Comments Off on The Sports Wire: BK’s Wide Receiver Theory, A Forever Royal Question & J.J. Watt Fatigue
8:00 — OPEN… Royals win big, Cardinals get another night of Jaime Garcia #Shoving, and there’s going to be an interesting decision the Red Birds have to make as to who gets left out of the postseason rotation.
8:15 — The Need for a Run Game… Mizzou has young receivers and an unproven passing game. Time for the run game to take over.
8:30 — Bryan Curtis of Grantland.com joins BK to discuss his story on why the media has fallen in love with Jordan Spieth.
8:45 — Are we underestimating the Chiefs and Rams going into 2015?
8:55 — Best & Worst of the week… LeBron James is putting his celebrity to good use & a tennis player takes trash-talking too far.
9:00 — BK’s theory on why it’s better for Mizzou to be young than old at wide receiver.
9:15 — There’s a report out there that the Royals are interested in re-signing Alex Gordon after the season… But should they be?
9:30 — Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Info and ESPN’s Sweet Spot Blog joins BK to discuss the Royals’ recent bullpen struggles and the Cardinals’ upcoming decision on who should be a part of the postseason rotation.
9:45 — The BK Lounge: I have a confession — I have JJ Watt fatigue. And I don’t believe I’m alone.
Comments Off on Mizzou Scrimmage No. 1: Players & Coaches Sound Off
HEAD COACH GARY PINKEL: “As usual, every scrimmage, you have good things, bad things, and things that need to be improved. That’s what we’re going to do. We’ll go analyze. We take into consideration a lot of things when we’re looking at the depth chart. We take into a lot of things, not just this scrimmage. We’ve been watching these guys for 9 other practices.”
“We take into consideration who they go against on the field, we take into consideration their consistency of their grade, their production… There are all of these different things that we look at, and then we analyze personnel. A lot of good things, and things we need to work on. We’ll get back to work on Monday.”
Q1: First impressions on Drew Lock:
A1: I think he did a good job. I think he did some good things. He’s a talented guy. I think he did good.
Q2: What were your thoughts on Marvin Zanders?
A2: Again, I thought he did good. There are a lot of scenarios out there, okay? Who are the people you have with you? From a quarterback standpoint, it’s probably more important – who are you going against? We have to take all of those things into consideration.
Q3: What did you see from Morgan Steward?
A3: It was good… It was neat to see him going. That’s a big step for him. It’s been a long time for him. He’s remarkably better than he was 2 months ago. We’ve got several weeks before the season starts… If he continues to get better, that would be great.
Q4: Will Morgan Steward be ready to play (in week 1)?
A4: I don’t know… The way this has gone, we don’t know. It will be interesting to see how sore he is… Will he be able to practice on Monday? And, he very well may be able to.
Q5: Is consistency the main focus for receivers?
A5: Yeah, but for all of the offense… We had a lot of line of scrimmage problems today. Let me remind you – we were the most penalized team last year that I’ve ever coached. Ever. By far. We’ve been working on that, but we had a lot of line of scrimmage problems today… We have to get back to work. We have to fix that. It’s Missouri beating Missouri.
Q6: What have you seen out of Justin Smith?
A6: He’s looked good. He’s done some good things. That whole receiving core – I think we have six redshirt freshmen in there. We’ve got some talented guys, and we have to find the guys that are ready to play. Analyzing that, and how that falls, is going to be really important for us. We have to find out who we are going to work with. But (Smith) is a big target. He’s a real big guy.
Q7: Cam Hilton looked good today… Has he impressed at practice as well?
A7: Cam Hilton has had a great camp so far. A great camp. He’s a really good young player. Tavon Ross actually had a shoulder injury. He got it X-rayed… He’s also had a good camp.
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOSH HENSON:
“The guys made some big plays… We missed a couple that were really close. We just have to continue to work on those things. So far, I’m pretty pleased, with the progress of the receivers. I’m pleased with the quarterbacks.”
“Today, I didn’t feel like we played our best. It was things we were doing to hurt ourselves… When you’re doing a lot of that, it was frustrating.”
“I think (Maty Mauk) did well today… Some of those plays where he’s moving around the pocket are designed. I thought he did a good job with (staying in the pocket) today. I thought his reads, for the most part, were pretty good. But we’ll get into the film, we’ll evaluate everything, see where we’re at, correct our mistakes, and move on from there.”
