Mizzou’s offense is bad.
You knew that, though. Just how bad is it? Here’s David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune.
97. MU (passer rating)- 118.57; 116. MU (offense)-325.0; 118. MU (yds/play)- 4.85; 119. MU (rush offense)- 107.7; 122. MU (yds/rush)- 3.2.
— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) September 20, 2015
So, yeah. It’s been as tough to watch as you initially thought. What has gone into Mizzou’s offensive ineptitude? Just about everything, honestly.
For one, Missouri running backs not named Russell Hansbrough have combined for 232 yards and no touchdowns on 76 carries (3.05 yards per carry). Vanderbilt is the only SEC team getting fewer yards per carry than Missouri is from its running backs. That ain’t great.
Some of the blame for Missouri’s lack of rushing success falls on the offensive line. Some of it is because Missouri is without potential All SEC running back Russell Hansbrough. And some of it may be because Maty Mauk was just 1-for-5 with an interception when throwing more than 10 yards down the field against UCONN.
Let’s explore that last note a little bit further.
Against UCONN, Mauk attempted just six passes of more than seven yards down the field. Nothing about this offense is vertical. That’s a pretty significant change from what we’ve seen from Mauk in the past.
In week one, Mauk attempted 11 passes of more than 20 yards. And, to be fair, that’s to be expected against a team like SEMO. Missouri clearly had a talent advantage on the edges, and they took advantage. But Mauk’s ‘gunslinger mentality’ has gone on vacation the last two weeks. After the 11 attempts of more than 20 yards in week one, he has attempted just nine passes of more than 20 yards in the last two weeks combined. Opposing defenses are sitting on those short routes because of it.
One thing that could go into Mauk’s lack of deep throws could be immediate pressure getting to him. I asked Jack Farrell of Pro Football Focus if PFF has Mauk’s pressure stats on file, and sure enough they do. Keep in mind that these statistics are only for week one and two. PFF has yet to grade week three.
Mauk was under pressure on more than 33 percent of his drop backs against SEMO and Arkansas State. When under pressure, his completion percentage dropped, his interceptions went up and his quarterback rating plummeted. That’s to be expected, but it’s good to have confirmation.
Just as interesting, at least to me, is that SEMO and Arkansas State simply didn’t blitz Mauk. He was blitzed on less than 15 percent of his drop backs, and the results were a mixed bag. But this shows that teams don’t really need to blitz him. The pressure is getting to Mauk even when teams only rush four. That means seven players are able to drop back into coverage, making it all the more difficult for Mauk to read coverages and find the open man.
Missouri’s run game is among the worst in the country right now. That’s not opinion, it’s fact. Why it’s been so bad can be traced back to a number of reasons. The offensive line isn’t getting push. The running backs aren’t hitting the holes with authority and starter Russell Hansbrough has seven total carries in the first three games. Add into that mix a passing game that’s given up on the deep ball and a lack of time for Mauk to get the ball off, and voila: you have Missouri’s offense.