Category Archive: KTGR Sports News

  1. MIZZOU FOOTBALL POSITIONAL PREVIEWS: DEFENSIVE LINE

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    Over the coming weeks, BK will preview each and every position on the Mizzou football roster in anticipation for the 2015 season. Our positional previews began in the first week of July, and we will continue until August 1st – which just so happens to be the first week of Mizzou football camp. See what we did there?

    We began our previews with the quarterbacks, running backswide receiverstight endsoffensive tackles & interior offensive line. We’ll continue today with the defensive line.

    BK’s Projected Depth Chart:

    John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

    Right End:

    1. Charles Harris, RS Soph.
    2. Spencer Williams, RS FR.
    3. Rocell McWilliams, RS FR.

    Defensive Tackle:

    1. Rickey Hatley, RS Jr.
    2. Terry Beckner, Jr., FR.
    3. Tyler Hanneke, RS Jr.

    Noseguard:

    1. Josh Augusta, JR.
    2. A.J. Logan, RS Soph.
    3. Evan Winston, RS Jr.

    Left End:

    1. Marcell Frazier, JR.
    2. Walter Brady, RS FR.
    3. Justin Grava, RS Jr.

     

    Mizzou returns one start (total) along the defensive line; Charles Harris started against Indiana in place of an injured Markus Golden. With that said, it would be unfair to classify Charles Harris, Rickey Hatley and Josh Augusta as newcomers. All three had important roles in 2014, with Hatley and Augusta involved in the rotation at defensive tackle, and Harris serving as the primary backup to Golden.

    The Good:

    Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

     

    There is a ton of potential along Missouri’s defensive line. Charles Harris is a hugely athletic defensive end that showed flashes of greatness in 2014. Josh Augusta is a crazy talented defensive tackle (did I mention that he was a 330 pound wide receiver in high school?). Rickey Hatley was quietly productive in his limited playing time last year. After that, there are a plethora of newcomers that could step up including JuCo transfer Marcell Frazier, and a trio of redshirt freshmen defensive ends.

    The other thing that Mizzou has going for it is that the Tigers have one of the best defensive line coaches in the country in Craig Kuligowski. Coach Kool groomed Ziggy Hood, Sheldon Richardson, Aldon Smith, Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Markus Golden and Shane Ray into elite level college players. If there is elite potential in any of Mizzou’s current players, Kool will get it out of them.

    The Bad:

    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s pretty simple. Mizzou lost a lot. Shane Ray, Markus Golden, Lucas Vincent, Matt Hoch, Marcus Loud and Harold Brantley combined for 291 tackles, 67.5 tackles-for-loss and 34.5 sacks. Those five, alone, had more tackles for loss than Kentucky or South Carolina, and they would have ranked 5th in the SEC in total sacks in 2014.

    The Tigers return none of their regular starters from 2014. Charles Harris, Ricky Hatley and Josh Augusta are the only returning players that were part of Missouri’s defensive line rotation in 2014.

    Fans will point to the resolve of Missouri’s defensive line under Coach Kool, rightly so, but he’s never had to thrust first-year players into the starting lineup the way he will in 2015.

    Here’s some perspective from the past:

    2014, Markus Golden & Shane Ray: Golden backed up Michael Sam the year prior, racking up 6.5 sacks. Ray backed up Kony Ealy in the previous year, adding 4.5 sacks to his resume.

    2013, Michael Sam & Kony Ealy: Sam & Ealy split time with one another the year prior, seeing time in 12 games. Sam was the team’s sack leader (4.5), Ealy added 3.5 of his own.

    2012, Brad Madison & Michael Sam: Madison was a junior and started for the Tigers in the year prior. Sam was a rotational player in 2011, and was splitting time with Ealy in 2012.

    2011, Jacquies Smith & Brad Madison: Madison entered his junior season after spending a year splitting time with Aldon Smith. Jacquies Smith was entering his 2nd year as a starter.

    2010, Jacquies Smith & Aldon Smith: The Smiths entered the season as the starters, but Madison also played a lot due to Aldon’s injuries. Jacquies’ experience heading into the season was as Aldon’s primary backup in 2009.

    2009, Brian Coulter & Aldon Smith: Coulter was a senior, and backed up Tommy Chavis the year prior. Smith was a sophomore, after having played extensively in his redshirt freshman season.

    2008, Tommy Chavis & Stryker Sulak: Chavis and Sulak were both starters the year before.

    2007, Tommy Chavis & Stryker Sulak: 2007 was Sulak’s 2nd year as a starter, and Chavis came into the year as the starter after splitting time inside & outside in 2006.

    2006, Brian Smith & Stryker Sulak: Smith started the year prior, Sulak split time with Xzavie Jackson in 2005.