A1: I saw (Justin Smith) turn on his jets and go. Another one that stuck out was (Johnathon Johnson). He had the long one in two minute. And then, Emanuel Hall. He catches those screens, and he may look like a slow guy, but he shoots out — he has that burst coming out of those screens. He’s going to make you miss. And he’s a guy that – if you get down into the red zone – he knows how to control his body, whether it’s a back shoulder throw, or going up and catching it over you. He’s got a lot of athletic ability, we just have to keep working with him.
Q2: How important was it that you didn’t throw any interceptions?
A2: That’s a huge thing. The one thing Coach Pinkel always says to us is to protect the football. That’s no interceptions from the quarterbacks, and no fumbles from anyone on the team. That’s one of our main goals – you have to protect the football. If you protect the football, you’re going to have a great chance to win. That’s something we’re really focusing on right now.
Q3: How do you feel like the offensive line is coming together?
A3: They’re just a few more practices away from going from good to great. Evan (Boehm) and Connor (McGovern) are really pushing those young guys. Nate (Crawford) is coming in there and doing well – especially for a guy that is coming off of back surgery. He’s almost there. And then Clay (Rhodes) comes in there as the next guy. (Taylor) Chappell and Brad (McNulty) and Mitch (Hall) are all playing at a high level. They’re learning, and they’re pushing themselves everyday to get better.
Q4: How impressive was Drew Lock today?
A4: He is a guy that came in here and – you have to learn an offense as a quarterback, and that’s something that’s tough – he’s really picking it up quick. He’s paying attention in the meetings. We just have to keep drilling it into him. We have to keep asking him stuff all the time. Whether you’re just walking down the hallway, ‘hey, what’s this play, what’s that play?’ And make sure he’s getting it, so once you ask – he’s giving it right back *snap, snap*. He’s a guy that we have to have ready to play… It goes back to what I said — when James (Franklin) went down, I had to be ready to go. Say something happens, I don’t want it to happen, but say something does – he has to be ready.
Q5: What have you seen from Wesley Leftwich?
A5: Wesley is looking good. If you looked at him in the spring, I don’t think (Kenya Dennis) even let him off the ball. And now, Wesley is starting to beat him, and they’re trading back and forth. He’s a guy that’s improved a lot. We’re going to depend on him. He’s a guy that has speed, and we’re going to get him the ball down the field… He’s an older guy, he’s not going three plays, then taking two off. He’s playing every play at a high level, and that’s what you want.
CENTER EVAN BOEHM:
Q1: What’s your overall assessment of how you & the offensive line played?
A1: As the offensive line, it’s five guys working as one unit. One guy could do really good, and one guy could mess up. Or four guys could do really good and one guy could mess up. Or four guys could mess up and one guy could do really good… And the whole play is busted. We have to get five guys working together as one to make sure that we go out there and protect Maty (Mauk) and open up those holes. Some plays, I think we did that really well. And some plays, I think we need to improve on finishing. Coach Ricker told us – and I told the guys – Monday, we better strap on the pads and get ready. Because we need to work. We have to get better from today.
Q2: What does it take to get there?
A2: We have to work. We have to put our nose in the dirt, and we have to go. I don’t think we did our best today, and that’s what stinks about it. We know that we could do so much better, and we have so much more left in us. When you don’t see it from everybody, and you don’t see it from yourself, it just stinks. We have to get better. That’s the big thing.
Q3: What’s the challenge of impressing that upon the guys that didn’t get the time last year?
A3: The challenge is to go out there and say, ‘hey man, listen, like it or not you’re going to depend on me. And we have to go out there and we have to work. And we have to get better. If you’re sore, or tired, or banged up… We have to go out there and we have to work, no matter what. We’re the offensive line. We have to get hit every play. And if you didn’t, you probably did something wrong. We need these young guys to step up. And we need the older guys to step up. We have five returning starters, and we can still improve each and every time we step out onto that field. It’s just a matter of ‘want to’ and the drive to ‘want to’, now.
Q4: Was there a moment last year when you felt it ‘click’ between the offensive line?
