouri fans could be watching the best secondary – from top top bottom – that Gary Pinkel has assembled since arriving at Missouri.
David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to discuss whether or not Mizzou will get anyone in ESPN’s top 100 college football players, and will Kentrell Brothers & Michael Scherer go down as two of the best linebackers ever to play under Gary Pinkel?