It has been really disappointing this year. Mizzou is unable to score when it really matters. We are looking at being shutout as a real possibility on Saturday. Its possibility we will go 0-fer Conference play. Right now, who in the Conference do we really expect to beat (Kentucky is the last realistic hope since the game is at home). But Florida, Tenn. and A&M on the road??? A 500 season right now looks like a pipe dream.
Gary Pinkel and Missouri appear to be in line for a bad, bad day on Saturday as the Tigers host #1 Alabama in Columbia. Injuries along the Mizzou offensive line began in preseason practice and have snowballed since. Quarterback James Franklin — the key to the Tigers’ offense — has been in and out of the lineup first with post-surgery shoulder pain and now with a sprained MCL. Franklin is definitely out for this weekend’s visit from the Crimson Tide.
But it’s the O-line that Pinkel was asked about at his weekly press conference yesterday. Putting a makeshift unit up against Nick Saban’s defensive line… will he lose sleep this week?
“I never sleep well during a season. Ever. I don’t care who we’re playing. We’re just playing a great football team. We’ll try to help them out scheme-wise as much as we can. You can’t avoid it. The line of scrimmage and how you play on both side of the football is hugely important. We’ve jut got to shuffle players in there that are young and inexperienced. We’ll work hard and compete…
You saw two drives the entire year against those guys. I’d better look at those again and again and again. (Ole Miss) got a couple drives going and they executed and got some plays.”
Missouri’s offensive line on Saturday is expected to feature:
LT Elvis Fisher — a 6th-year senior
LG Evan Boehm — the first true freshman O-lineman to ever start for Pinkel at Mizzou
C Brad McNutty — made his first start ever last month
RG Max Copeland — a former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship and has made five starts this season
RT Justin Britt — a regular who’s started 19 straight games
In other words, there are veterans on the outside, but youngsters and inexperienced guys up the gut. The Tiger line averages 302 pounds per man. By contrast, Ole Miss’ line against Bama weighed an average of 308 per man and they were a tad more experienced.
Of course, Ole Miss didn’t have to face the Crimson Tide defense with a backup quarterback, either.