A4: There were a couple games – probably the last six games we had – that’s when the offensive line started to get up and say, ‘hey, listen, this is where we have to be, and this is where we are right now, and we have to keep improving here. But we’re in the right spot.’ And that right spot got us to the SEC Championship Game, and to the Citrus Bowl. That was big. We ran the ball a lot, and we have to find that attitude again. We have to get back after it.
CORNERBACK AARION PENTON:
Q1: How do you feel about the back seven?
A1: I should feel good about it, but we are still working. It’s just camp, and that’s what we’re here to do is to get better each day and to embrace the grind. When the season gets here, it’s full pedal downhill.
Q2: Is it encouraging to see no turnovers from the #1 offense?
A2: That’s excellent. That’s exactly what we want to see from the offense. We’re always going to come out and give it our all – and we live off takeaways – so, we’re fighting to get the ball out. But the smarter the quarterbacks are, and the smarter the reads they make, the better for us. Because we’re going to win the turnover margin in the regular season.
Q3: What have you seen out of the freshman wide receiver, Justin Smith?
A3: He’s great. He’s got to work on his speed, but his hands are good. He’s good at sizing up the ball, and boxing out smaller defenders.
Q4: How does the offense’s performance change your mindset from last year?
A4: I just look at it as our offense getting older and smarter. That’s what we need for the season. The defense is going to get takeaways. The smarter the offense plays, with no turnovers, then we should win every game.
Q5: How does that help you improve as a corner?
A5: It helps me improve everyday. I work on my fundamentals every time. My position coach told me that when you get tired, you have to go back to your fundamentals. So, I just make sure I play hip-to-hip coverage and pursue to the ball every play.
Q6: What’s the competition like within your position group?
A6: It’s always competition. Right now, it’s me, (Kenya Dennis), and (John Gibson) – we’re all around 30 on the production board right now. We’re battling. And we’re going to continue to battle until camp is over.
WIDE RECEIVER J’MON MOORE:
Q1: With the drop issues, is that more mental or physical?
A1: It’s focus, for sure. Everybody thinks it’s just natural. They’re just going to catch it, and they can turn up the field and make somebody miss. But you have to remember that it goes back to day one rules – look the ball in, and tuck it first. Then move up field.
Q2: Do you have a sense of where the competition is between you and DeSean Blair?
A2: I don’t know. I’m just working. Whatever the coaches want to do, I’ll listen to them and I’ll go from there.
A1: It was fun. It’s always different from practice.. You go into a scrimmage with a gameday mindset. Everybody raises their level of play, and you really get to see what some guys are made of.
Q2: How did you feel about your performance?
A2: I felt confident. I feel like I can improve on my route-running when I get tired. We were coming out running plays back-to-back. The defense was grinding. But we can always get better at route-running, catching the ball, and looking it in.
Q3: Do you feel like you have to lead by example this season?
A3: I feel like we all do. That’s something that Coach Pinkel preaches at us daily. Do what you know, do the right thing, and good things will happen.
Q4: Is it more for you, as someone that has already contributed?
A4: I hold myself to a high standard. I know coach does, too. He holds everybody to that same standard. So, when he doesn’t see it, he’s going to get on us. And when we make plays, he’s going to congratulate us. We just go into everyday with something to prove, something to get better at.
RUNNING BACK MORGAN STEWARD:
Q1: What do you want your role to be with this team?
A1: My goal is to be a major contributor to the offense, and help the team as much as I can to lead us to a championship, and ultimately the national championship. I’m just going to do my best, and continue to strengthen, and do nothing but continue to get better and better and better every time I step on the field. I want to be a major contributor and help lead us to victory.
Q2: Have there been any hits that shook you up a little bit?
A2: There was one where I got under the ground, and it got a little bit twisted. I didn’t know how I was going to feel when I got up. But I got up, and I walked off, and I was fine.
Q3: Had you been in a pile during practice?
A3: I hadn’t done live (to the ground) until this. This was the first time I did live, and I got to pop the pads and make contact. That was great.
Q4: Were you nervous the first carry?
A4: I wasn’t nervous… A little bit of jitters about everything that was going on — I haven’t done this in a while. I wanted to do well, and have the best scrimmage that I could. But, honestly, there’s been a whole peace that’s come through this thing, and I just pray and go out and do my best.