    Add it all up, and the Tigers have not had a defensive end start in the past decade without at least being involved in the D-Line rotation the year prior. That’s exactly what will take place this season, regardless of the name on the back of the jersey. I’m not saying they can’t be good, it’s just difficult to project exactly what “good” will look like. Would that be six sacks for Missouri’s starting left end? Or 12? Because that’s obviously a massive difference.

    Realistic Expectations:

    It’s hugely difficult to project this Missouri defensive line. It was going to be difficult even before Marcus Loud was dismissed, or before Harold Brantley’s car accident that resulted in injuries that will keep him out for the entirety of the 2015 season. Without Loud or Brantley, it becomes damn near impossible.

    Charles Harris should be good. I wouldn’t even be all that shocked if he finished the year with double-digit sacks. A Mizzou defensive tackle has not finished the year with more than five sacks in the past decade – not even Sheldon Richardson or Ziggy Hood. So I think it’s fair to assume that will remain true for Josh Augusta, Rickey Hatley or Terry Beckner, Jr.

    With all of that said, I think it’s fair to say the Tigers will not match their sack total (44) from 2014. To be fair, no SEC team has out-performed Missouri’s 44 sacks since Tennessee back in 2000. Instead, I could see the Tigers finishing with somewhere around 30 sacks in 2015.

    I could see Charles Harris finishing the season with 10-11 sacks, the starter at left end could finish with 5-7 sacks and another 10-15 sacks could come from some combination of the Tigers’ defensive tackles (Augusta, Beckner, Hatley) and linebackers (Brothers, Scherer & Newsom).

  2. The Big Show: Steve Stewart

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    Steve Stewart of the Royals Radio Network joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to discuss what the additions of Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist mean for the Royals in their pursuit for a return-trip to the World Series.

    PODCAST: 

  3. The Big Show: Jerry Crasnick

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    Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com joined Matt and BK to discuss the latest on the trade market, including the Royals’ trades for Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto, plus – are the Cardinals in on Adam Lind? Find out in our conversation with Jerry Crasnick.

    PODCAST:

  4. The Big Show: Dennis Dodd

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    Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports wrote a Mizzou football preview in which he argues that it’s hard to pick against Mizzou to win the SEC East once again in 2015. He joined Matt and BK to discuss the Tigers on Monday on The Big Show.

    PODCAST: 

  5. The Sports Wire: Craig Brown

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    Craig Brown joined BK on The Sports Wire to discuss the Royals’ need for a starting pitcher, the concern level for Mike Moustakas & Salvador Perez, and Craig ranks the Royals’ potential playoff matchups from most favorable to least favorable. All of that and more in today’s conversation.

  6. The Big Show’s 20 Most Important Mizzou Players in 2015

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    Matt and BK are ranking the 20 most important Mizzou football players going into the 2015 season. Each day we will update this list with the podcast from that day, and eventually we will get to the top of the countdown – the most important player for Mizzou’s success in 2015.

    No. 20: Ian Simon, S, RS SR. 

    Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

    Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports


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  7. MIZZOU FOOTBALL POSITIONAL PREVIEWS: INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE

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    Over the coming weeks, BK will preview each and every position on the Mizzou football roster in anticipation for the 2015 season. Our positional previews began in the first week of July, and we will continue until August 1st – which just so happens to be the first week of Mizzou football camp. See what we did there?

    We began our previews with the quarterbacks, running backswide receiverstight ends & offensive tackles. We’ll continue today with the offensive guards.

    BK’s Projected Depth Chart:

    Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

    Left Guard:

    1. Taylor Chappell, RS Sr.
    2. Brad McNulty, RS Sr.
    3. Andy Bauer, RS Fr.

    Center:

    1. Evan Boehm, Sr.
    2. Alec Abeln, RS Soph.
    3. Sam Bailey, RS Fr.

    Right Guard:

    1. Mitch Hall, RS Sr.
    2. Kevin Pendleton, RS Fr.
    3. Adam Ploudre, RS Soph.

    There is nothing if not experience at both offensive guard positions. Mitch Hall started the first four games of last season at right guard, Taylor Chappell started the final 10 games at right tackle, and Brad McNulty performed admirably in his 10 starts at left guard. All three make an appearance in the two-deep this year. That’s a unit that I will be following closely at fall camp.

    Will Taylor Chappell hold off Brad McNulty for the starting left guard position? Will Connor McGovern kick back inside and take one of the starting spots at guard? Will the coaches ask junior college transfer Malik Cuellar to kick inside? All of these questions will be answered in the coming weeks.

    As for center, the Tigers have Evan Boehm. Anything behind him is icing on the cake. Boehm is an All SEC-caliber player, and having him as the anchor of the Tigers offensive line can be seen as nothing but a positive.

