Tuesday, August 28, 2007

2007 Season Preview: Missouri Tigers

In preparation for the 2007 College Football season, Drinking the Forty will look at every team in the Big XII, sizing up the conference for the 2007 season.

Missouri was the big surprise of 2006 behind the arm sophomore Chase Daniel and a high-powered offense. After starting the season 6-0, Missouri stumbled down the stretch, finishing the season with an 8-5 record, falling short in the Big XII North. Chase Daniel was the surprise of the Big XII, leading an offense that scored over 30 points a game, averaging over 400 yards of offense.

In 2007, Chase Daniel returns to lead the offense once again. He looks to build on a season where he threw for 3,527 yards and 28 touchdowns, with only 10 interceptions. He will have the same supporting cast back as they return senior tailback Tony Temple (1063 yds/7 TD) as well as his top 3 targets from a year ago. Senior receiver William Franklin led the way with 48 catches, 829 yards, and 6 touchdowns, while dual threat tight ends, senior Martin Rucker (53 rec/511 yds/5 TD) and junior Chase Coffman (58 rec/638 yds/9 TD) will continue to cause match up problems for every defense they face. The offensive line returns the entire left side in a unit that was solid a year ago. With all the same faces Missouri can only improve in what is an extremely dangerous offensive juggernaut.

The defense is where the question marks lay with this Missouri team. Last year they were able to dominate weaker opponents, but were unable to stop high caliber opponents. The defense has many holes to fill as they lost their top three tacklers from a year ago. They will rely heavily on junior linebacker Brock Christopher (87 tackles), and a defensive line that returns three starters. The secondary will also need to replace to starters from a year ago.

Missouri's season will begin in October when they host #20 Nebraska and visit #8 Oklahoma in consecutive weeks. If they can split those two games they will be well on their way towards a Big XII North Championship, if not a Big XII Championship. The offense should be superb again this year, but their season will come down to whether Chase Daniel can play like a champion in big games, and if Missouri can have an above average defense. They should be a contender, but their defense will really have to over achieve for them to make it to the Big XII Championship.

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