Q5: Your first carry was your best one… Did you realize that you started off so well?
A5: I didn’t know… I remember that, I wasn’t sure what was my longest… It was a good cut up the field, I wrapped around the corner, and I got to open up my legs a little bit and lower my pads at the end.
Q6: Do you remember the last time you saw the passing offense perform like this?
A6: I think they’ve done a tremendous job. They’re getting better and better. You guys don’t get to see it all the time, what they’re doing in practice. But we’ve got some really explosive players. They’re working hard every day. Coach Washington is doing a great job with them. They’ve got a lot of talent, a lot of athletic ability. I’m excited to see them this season.
Q7: What did you think of Drew Lock today?
A7: I thought he did really well. He’s obviously still learning, but he has a lot of potential. I thought he did a great job for his first scrimmage.
Comments Off on Mizzou Football Scrimmage No. 1: Top Performers & Official Stats
The Missouri Tigers took the field on Saturday for their first scrimmage of the fall. The defense (technically) won, but the offensive side of the football is what has everyone buzzing. The quarterbacks looked smooth, the wide receivers looked much better than expected, and the passing game in general seemed to be on track in a way that it never really was in the spring.
Standouts offensively were freshman quarterback Drew Lock, who finished the day 14-19 for 139 yards and two touchdowns, freshman wide receiver Emanuel Hall, who tallied 6 receptions for 63 yards, and junior defensive end Marcell Frazier, who finished with 4 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles-for-loss, and a quarterback hit.
We will have more camp coverage including quotes, audio and video throughout the day on KTGR.com.
Comments Off on Who has the most to gain for Mizzou in Scrimmage #1
Matt and BK discussed the players that have the most and/or least to gain on Saturday when the Tigers take the field for scrimmage number one. They started with the players that have already locked in a starting spot, and worked their way down.
As we sit here on August 13, 2015, Matt and BK believer there are four offensive players and six defensive players that have already locked in a spot in the starting lineup.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
1) Quarterback – Maty Mauk
2) Running Back – Russell Hansbrough
3) Left Tackle – Connor McGovern
4) Center – Evan Boehm
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
1) Defensive End – Charles Harris
2) Outside Linebacker – Kentrell Brothers
3) Middle Linebacker – Michael Scherer
4) Cornerback – Kenya Dennis
5) Cornerback – Aarion Penton
6) Free Safety – Ian Simon
After that list of 10 players that have locked in a starting spot based upon past performance, there is a cluster of players that could move up and down based on how they perform over the coming days and weeks.
Here are some players that have the most to gain on Saturday:
1) Right Guard – Mitch Hall…Hall has received high praise from teammates and coaches throughout fall camp. After Evan Boehm and Connor McGovern, Mitch Hall is probably the most sure-fire starter along the offensive line. A good outing in scrimmage number one could further establish his strangle-hold on the #1 spot at right guard.
2) Right Tackle – Nate Crawford…Crawford’s methodical rise to the starting right tackle spot is one of the better stories at Mizzou football camp. Eighteen months ago, Crawford was working with Coach Kuligowski and the defensive line. Today, just two months after receiving back surgery to repair a herniated disk, he’s the starting right tackle for the Missouri Tigers. Another strong performance on Saturday would go a long way in extending his lead for the starting right tackle spot over sophomore Clay Rhodes.
3) Wide Receiver – Wesley Leftwich…Leftwich is the lone upperclassmen in coach Pat Washington’s position group, and my guess is that he will be given every opportunity to win a starting receiver position. Leftwich didn’t exactly show out in spring scrimmages, so an impressive performance on Saturday could put the coaches at ease.
4) Defensive Tackle – Rickey Hatley…Hatley is Missouri’s second most experienced returning defensive lineman. I would be very surprised if he isn’t starting in the season opener at either defensive tackle or nose guard. Another strong performance on Saturday would likely put enough distance between himself and those behind him fighting for the backup jobs (i.e. AJ Logan, Terry Beckner Jr. and Josh Augusta).
We’ll have full coverage of Mizzou’s first scrimmage on Saturday. Keep it locked right here on KTGR.com, and on the radio on ESPN 103.1 & 100.5 FM and 1580 AM in Columbia.