    The Good:

    Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

    The positive about Mizzou’s offensive guards is that most of them have starting experience. Hall, McNulty and Chappell have a combined 29 career starts. And there is flexibility within the position, too. After the coaches have determined who the starting left tackle will be for 2015, the backup left tackle may receive some cross-training at offensive guard. If Cuellar wins the job at left tackle, McGovern would kick back inside. If McGovenr wins the left tackle job, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cuellar kick inside.

    At center, the Tigers have one of the best players in the SEC in Evan Boehm. He was named to the third team All SEC, but it would come as no surprise if he ends the season on the firs team. He’s a four-year starter that has been the rock of the Missouri Tigers in their SEC turnaround. There’s really not much more to say about Boehm. There’s nothing not to like about him as your  starting center.

    The Bad:

    Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

    The problem at offensive guard is that, despite starting experience, we haven’t seen this group perform at an extremely high level. Now, that changes if Connor McGovern gets kicked back inside – McGovern was an All SEC-caliber player when he was starting at offensive guard. But Mitch Hall, Taylor Chappell and Brad McNulty all experienced their fair share of lumps in 2014. So, despite their starting experience, there are still questions on what this offensive line’s ceiling is.

    Realistic Expectations:

    It’s really hard to tell. There are so many different possibilities along the offensive line in 2015. Here’s an illustration of the potential combinations:

    Connor McGovern – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Mitch Hall – Jordan Williams

    Connor McGovern – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Mitch Hall – Malik Cuellar

    Connor McGovern – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Mitch Hall – Tyler Howell

    Connor McGovern – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Mitch Hall – Clay Rhodes

    Connor McGovern – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Mitch Hall – Jordan Williams

    Connor McGovern – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Mitch Hall – Malik Cuellar

    Connor McGovern – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Mitch Hall – Tyler Howell

    Connor McGovern – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Mitch Hall – Clay Rhodes

    Malik Cuellar – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Jordan Williams

    Malik Cuellar – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Tyler Howell

    Malik Cuellar – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Clay Rhodes

    Malik Cuellar – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Jordan Williams

    Malik Cuellar – Mitch Hall – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Tyler Howell

    Malik Cuellar – Mitch Hall – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Clay Rhodes

    Malik Cuellar – Mitch Hall – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Jordan Williams

    Malik Cuellar – Mitch Hall – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Taylor Chappell

    Malik Cuellar – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Tyler Howell

    Malik Cuellar – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Clay Rhodes

    Malik Cuellar – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Jordan Williams

    Malik Cuellar – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Taylor Chappell

    Tyler Howell – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Jordan Williams

    Tyler Howell – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Malik Cuellar

    Tyler Howell – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Clay Rhodes

    Tyler Howell – Mitch Hall – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Jordan Williams

    Tyler Howell – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Malik Cuellar

    Tyler Howell – Taylor Chappell – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Clay Rhodes

    Tyler Howell – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern -Jordan Williams

    Tyler Howell – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Malik Cuellar

    Tyler Howell – Brad McNulty – Evan Boehm – Connor McGovern – Clay Rhodes

    You get the point. I believe Connor McGovern, Malik Cuellar and Tyler Howell are all options to start at left tackle. Taylor Chappell, Mitch Hall, Brad McNulty and Connor McGovern are options at offensive guard. And Malik Cuellar, Jordan Williams, Clay Rhodes, Taylor Chappell and Tyler Howell are all options at right tackle. If I had to guess – and this is nothing more than a guess – what the end result will be, I’ll go with this lineup:

    Left Tackle: Connor McGovern

    Left Guard: Taylor Chappell

    Center: Evan Boehm

    Right Guard: Mitch Hall

    Right Tackle: Tyler Howell

    At least we know Evan Boehm will start at center.

  8. The Big Show: Dave Bartoo

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    Dave Bartoo does great work at CFBMatrix.com, and he joined Matt and BK on Tuesday on The Big Show to discuss Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel’s comments about the College Football Playoffs. Plus, Dave thinks people that hate on Pinkel and the Missouri football program are missing out. That, plus which conference does Dave think is most likely to miss out on this year’s CFP? All of that and more in the podcast.

    PODCAST:

  9. The Big Show: Mark Simon

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    Mark Simon of ESPN’s ‘Sweet Spot Blog’ joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to discuss last night’s 18 inning game between the Cardinals & Mets, plus trade targets for the Cardinals and Royals and is Lorenzo Cain a legitimate MVP candidate?

    All of that and more in our conversation with Mark Simon.

  10. The Sports Wire: Bill Connelly

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    Bill Connelly of SB Nation joined BK on The Sports Wire to discuss Mizzou’s place in the SEC East, the perceived lack of respect for the Tigers, and who his top 5 most important players are for Mizzou’s success in 2015.