Comments Off on Maty Mauk on the Paul Finebaum Show
Mizzou quarterback Maty Mauk joined Paul Finebaum on ESPN Radio on Thursday to discuss the Tigers’ perceived lack of respect, the challenge of going into the season with so few returning wide receivers, and what Harold Brantley’s leadership means to the team.
Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to discuss the latest happenings at Mizzou fall football camp, the expectations for the defensive line, and the uncertain nature of pre-season predictions.
Comments Off on Where does the Royals playoff rotation rank among AL Contenders?
Every day is another step toward October. What a world we live in.
For years, October was nothing more than a dream for Royals fans, young and old. And yet, here we sit on August 12th, 2015, and the Royals are nursing a 12-game lead in the division. In fact, the typically conservative ZiPS projections have Kansas City making the playoffs 100% of the time.
So with that in the back of my mind, I asked myself – how does the Royals’ playoff rotation match up with the rest of the American League playoff contenders? I based those opponents on ZiPS’ most probable AL teams to make the playoffs. Those teams are the Royals, Astros, Angels, Blue Jays and Yankees.
Here’s what I found:
1) The Kansas City Royals have the second best ERA among this group of American League playoff rotations. The addition of Johnny Cueto cannot be overstated. His ERA significantly lowered the Royals’ overall ERA, giving them a puncher’s chance in the postseason.
2) If you’re looking at FIP (which I prefer to ERA), the Royals have have the second highest rated no. 1 starter (David Price is the best) and the top rated no. 2 starter.
3) Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura are clearly the weak-points for the Royals’ rotation, but it’s unknown how often Ventura would actually pitch in the postseason. For example, Jeremy Guthrie was the Royals’ number four starter in the postseason in 2014. He started three games and threw a total of 13.1 innings. On the other side of things, James Shields started five games and threw 25 innings while Yordano Ventura – then the Royals’ number two starter – started four games and threw 25.1 innings.
Chase Goodbread is an excellent college football writer for NFL.com, and he joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to preview the Tigers as they head into 2015. Matt is firmly on #TeamDisrespect. BK is predicting 9-3 and a 2nd place finish in the SEC East. Where does Chase fall on the subject? Find out in the podcast.
Comments Off on Mizzou Football Camp Day 6: No More O-Line Musical Chairs
Good morning from Mizzou fall football camp, day six. The team is currently on the practice field getting team work done, but we were able to watch the first 45 minutes or so of practice.
NEWS & NOTES:
Mizzou received a commitment from a junior college cornerback yesterday. Here’s the twist — this JuCo commit will be immediately eligible.
As was first reported by Gabe DeArmond at PowerMizzou, three-star cornerback Anthony Hines from the College of San Mateo will enroll in classes this fall and will be eligible to contribute immediately for the Tigers.
Hines is 6-foot-3-inches and is listed at 180 pounds. His scouting report is similar to current Mizzou starting cornerback Kenya Dennis. It’s another sign that Missouri has a new “type” of cornerback that they are recruiting.
Missouri’s average cornerback as recently as five years ago was 5-foot-10-inches and weighed somewhere around 180 pounds. The quickest way to describe the change is that Missouri’s cornerbacks now pass the “eyeball test.” Kenya Dennis, Aarion Penton, John Gibson, etc. are all taller, stronger, faster and are more physically imposing than we’ve seen from Tiger cornerbacks in the past. This transition coincides with Barry Odom’s new defensive philosophy that requires more physical, press-man coverage out of its cornerbacks.
DAY 6 INTERVIEWS: ASSISTANT COACHES GALORE
Matt and BK caught up with Mizzou defensive coordinator Barry Odom after day six of MU’s fall football camp.
Matt and BK caught up with Mizzou offensive coordinator Josh Henson after day six of MU’s fall football camp.
Matt and BK caught up with Mizzou defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski after day six of MU’s fall football camp.
Matt and BK caught up with Mizzou offensive line coach AJ Ricker after day six of MU’s fall football camp.
Matt and BK caught up with Mizzou quarterbacks coach Andy Hill after day six of MU’s fall football camp.
Matt and BK caught up with Mizzou wide receivers coach Pat Washington after day six of MU’s fall football camp.
Matt and BK caught up with Mizzou safeties coach Ryan Walters after day six of MU’s fall football camp.